— can you imagine the O’s missing out on the playoffs by one game and having to think back to Thursday, June 28 as the night their operations staff handed the Yankees a win?
First, let me quickly acknowledge that the O’s haven’t yet actually lost Thursday’s game with New York. They’re trailing, 8-6, with two outs in the top of the 8th inning (you know the story, by now, I assume). The remainder of the game will be picked up on July 27.
Anyway, the true story about Thursday’s debacle has finally surfaced. If you didn’t read today’s edition of The Sun, click here and read on – for amusement purposes only. You will undoubtedly laugh out loud when you read this article, as it basically implicates Roger Hayden (O’s Director of Ballpark Operations) as the O’s staffer who failed to keep the umps apprised of the ongoing weather situation in the Baltimore area.
Let’s backtrack just a second to Thursday night. Where was the management firm of MacPhail, Flanagan and Duquette during this confusing time? With bad weather looming and their team a couple of innings away from an improbable sweep of the Yanks, don’t you think one of those guys should have been sitting on Hayden’s knee watching the radar and urging him to notify the umpiring crew that bad weather was imminent? (wink, wink). In other words, I’m not saying Hayden could have made it rain, but he certainly could have gone to the crew when the first rain-drops were felt in the 8th inning and said, “looks like a doozy here fella’s – want me to call Sabatino’s and get the four of you a table for 10:30 pm?”.
And when the rain did start to fall again, why didn’t the O’s go into their version of Dean Smith’s four corners? Seriously…this was a HUGE game – if ever a game could be huge when you’re 10 games below .500 – and Dave Trembley and Co. should have been pulling out all the stops to drag that thing out until the heavy stuff came down. I can think of a bunch of ways to slow down the game. Mora goes over to talk to the pitcher…someone gets a rain-drop in their contacts and has to call time-out and have the trainer come out to take a look at his eye…the pitcher can’t see the signs very well – needs to confer with the catcher…”Hey ump, this ball is wet, can I have one that is dry, please?”…there’s four quick ways, do you need more?
OK, so the slow-down approach didn’t happen and the game proceeded along. Were Hayden and/or his staff not aware that they can help determine the outcome of the game once the bad weather comes rolling in? They have the radar in front of them…it’s their job to notify the umps that the weather pattern is settling in for the night. Give Andy MacPhail credit yesterday – he admitted the wound was self-inflicted in a rare moment of accountability from a member of the O’s front office. I had to laugh when Jeff Zrebiec of The Sun couldn’t coax a comment out of O’s Communications Director Greg Bader in the article I linked above – I wonder if Bader actually said “no comment” or just ignored Zrebiec’s phone call or text message like he ignores mine?
I think everyone involved on Thursday night is to blame. Hayden, for sure, along with MacPhail, Flanagan and Duquette. With their team closing in on a 3rd straight win over New York, those three should have been out in the parking lot doing a rain dance around the 6th inning or so. They should have been BEGGING for rain. And once even the first sight of a rain-drop hit the field in the 8th inning, someone should have scurried into the O’s dugout or called Trembley on the phone and said, “Skip…keep this lead for about 7 more minutes and you’re a winner. Rain is on the way. Go into your best slow-down mode and hang on for dear life and we’ll get out the brooms.”
Well, the rains came.
The dance worked.
The radar worked.
But the only thing the brooms were used for was sweeping the truth under the carpet in The Warehouse.
Fortunately, this ONE game won’t really matter at season’s end.
But could you imagine if it did?
We could only be so lucky, right?