ST. LOUIS — Let's get this out of the way first: Bud Selig and Major League Baseball absolutely did the correct thing by postponing game six of the World Series until Thursday night.
Some will say ha-ha and point out that it didn't rain all that hard here. The fashionable (and, if we're being honest, fun) thing is to trash Selig and his cheap haircuts at every turn, but he got this one right.
Rain marred the opening-round series between the Tigers and Yankees, sucking some of the juice from what should've been an all-time great pitching matchup between Justin Verlander and C.C. Sabathia.
Three years ago, rain and snow suspended what turned out to be the deciding game of the World Series between the Phillies and Rays. A re-enactment here would've made MLB officials look like buffoons and might've broken Twitter. With clear forecasts for Thursday night and Friday, why chance it?
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Baseball's post-season, and especially this World Series, have been too good to risk ruining now. Maybe the postponement is the baseball gods' way of allowing us one more day to appreciate what we've seen, and one more day to prepare for what's coming. More on this shortly.
Nobody wants to see baseball's marquee event sullied by weather, and if you just made a joke to yourself about nobody watching baseball's marquee event anyway, this is the perfect segue to the next point:
That is written with as much respect as possible. But what baseball doesn't need is the outdated idea that TV ratings determine interest, which has been one of the steady narratives of this World Series and is wasted energy on a few levels.
Now more than ever before, TV ratings are an antiquated way of gauging interest, particularly historically (though it's worth noting that Kansas City's numbers are higher than any other uninvolved market's).
You have 500 channels and a bajillion Web sites fighting for your electronic media attention now, and the people watching games on computers or cellphones or iPads don't count in ratings.
Baseball famously drew record crowds through the recession and revenue remains at or near all-time highs. The sport isn't broken.
Actually, if you compare baseball to other major TV programming besides the Super Bowl — an exception in many ways — interest is steady or rising. Last year's World Series, often referred to as the least-watched ever, was the No. 8 show on television for the year. That's exactly where, to pull one year out of a hat, the 1971 Series ranked (that's the postseason in which Roberto Clemente's Pirates beat Frank Robinson's Orioles in seven games).
But the biggest shame of the hand-wringing over TV ratings isn't that they're misleading, but that they're distracting from what might be the best post-season in the wild-card era and the best World Series in nearly a decade.
This started way back on the last day of the regular season, which even in this day of instant hyperbole can (and was) accurately called the most exciting 129 minutes in baseball history. Two playoff spots turned, one front office turned over, and a team came back from seven runs down to win the wild card on a walk-off home run.
The only day that could top that in these playoffs is game seven of the World Series — and as it turns out, all we need is a Cardinals win at home Thursday night to deliver it.
In between, we will have seen an Alex Rodriguez strikeout end the Yankees' season, Chris Carpenter beat Roy Halladay 1-0 in a winner-take-all showdown, the Brewers win their first series in nearly 30 years on a walk-off single in the 10th inning, Albert Pujols run gnat-like Nyjer Morgan into the wall chasing a double, and the quirky dancing of Rangers manager Ron Washington.
We have seen Verlander's fastball, Prince Fielder's power and Ian Kinsler's guts. We've seen Nolan Ryan fret, Tony La Russa curse and Derek Holland joke. We've seen games decided by tiny fielding miscues, line drives off pitchers' legs and an apparent bad connection with the bullpen phone at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Pujols joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson as the only men to hit three home runs in a World Series game, and so far, that's the only game that had no drama on the last pitch.
This is the World Series that might change La Russa's legacy or enhance Pujols'. If Texas wins, it would end the game's third-longest championship drought (the Royals would move up to 11th).
If the Cardinals win Thursday night, we will have the first game seven of a World Series since the Angels beat Barry Bonds' Giants in 2002, and this year's 38 total playoff games will be most in a single post-season since 2003.
Whatever happens, there will be some Chicken Little-types cluttering the discussion with TV ratings and other nonsense. They'll be missing one of the best sporting events of the last few years.