Not Even The Suits Could Spoil This Game
It was so good a game that not even the suits could spoil it - although they sure tried.
With the possible exception of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series in 1982, yesterday's Brewers game might have been the best baseball game I've ever attended (and I go to a lot of games).
The game had everything. It was well played. It was closely contested. It featured great plays by both sides. It had failure (John Axford blowing a save for the first time since April) and redemption (Axford coming back to pitch a strong tenth inning). Most importantly, it featured a Brewers win engineered by Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan.
So what was wrong?
When I arrived at Miller Park about a half hour before game time, the sun was out and the temperature on our car thermometer read 82 degrees. It was just about as perfect a day for baseball as one could imagine - especially in Milwaukee and especially in October. Still, the retractable roof was closed.
A PR guy associated with MLB tells me that the decision to close the roof was made jointly by MLB and the Brewers. The explanation given for closing the lid on one of the nicest days of the year was that because "the first four games were played in a closed roof environment, in the interest of consistency [the roof would be closed yesterday]."
First, as far as consistency goes, the retractable panels were open yesterday (to stop the un-air conditioned stadium from becoming a complete steam bath). The panels weren't open in Games 1 and 2. So much for consistency.
Second, what if the first two games of the series had been played at an outdoor stadium in intermittent rain. Would MLB put guys with fire hoses at the top of the stadium for Game 5 to maintain consistency? Of course not. That would be dumb. Like closing the roof in 80 degree weather.
Part of the beauty of baseball is that it's played in various conditions at ballparks with different dimensions. You play in the Spring chill, the Summer heat and the cool of the Fall. In Milwaukee, you apparently play inside even when there's no reason for it.
Here's an interesting conundrum moving forward. The weather forecast for Sunday and Monday (the first two games of the NLCS) calls for highs in the mid-70's and lows in the mid-50s.
If the roof is open Sunday afternoon, does that mean it has to stay open Monday evening if the temperature is in the 50s? Since I'll be going, I sure hope not!
If the roof is open Sunday and Monday, can it be closed if the weather is crummy for a potential Game 6 next weekend? Can we close the roof at all because St. Louis has an open air stadium? Should a team that plays in a dome even be allowed to play against one that doesn't because of a lack of "consistency"?
Silly me, I thought the main purpose of having a retractable roof was for fan comfort?
Face it, closing the roof yesterday was a bonehead call. Think of it like an umpire missing an obvious play at the plate and the call standing because MLB won't use instant replay on plays at home. Don't get me started on that one .... .
To the extent the decision helped the Brewers by creating a louder environment, I'm good with it. Plus, given the choice, I'd rather be warm than cold. Still, not playing outside on a gorgeous Fall afternoon was ill-considered at best.
All that being said, it was a great baseball game and a great result. It was a game that was so good that even the suits couldn't spoil it.