Feb 24, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Nashville Predators Megatron production

Here's a fun article from the Tennessean, taking us behind the scenes into the Megatron production room at the Nashville Predators. (via Kukla's Korner)

When the animated heart flashes on the big screen at Predators games, some couples snuggle up, watching with anticipation. Others grip their beers and slink into their seats. But regardless of whether they're ready to smooch in front of roughly 15,000 fans, it's time to pucker up, people. Everyone's fair game.

Deep in the belly of Sommet Center in a dark room packed with knobs and screens, it looks more intense than an airplane cockpit. But despite the equipment and fast-paced job at hand, the people in the room seem to be having as good a time as the fans, giggling at the couples on the screen.


While it might seem simple — cameraman finds a couple; they kiss; move on — the mechanics behind the kiss cam and other scoreboard antics involve a team of 15 people and 28 screens of stats, scores and fan shots. For any given kiss, the people in the control room have four couples to choose from, on four screens, from four cameramen out near the ice.

... In 2007, the scoreboard at Sommet was replaced, and its four high-resolution video screens earned it a new title: megatron.

" 'Jumbo' didn't seem good enough," he said.

While the kiss cam gets attention for sure, the megatron moment [Blake Grant, director of technical operations] most remembers still gives him chills.

During the Predators' first year in the playoffs, the home team finished killing a penalty against Detroit just before going into a TV timeout. The fans — all 18,000 or so of them — erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation and kept it up through the break until the puck dropped again.

"It wasn't a funny moment, but it was dramatic," he said.

Grant says the crew works to keep a balance between the game and the entertainment. When the game is good, it obviously gets the attention. But even in the most heated matches, the timeouts and TV breaks give them time to get fans dancing, singing and, of course, kissing.

"I think the scoreboard has its own personality here," he said.

Feb 23, 2009

Rats on the comeback in Florida

On Frozen Pond has a wonderfully titled post today: "Don't Call it a Comeback, They've Been Thrown for Years", all about the resurgence of the rat-throwing tradition at Florida Panthers games:
We haven't seen rubber rats in large numbers on Florida ice in quite some time, although the rubber rodents are definitely making a comeback.

Sure, the NHL came up with a rule to block the practice of throwing objects onto the ice during a game soon after the Panthers' 1996 run to the Finals were over. That doesn't mean people haven't been doing it in smaller numbers since.

We've seen a rat or two fly onto the ice after goals in the past decade, but most know it's a practice that could cost the home team. Yes, the refs could call the Panthers for a two minute delay of game if it were to get out of hand.

But there is no delay after a game is complete. Lately, more and more rubber rats have found their way to the ice following Florida victories. Saturday after the Boston game, more than two dozen hit the ice. Some were small, some were big.

More here from the Miami Herald.

Top 100 arena and stadium songs

Thanks to Alex for sending us this link from the makers of Sound Director, an audio software tool. They've come up with a list of the top 100 arena and stadium songs:
"We polled industry professionals from the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and major colleges all across North America to get their top 100 songs. Well, they wouldn't allow us to stick with just 100 so there are a few extras. Here's what they came up with for the most widely played arena and stadium songs in alpabetical order by title."

Feb 22, 2009

Montreal's new video scoreboard is really, really big

Montreal's new video scoreboard is huge. It was installed last summer (2008) by Daktronics, and the main screen is about 17' x 30'. (Even bigger than Vancouver's huge scoreboard, which measures 13' x 24'.) The video below gives you an idea of the scale - it drawfs the on-camera host. Also interesting in this vid are the photos of previous scoreboards in Montreal.

Yes, it's big, but nowhere near as big as the Kansas City Royals scoreboard (85'x105') or the forthcoming Dallas Cowboys scoreboard (71' x 159').

Feb 20, 2009

Three fun in-stand promos from the Ottawa Senators

Here are three fun in-stand promos from the Sens:

Feb 13, 2009

Buffalo Sabres video celebrates "Sabres love story"

From The Buffalo News:

A youth hockey player’s unexpected encounter with his beloved Buffalo Sabres, wrapped in evocative scenes of local winter splendor, will play out on the JumboTron at HSBC Arena tonight as the Sabres debut a new game-opening video.


