World Series

Just like we drew it up

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worldseriesraindelay11-02-2016

I made a silly prediction earlier today that Game 7 of the World Series would go 13 innings and have a brief rain delay in the 11th. I missed it by one inning. The delay came just as the 10th was about to begin.

Update: The tarp has been rolled off the field and we’re back to baseball.

What a game!!!

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Fall Classic Savings Time

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Good news for those of us who have become somewhat sleep deprived during the Major League Baseball playoffs: Tonight’s World Series Game Two start time has been moved up one hour to 7:08 p.m.

Now the bad news: The change was made because of a threat of rain tonight in Cleveland. According to forecasts, rain is expected in the city this afternoon before tapering off.

The chance of precipitation is around 35 percent at 8 p.m. and increases to 50-55 percent in the next couple of hours. At 11 p.m., the chance of precipitation jumps to about 80 percent and 90 at midnight.

Look out if the game goes into extra innings.

The last time a World Series game was suspended for weather was Game 5 in 2008 when rain drenched Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies and Rays were tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth when the Monday night game was called. It was resumed two days later.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was skipper of the Rays, who lost to the Phillies in five games.

Cold temperatures could also be a factor in tonight’s contest at Progressive Field. Game-time temps are expected to be in the high 40s with a wind chill of around 42 degrees. In the opener, in which Cleveland won 6-0, temperatures hung around 50 degrees.

Everyone has to deal with the cold, but a lot of eyes will be on Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta. You may remember Arrieta’s velocity dipped a bit last October as he struggled in Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS on a 45-degree night in a 4-1 loss to the Mets. Many believe the cold played a role in right hander’s struggles.

The Indians last played in the World Series in 1997 against the Marlins. The games in Florida were nice weather-wise, but Game 4 in Cleveland had a game-time temperature of 41, which dropped to the mid-30s throughout the contest.

But tonight, our biggest concern is rain… and for me, getting to bed at a decent time. So, the hour-earlier start time is just dandy. Tribe manager Terry Francona does mind either.

“Shoot, it just means we start an hour earlier. We can handle that,” Francona said. “I don’t care what time they tell us to play. I’m sure they have good reason. If it’s supposed to rain late, I don’t really have a reaction. I’m going to be here anyway by 10 (a.m.) So it doesn’t really matter.”

Football + Rain = Good

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PanthersRainA flood watch has been insured for the Charlotte, North Carolina area and up to 3 inches of precipitation could fall there today.

Rain is expected throughout the night, too, when the city’s undefeated football team, the Carolina Panthers, host the less-than-impressive Indianapolis Colts – they’re 3-4 – on Monday Night Football.

The forecast, according to Accuweather.com, is calling for heaving rain throughout the day and a 100 percent chance throughout the game, which kicks off at 8 p.m. local time. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s.

Bring your umbrella if you’re going to the … no wait, umbrellas aren’t allowed in Bank of America Stadium.

So, which team will benefit most from the wet playing conditions? Heck if I know.

I have to admit, I’m still on a World Series hangover – it ended way too soon, didn’t it? – and I’ve hardly paid attention, yet, to football this season. But, I’m sure I’ll catch up quickly.

That being said, you have to believe the team with the better running game would have an advantage. The homestanding Panthers lead the NFL in team rushing with 144.7 yards per game, and the Colts fall near the bottom of the rankings, 27th to be exact, at 93.6 yards.

That’s just some quick, lazy analysis that doesn’t mean much.

By the way, Opening Day of the 2016 baseball season is 153 days away.

Against the wind

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The wind at Citi Field Friday night did more than make women swoon from the sight of Noah Syndergaard’s long blond locks blowing from underneath his blue Mets cap. (I read a lot about that on Twitter.)

Wind, on a single swing, may have preserved the game for the Mets, who held 5-3 lead over the Royals in the top of the sixth inning in Game 3 of the World Series.

Alex Rios stood at the plate with a 3-2 count and drove the 100th pitch of the night from Syndergaard down the left field line. They Royals had runners on first and second as the ball glided toward left field.

Wind pushed and pushed on the ball until gravity brought it down a few feet to the foul side of the white base line.

“You see the effect of the wind right there. That ball took off,” Fox analyst Harold Reynolds said. “That ball started to be fair, and I thought it was going to be an easy out for (Mets’ left fielder Michael) Conforto. It (the ball) just continued to run to the corner.”

