Weather still iffy as Yankees and Tigers prepare for ALCS Game 4
DETROIT-It's Thursday morning and it's raining at the airport...but this time, just before noon in Motown, it's also raining in the city. That actual precipitation coming out of the actual sky is as opposed to Wednesday evening when MLB in its infinite wisdom postponed Game 4 of the ALCS at Comerica Park due to "weather in the area".
With no rain at the stadium and the radar showing bad weather still west of Ann Arbor, MLB put Wednesday's Game 4 into an hour and eight minute rain delay before pulling the plug without the field even having been covered by a trap. That is the height of cynicism and the fans were not happy.
Maybe there was a good reason because under the new playoff rules a game that is official after five innings and then rained out must be completed to nine innings at the next possible opportunity. There was indeed rain on Wednesday after 10:30 p.m. which would have seen the game likely in the sixth or seventh inning.
The crisis for baseball would have been to re-schedule the completeion of Game 4 for Thursday, then have a stadium full of Game 5 ticket holders. The could have played the last 2-3 innings of Game 4 and then they could have seen the Tigers win for the sweep. Series over. What do you do with the Game 5 fans? Think they were unhappy before?
Well, the rain is supposed to stop at noon Thursday and be replace by the threat of rain the rest of the day. But the big green blob of rain on the radar has a visible backside that will allow Game 4 to be completed some time on Thursday. A Game 5 will be necessary only if CC Sabathia can defeat hard throwing righthander Max Scherzer of the Tigers. The Tigers starters have allowed two runs or fewer in all eight playoff starts this year.
Thursday is the 35th anniversary of the birth of the legend that was Mr. October. On this date in 1977 on three swings in Game 6 of the '77 World Series against the Dodgers, Reggie Jackson's career was made, crushing three straight home runs the final one deep into the centre field batter's eye. The Yankees are looking for a new hero right now.
Alex Rodriguez wil not even get the chance to be the next Reggie Jackson. The highest paid player in baseball has become a platoon third-baseman with Eric Chavez and since the Tigers have a top-heavy righthanded rotation, A-Rod will sit once again. It's sad.
Rodriguez is frustrated and instead of talking about an effort to lead the Yankees to the World Series, he is forced to talk about rumours that he could be moved to the Miami Marlins in the off-season, a team with a seemingly special affection for superstars of Latin-American heritage. A-Rod even seemed intrigued by the idea of of playing near home.
While GM Brian Cashman denied any contact with the Marlins, any discussion with any team for any of his players while his team is still alive in the post-season, Yankees president Randy Levine apparently had a half-joking conversation with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in which the idea of A-Rod swimming with the Fish came up.
The problem is that A-Rod is still owed $114 million for the next five years, with bonuses for every career home run plateau that he reaches. The feeling is that if A-Rod, at 37-years-old, was a free agent, he might be offered three years $20 million, at the top end. Who is going to pay the rest? The Yankees?
In any case, the Yankees will be fighting for their lives on Thursday at 4:07 p.m. and whereas they used to come at opponents relentlessly with an arsenal of sophisticated heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, they now seem to be firing SCUD missiles, hoping one of them hits the target. These are not your father's Yankees.