The video “stars” Adam Batz, a 9-year-old Williamsville resident, who rises before sun-up headed for a game of shinny hockey with a bunch of his friends and their dads. Adam’s parents, Cathy and Dan Batz, also have starring roles in a plot that starts off in Lackawanna’s Bethlehem Park neighborhood, with key scenes at the Erie Basin Marina and HSBC Marina.


Matt Gould (Buffalo Sabres executive producer), who produced the Sabres’ popular “Better Days” game-opening video, which featured Buffalo’s Goo Goo Dolls and ran during the team’s 2007 playoff run, said this time the video is “less music-focused.”

“ ‘Better Days’ was more like a montage; this one is driven by a true story line,” said Gould, who was joined by Sabres production staffers Mark Blaszak and Drew Boeing on the project.

Ice fishermen, the Ohio Street lift bridge, the Buffalo skyline and waterfront, and Sabres game highlights all play supporting roles in the script written by Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn.

And the Goo Goo Dolls aren’t left out. The band’s single “Real,” which was featured on the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack, a compilation of music by several artists to benefit the U. S. Olympic Team, is part of the soundtrack for the video.


Shooting for the video started two weeks ago, when the Buffalo area was blanketed in fresh snow, and concluded on Monday afternoon at the Erie Basin Marina, utilizing the outdoor hockey rink from last weekend’s Labatt Pond Hockey tournament.

In addition to the Batz family, several local boys and their dads took part, along with Sabres Drew Stafford, Jason Pominville, Patrick Kaleta and Chris Butler.

The script originally included a feature role for Gaustad, who was sidelined by a shoulder injury. Thomas Vanek was selected to take Gaustad’s place, only to be taken out of the picture by a fractured jaw.


Feb 8, 2009

Brian Gainor on "Sonic Branding"

As a follow up to our recent post about the Garth Brooks song in Kansas City, here's a piece on "sonic branding" by Brian Gainor on his excellent Partnership Activation blog:
Sit back and take a quick moment to think, what is the sound of your brand? How does the "sound" of the Dallas Cowboys differ from that of the Miami Dolphins? How does Miller Lite differ from Heineken?

From classical to country to hip-hop, brands across the globe connect with consumers with different sounds. What I am talking about is Sonic Branding, the use of a special sound to identify and advertise products associated with a particular manufacturer. Sonic branding is becoming an increasingly powerful tool for brands to convey memorable messages to consumers... Why? Marketers are now starting to combine music and sports to hit their target consumer base's multiple passion points...

How are professional organizations starting to capitalize on this phenomenon? They are starting to take ownership of their music by integrating corporate partners more heavily in their online content/in-game music (i.e. offering team/player music via iTunes integration online) and are taking greater strides to understand how they can win over more consumers by creating products/events that incorpoate both music and sports (i.e. Nike Plus).

From an outsiders view, which teams have done a great job capitalizing on the passion that fans have for both music and sports? Consider the ways that Celtic Glasow, Liverpool FC, the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees incorporate music into their game experience. Can these organizations do a much better job leveraging these sounds as assets? Of course... Which is definitely something that we will start to see all teams expound upon in the near future as consumers take greater control of their music and sports...

There plenty of examples of teams with a song that fans have adopted -- for example, the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" tradition at the Chicago Cubs. Here are some other ones:

Promotions gone wrong: Nuggets hand out live kittens to fans

Fanhouse reports:

At a recent home game, someone thought it would be a great idea for the [Denver Nuggets] mascot to come onto the floor with a box of live kittens, and proceed to pass them out to anyone in the stands who claimed to want one.

PETA, who has been involved in some sillier causes relating to the NBA in the past, predictably weighed in on this one:
Handing kittens out like candy to any spectator who wants one is a virtual death sentence for the animals. All too often, people who acquire cats on a whim discover that caring for them is more work than they expected, and the animals end up dumped on the streets, abandoned in extremely crowded animal shelters, or obtained by unscrupulous individuals who sell them to laboratories or use them in dogfights or rituals.

