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October 12, 2005

Can someone explain why Major League Baseball decided to book Game 2 of the ALCS and Game 1 of the NLCS at the same time on the same night? Scott Massey (of "my fried Scott Massey" fame) brought this point up to me today, and I have to admit he had a good point. The Los Angeles Angeles of Anaheim (or L3A for short) had to play in New York, then in Anaheim the next night in the deciding game of the ALDS, and then immediately compete two straight nights in Chicago. I suppose the possibility of a rainout was a fear, but Fox still has "Austin Powers: Goldmember" on standby from if Sunday night's game had been rained out. Granted, both games were able to air thanks to Fox and FX carrying the games simultaneously, but it just seems a bit silly to do it that way. Now I'm not advocating any ridiculous 10 PM EDT start times, like they had in the ALDS with the Yankees/Angels, but there has to be a better way to work this out. Or am I wrong on this one?

In case you missed it, the Angels got screwed royally tonight in the worst officiating flub since the Lakers/Kings series from a few years ago in the NBA Western Conference Finals. It was as if Dick Bavetta was behind home plate or something. If you missed it, this is what happened: the game was tied with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A.J. Pierzynski had a full count, and he swung at a breaking ball for what was strike three. Inning over, right? Wrong. See, if the ball hits the dirt on strike three, the batter is allowed to advance to first base. But one problem: Angels catcher Jose Paul caught it clean. It was low, very close to the ground, but it sure didn't bounce. Home plate umpire Doug Eddings did the arm raising motion for strike three not once but twice, and Paul flipped the ball toward the mound as he and his teammates began to run toward their dugout, preparing for extra inning baseball.

Mike Scioscia
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was not pleased with the bad call by Doug Eddings.

Pierzynski, however, took off for first base following a moment's hesitation. By the time L3A knew what had happened, he had been ruled safe at first. Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar had to return to the mound to continue the game, and the White Sox continued the inning, winning with a Joe Crede double off the left-field wall.

From a fan standpoint, I'm decidedly neutral about the series. L3A knocked the Yankees out, but it's not like I'm going to root against them for it. Meanwhile, the White Sox aren't even the most popular team in their own hometown (much like the Devil Rays!), and their own long streak without a World Series win is likewise dwarfed by the Cubs' even longer stretch of ineptitude. Of course, with the White Sox, the 1919 betting scandal "curse" leaves little room for sympathy or one hour documentaries on HBO hosted by Ben Affleck (a la the Boston Red Sox).

Bottom line: I just want to see an exciting League Championship Series. Going back to Anaheim tied at 1-all makes that much more likely, but I don't want it to happen at the cost of the series being tainted and overshadowed by controversy. Besides, that will just provoke NBA Commissioner David Stern to up the ante next post-season, and no one wants that. Trust me...

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