Reynolds, being at the ballpark, had a better view than I did from my spot on the man cave sofa. However, it looked to me that if the ball had landed fair, Conforto, unless he made a Web Gems-worth diving catch, would not have caught up to the ball.

A fair ball would have meant at least one run for the Royals, and maybe two to tie.

How much would that have affected the game? It’s hard to say. And, of course, there were countless other moments in the game that could have been affected by the wind. But at the time, this play seemed like a potential turning point.

It doesn’t mean anything now. The Mets added four runs in the bottom half of the inning and went on to win 9-3, but it was a perfect example how wind – it was 14 mph with gusts up to 25 mph – can influence a baseball game by an inch here and an inch there.

Let’s all root for helicopters

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mlb_g_kauffmants_576As I’m writing this, it’s sunny in Kansas City.

I’m not there, but I’m relying on Accuweather.com

Accuweather also tells me there’s a darn good chance sun will give way to rain throughout the day Tuesday, and there’s about a 70 percent chance of more rain that night just as the first pitch is about to be tossed for Game 1 of the World Series between the homestanding Royals and New York Mets.

As of now – you know how weather forecasts can change within minutes – there’s a 60 percent chance of rain falling on Kauffman Stadium the next couple of hours after the game begins. Chances of rain decrease of the night turns into morning.

If Game 1 is postponed, it will be played Wednesday night – that’s weather permitting, of course. Game 2 will be Thursday and MLB will ditch the travel day off and play the third game Friday night in New York.

If there’s a lot of rain tomorrow, but there’s a chance to play, I’m rooting for one of those scenarios in which helicopters are brought in to hover of Kauffman Stadium in an attempt to dry the field.

Does that really work?

Phil Collins is the opposite of the fat lady

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New York Post
Photo: New York Post

I hate to say it…

To my 9-year-old son who’s just learning about the ebbs and flows of following a professional baseball team.

To all of you fans of Chicago’s lovable losers.

But here goes…

It’s over, Cubs fans. It’s over.

I know it. You know it. Marty McFly knows it.

Despite winning 97 games this season – who’d a thunk it? Despite Jake Arrieta’s masterful mound performances. Despite the six home-runs to bury your more successful nemesis from St. Louis in the NLDS game at Wrigley. Despite the good feeling you had – we all had – about your team, 2015 is not the year you break the Curse of the billy goat and – good golly this is ridiculous – forgive Steve Bartman.

Tonight the Cubbies face elimination from the NLDS and this magical season. The Mets –  yep, the Mighty Mets of Gotham with the Dark Knight and Thor and whatever super hero nickname you want to assign to Jacob deGrom and Daniel Murphy – are poised to take the series in only four games. And they’re making it look easy.

The situation is dire for the Cubs.

In trying to grasp some hope, you can think back to 2004 when the Boston Red Sox, who in a similar situation of trailing three games to zero to the Yankees in the ALCS – roared back to win the next four games and ultimately the World Series, breaking their 86-year curse supposedly put on by Babe Ruth.

(With the Babe, I’m guessing there was a woman who gave him the idea. George always had a woman involved, and I don’t think he could have thought of cursing the Sox on his own. Am I right?)

Just win the next one, we’ve heard Cubs Manager Joe Maddon say after each defeat. “We need to put together several one-game winning streaks,” Maddon repeated after Monday night’s Game 3 loss.

Now, the Cubs have to win the next one, which is tonight in Wrigley, or there is no next one. Not until spring training in March. And then, who cares?

I want the Cubs to win tonight to, if nothing else, keep the dream alive for excitable Cubs fans, like my son, and the series going for one more day. Heck, if the Mets win and the Royals are victorious in the Junior Circuit championship today, we’ll have to go five days without a game until baseball resumes with the World Series next Tuesday.

And, of course, there’s one more way the series can extend to another day: Yep, a rainout.

It looks like there’s a small chance of delaying game 4 until Thursday. The forecast is calling for a 50 percent chance of showers in Chicago when the first pitch is thrown tonight and a 35 percent chance through midnight.

Midnight could be interesting for Cubs fans tonight. When it strikes, will their team have survived to play another day or will their Cinderella season turn into a giant pumpkin?

Or, will the game be called because of rain?

Either way, as the great Phil Collins used to sing: “Give me just one more night.”