Interview with New York Islanders organist Paul Cartierm

From Time Out New York (via Kukla's Korner):
Who he is: Air traffic controller by day and organist by night, Paul Cartier has been playing for the New York Islanders on and off since 1979, and for the Yankees for the last five years.

First attempt: Cartier had been going to Islanders games since the team was formed. Three years later, when he was 15, they hired a new organist who “wasn’t very good,” according to Cartier. “I went to the Nassau Coliseum and asked to audition for the job. I got laughed at.”

Breakthrough moment: As a transfer to Hofstra University, Cartier enrolled in Piano 101, which happened to be taught by the Islanders’ newest organ player. “I would get to class early and softly play some of the stuff that he’d play at the Coliseum. One day he took notice, and I confessed my obsession,” Cartier explains. The professor invited him to the organ box during the next game and let Cartier test his chops between periods. “He was impressed and helped me get the gig playing for the New York Arrows indoor soccer team.” From there, Cartier began filling in occasionally for his professor until he eventually took over.

And then: The senior director of scoreboard and broadcasting for the Yankees approached Cartier and asked him to join their roster as well.

Cartier’s advice: There is an unofficial exclusive Web ring, where the NHL organ players exchange ideas and stories and some even play in a fantasy hockey league. How can you break in? “You need to be persistent without being a pest,” he warns. Call the team’s office and ask who’s in charge of music. “Introduce yourself and let them know that you’re always willing to help out in any way.” And don’t overlook the minor-league teams—they’re good experience and a great way to get your name out there.
Read the full article...

Garth Brooks and the Kansas City Royals: I've Got Friends in Low Places

From Partnership Activation:

In 2008, the Kansas City Royals started a new tradition that quickly became a favorite among fans. During the 6th inning of every home game, the team began playing the legendary Garth Brooks hit, "Friends in Low Places" on the video board, complemented with lyrics and crowd shots for fans to enjoy. The song, which quickly became known as FNLP among the team's camera crew (due to its regularity), became an instant hit among the KC faithful.

Chris DeRuyscher, the team's director of game entertainment, thought of the idea while attending a Garth Brooks concert at the Sprint Center. Realizing Brooks' history with the Royals organization as a Spring Training participant a few years ago, it made every bit of sense to integrate his music into the Royals' game entertainment.

The Royals used a two-hour session with Garth Brooks to create 20-25 different openings for "Friends in Low Places". The collaborating parties catered introductions for the song to specific promotional nights the team was offering during the season (e.g. Ladies night).

This promo was a finalist at the 2008 IDEA Golden Matrix Awards last summer, and it looks like the fans are having a great time with it. Here's a video clip:

We just need some more cowbell

Here's a fun article from The Business of Sports about the cowbell, and its role in game entertainment. The Cowbell and Sports:
Capitalizing on the cowbell craze that swept BankAtlantic Center last season, the [Florida] Panthers will give out 15,000 red cowbells at Saturday’s 2008-09 home opener. Don’t forget to bring earplugs.

Cowbells won’t just be for supporting the team, they’ll be introducing the team’s new inflatable mascot. Fear not, the popular Dancing Banana will still be making appearances this season.

The cowbell phenomenon at the Panthers started last December when Murphy Burch, a Panthers fan from Cooper City who will be dropping a ceremonial first puck Saturday, saw fans ringing cowbells at a Chicago Wolves minor league hockey game.

Burch, known as "VanMurph" on his Panthers jersey, had grown tired of noisy fans of opposing teams outnumbering -- or at least out-cheering -- Panthers fans at BankAtlantic Center. He bought a couple of cowbells to a game, then a couple more for some friends. Cowbells became a topic on the Panthers message board. Soon a clip of the popular Saturday Night Live skit in which Christopher Walken pleads for Blue Oyster Cult to use “more cowbell,” was playing on the scoreboard and cowbells were for sale at the team’s Pantherland store.

Read Burch's explanation of the cowbell movement here.

While the SNL skit has given renewed life to cowbells in pop culture, the cowbell has been intertwined with sports for years. Popular at minor league and college hockey games, cowbells have also been heard at the Olympics in support of downhill skiers and at bicycling races, among other events.

They’ve been so popular at college football games that the SEC instituted a ban on the noisy bells, threatening a loss of yardage should they get too loud. Fans of Mississippi State still smuggle in the bells.

The Tampa Bay Rays adopted cowbells in 2007 because principal team owner Stuart Sternberg loves the SNL skit. They’ve been handed out to Rays fans – fans in opposing team jerseys are denied – and are used when opposing players have two strikes.

Wikipedia has an entry on cowbells, including four paragraphs about their use in sports.

Scriptwriting 101: Keep it simple

Here's a handy cheat sheet from the Word Wise blog, with suggestions on some common phrases that can be reduced to one word:
  • at all times: replace with always
  • at the present time: replace with now or currently
  • because of the fact that: replace with because
  • due to the fact that: replace with because
  • for the purpose of: replace with for
  • in order to: replace with to
  • in spite of the fact that: replace with although or though
  • prior to, in anticipation of: replace with before
  • with regard to: replace with about
  • on an annual basis: replace with yearly
  • at this point in time: replace with now
  • subsequent to: replace with after
  • a large majority: replace with most
  • be in a position to: replace with to or can
  • in view of the fact that: replace with because
  • in the event that: replace with if
  • at your earliest convenience: replace with soon
  • be in a position to: replace with are or can
  • under the circumstances: replace with because or therefore

All about Pittsburgh's Terible Towels

From the New York Times, here's the story behind Pittsburgh's Terrible Towels. The yellow towels were created by Pittsburgh broadcaster Myron Cope in 1975.
Myron Cope left behind something far more personal than a legacy of terrycloth, a battle flag for a city and its team. In 1996, he handed over the trademark to the Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School. It is a network of campuses and group homes across Pennsylvania for people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. It receives almost all the profits from sales of the towels.

Danny Cope is one of the roughly 900 people the school serves. He has been a resident since 1982, when he was a teenager. He was diagnosed with severe mental retardation when he was 2. He is now 41.

“He’s never spoken,” Elizabeth Cope said. “Which is kind of funny, because Dad is known for his voice. It’s almost like the Terrible Towel is Danny’s silent voice.”

Hundreds of thousands of the towels — trademarked as “Myron Cope’s the Official Terrible Towel” — are sold every year, for about $7 each. Through the Steelers, who handle the marketing of the towels, the school receives a check every month, usually for tens of thousands of dollars.

A Super Bowl changes everything. The company that produces the towels, McArthur Towel & Sports of Baraboo, Wis., produced 450,000 of them last week, after the Steelers won the A.F.C. championship. The company expects to duplicate that this week before Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, its president, Gregg McArthur, said.

A Steelers victory would most likely lead to orders of at least 500,000 more for a pair of Super Bowl versions of the Terrible Towel, one with the score against the Cardinals, the other declaring the Steelers as six-time Super Bowl champions.

Before this season, Allegheny Valley School had received more than $2.5 million from the towels since 1996, said its chief executive officer, Regis Champ. Roughly $1 million of that came during and immediately after the 2005 season, when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. This season is likely to top that.


The idea for the towels came out of a 1975 meeting Cope had at WTAE, the Steelers’ flagship radio station where he was the voice of the Steelers. Executives wanted a promotional gimmick, something to raise the excitement level during the playoffs.

Pittsburgh’s blue-collar fans were not the pompom types. But towels were far more utilitarian, useful for wiping the seats or protecting against the chill. Cope dubbed them Terrible Towels. On air, he encouraged fans to bring gold or black towels to the first playoff game against the Colts. It seemed too gimmicky, until about half the crowd began waving them at the start of the game. The Steelers won their second consecutive Super Bowl, surrounded by a sea of swirling towels.

Soon they were trademarked and mass-produced. They have been imitated by other franchises, but usually they are handed out for free, and they feel both unoriginal and uninspired by comparison. Even the N.F.L. could not contain itself; it is selling a white “Trophy Towel” to fans of both the Steelers and the Cardinals.

Read the full article...

Ted Leonsis on national anthem etiquette

Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis says:
We should be more respectful when the National Anthem is sung. Taking off your hat is the right gesture. NOT screaming “RED” or “O” is also the right thing to do. Placing your hand on your heart or giving a military salute is also appropriate.

The only thing that I would love to see and hear is what happens in Chicago is the deep and roaring applause all the way through the National Anthem as a true sign of encouragement and respect. That would be a great thing for our fans to do. Let us start a new tradition, what do you say?

The latest in t-shirt launching technology: the T-Shirt Gatling Gun

Here's a fun article from the Washington City Paper about the T-Shirt Gatling Gun, a new tool to launch t-shirts at sporting events. The gun was developed by FX In Motion, a Wisconsin-based company that's supplied the launcher to about 16 teams so far. (via GameOps.com)
The gadget can shoot a dozen shirts 12 stories high in a matter of seconds, machine-gun style. Each shirt launch comes with a big whoosh followed by a puff of vapor from one of the rotating barrels...

“The first time we used [the Gatling Gun], the tape that was holding the shirts together was getting blown off, it’s so powerful,” laughs Marc Goldman, who has MC’d the timeout entertainment at Hoyas home games for several years. “Everybody loves it. We used to just have cheerleaders out there throwing T-shirts, and though everybody would still go nuts for the shirts, they’d only be able to hit people in the lower deck. But now every seat in the building is really within range.”


Scheel says his assemblage of PVC pipe, two CO² tanks, a car battery, and steel bars on wheels—which he leases to teams for as much as $3,500 a season—grew out of other products his company has been hawking to pro and college teams.


“Some people are just wrapping hot dogs in a paper towel and stuffing it in a T-shirt cannon,” says Scheel with obvious disdain. “You can’t just shoot that out. By the time somebody gets it, they just end up with a smashed hot dog. I’ve told people, ‘I’m not eating that.’”

But the multishot hot dog cannon that Scheel developed in the back room of his shop utilized plastic capsules—“like the ones at a drive-in teller, sort of”—to protect the integrity of the foodstuffs and allow storage of a napkin and condiments. And, again, it shoots a dozen dogs into the stratosphere in the time it would take to scream, “Let’s go, Hoyas!”


Feb 6, 2009

Gameday promotions gone wrong: Ronald McDonald uniforms

It was McDonald's night in Kalamazoo. Not only did they paint the ice yellow, they dressed the players in these hideous uniforms. (via icethetics)

Feb 4, 2009

Halftime shows gone wrong: Near-drowning (or prank?)

Thanks to KC for sending along this story from FanHouse:

Woman Nearly Drowns During NBA Halftime Show Gone Wrong

Halftime shows in the NBA are rarely exciting, and to be honest, I think that's by design. Why keep the fans glued to their seats when there's money to be made at the concession stand? But last month, the Oklahoma City Thunder booked an act that I'm sure everyone in attendance will remember for a very long time:

That was Kristen Johnson, one half of the Ridgeway & Johnson Grand Illusion & Escape Show act, in the water. She was supposed to escape the chains and free herself, but as you can see, something went wrong and she appeared to pass out, prompting a quick end to the show so she could be rescued. Fortunately, as soon as she got to the surface, she regained consciousness.

I'm actually surprised this hasn't garnered more attention -- this took place on Jan. 16 but didn't gain the attention of the blogosphere until today, most likely because an interview Johnson did about the incident was recently featured on CNN.

That said, the cynic in me can't help but wonder if this was staged. For one, the duo posted a message on a magic message board (um, the board itself isn't magic, it's simply targeted toward magicians) the day before the act took place, telling everyone to "keep an eye on ESPN," followed by advice from another poster the day the stunt went awry after to "HIT the talks shows up NOW!" to capitalize on the attention.

Baseball's rain delays

Today in my sports business class, we talked about game delays -- all of the various reasons why sports teams have to delay games. Baseball deals with game delays the most frequently of any pro sport, because of the weather.

Wikipedia says:

"...teams will continue play in light to moderate rain but will suspend play if it is raining heavily or if there is standing water on the field. Games can also be delayed or canceled for other forms of inclement weather, or if the field is found to be unfit for play, and for other unusual causes (such as the spring training game that was canceled due to a swarm of bees)..."

Before a baseball game commences, unless it is the second game of a doubleheader, the manager of the home team is in charge of deciding whether or not the game should be delayed or canceled due to rain or other inclement weather (see Rule 3.10 of baseball's Official Rules). Once the home team manager hands his lineup card to the umpire shortly before the game is to begin, the umpire-in-chief has sole discretion to decide if a game should be delayed or canceled (see Rule 3.10 and Rule 4.01 of the Official Rules). This also applies to the second game of a doubleheader. Umpires are required by rule to wait at least 30 minutes to see if conditions improve; this is referred to as a rain delay and is not counted as part of the length of the game listed in the box score. In practice, umpires are encouraged to see that games are played if at all possible, and will sometimes wait as long as three hours before declaring a rainout.

If a game is rained out before play begins, it is rescheduled for a later date. If a game is called after play begins but before 4 1/2 innings have been completed (if the home team is ahead) or five innings have been completed (if the visitors are ahead or the game is tied), the game is not an official game. The umpire declares "No Game", the game is played in its entirety at a later date, and statistics compiled during the game are not counted. Games that are stopped after they become official games count in the standings (unless the game is tied, in which case it is continued at a later date, usually the next day), and statistics compiled during the game are counted.

Even with all of those rules, there can still be a lot of controversy, such as in the 2008 World Series. Sports Business Daily has a good wrap-up of the incident:

Selig, MLB Take Heat After Suspending World Series Game Five

Last night's Rays-Phillies World Series Game Five was suspended at 11:10pm ET after a 30-minute delay, with the score tied 2-2 in the middle of the sixth inning, making it the "first World Series game to start and not last at least nine innings," according to Tyler Kepner of the N.Y. TIMES.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said that "under no circumstances would the Phillies have won the game -- and the Series -- before the completion of nine innings." Selig indicated that he also "did not want the game or the Series decided in dangerous playing conditions, even though the game had started and the forecast calls for rain -- and even snow -- until Thursday." Selig: "I would not have allowed a World Series to end this way" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/28).

Selig said that he decided before rain-delayed Game Three "that if any World Series game were stopped, it would eventually be resumed no matter how long the 'rain delay' took." Selig said a shortened game is "not a way to end a World Series."

Selig: "I have enough authority here, frankly, so that I'm on very solid ground."

First base umpire Tim Tschida said that if the game had been a regular-season game, it "probably would have been called sooner." Tschida: "But it's not our call."

USA TODAY's Paul White notes it is "not known" when the game will resume, as "significant rain is forecast for today in Philadelphia, with Wednesday's forecast better." Selig said that it "will be played at night, the first time conditions permit."

Selig: "We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here" (USA TODAY, 10/28). Rays President Matt Silverman said that the teams "were told before the game that Selig would use his powers to ensure that a full nine innings were played, however long it took" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/28).

NEXT STEPS: YAHOO SPORTS' Gordon Edes reports fans with tickets to last night's Game Five "will be able to use those tickets when the suspended game is restarted" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/28). Selig said the game will start at night because "the fans bought tickets for a night game, and it will be the same starting time, whether it's Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night or whenever." In Philadelphia, Joe Juliano reports due to the uncertainty around the resumption of the game, the dates for potential Games Six and Seven are "in a similar state of limbo." Selig's decision to start the game initially "could be widely second-guessed, as [well as] the insistence that the game continue despite field conditions that went distinctly downhill after the fourth inning." But second base umpire and crew chief Tim Welke said, "Guys weren't falling off the mound pitching and delivering, and the hitters weren't slipping out of the box. So we felt comfortable going. But due to the velocity of the rain, the grounds crew couldn't keep up with keeping the field" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/28).

Selig was "concerned enough" with the playing conditions he went to the field level in both the fourth and fifth innings. Both times he was "assured by the groundskeeper that field conditions were OK" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/28). Selig said of the decision to suspend the game, "It was difficult, but that's why I'm here. By the time this decision was made, we had covered every subject. These were circumstances beyond our control. When you have tough times that's why you have a Commissioner" (MLB.com, 10/28). Phillies GM Pat Gillick: "We thought we'd get the game in, but the weather changed." Selig: "You don't want to know what I think of meteorologists" (TORONTO SUN, 10/28).

LACKING A THOROUGH EXPLANATION: Selig insisted that he "informed both teams" of his plan to play the game nine innings regardless of the weather. But YAHOO SPORTS' Edes reports there were "lots of players in the Rays clubhouse -- including starting pitcher Scott Kazmir -- who said they had no idea." Kazmir: "I thought after five innings it was done and over and we don't continue the game." Edes notes "similar confusion reigned in the Phillies clubhouse." Phillies P Brad Lidge: "They didn't tell anyone" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/28). Rays 1B Carlos Pena: "I really did not believe that it would be possible [for the Phillies] to win a World Series like that. All of us were talking in the clubhouse. There's no way that could have happened. No way. In the World Series, you play nine innings" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/28).

ESPN’s Buster Olney said, "While I agree with the decision to try to start that game last night, I think (MLB) clearly missed the boat in trying to educate everybody. You had Joe Buck and Tim McCarver on last night’s broadcast talking about, ‘Boy, that run that the Rays scored in the 6th inning that ties the game might save the game for the Rays,’ when in fact that wasn’t the case at all. But no one knew that” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/28).

Fox' Buck said shortly after the game was delayed, "That run driven in with two outs saves in essence the Tampa Bay Rays from what could be the end of the World Series. If ... they hadn’t scored that tying run and they can’t resume play, the World Series is over” (Fox, 10/27). ESPN's Peter Gammons last night said, "The one great thing is that Tampa Bay did tie it up so that the Phillies weren’t awarded the World Series in a rain delay” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 10/27).

TEAMS NOT OVERLY PLEASED WITH CONDITIONS: MLB.com's Bryan Hoch notes players from both the Phillies and Rays were "not pleased by the suspended game, but understood given the conditions." Some players said that they were "surprised that the game even proceeded as far as it did, but understood the magnitude of the event on the whole." Rays LF Carl Crawford: "We kind of figured they were going to try to get the game in, so we just played until they told us to stop" (MLB.com, 10/28). Rays CF B.J. Upton said of the delay before the game was suspended, "You kind of wonder what's going on. You're talking about guys' careers over one game" (L.A. TIMES, 10/28). Phillies P Cole Hamels, who started the game, said, "They were the worst-case conditions to try to pitch in. It's something you don't train for." Phillies P Brett Myers, asked what is next, said, "How the hell are we supposed to know? [Selig] doesn't even know" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/28). In Philadelphia, Bob Ford reports Phillies manager Charlie Manuel did not speak to the media after the game because he reportedly was "too angry with baseball's handling" of the situation to "trust what he might say" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/28).

Another memorable professional sports "delay of game" happened in 1988 during the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers. With the Oilers ahead 3-0 in the series, Game 4 was scheduled to be played in Boston.

SI.com: Ah, yes, the blackout. The teams were 37 minutes into Game 4 on May 24, the score was tied at 3-3, and on this night Boston looked capable of filching a game from Edmonton. Gretzky seemed merely human -- he had turned the puck over for Boston's second goal -- and the pea soup in the Boston Garden was proving to be a better equalizer than any meddlesome referee. Then suddenly, poof! A 4,000-volt switch overloaded, and the 59-year-old building went black.

Describing the blackout as "an act of God," NHL president John Ziegler said he could do nothing "but follow our bylaws." By that he meant NHL bylaw 27-12, which stipulates that in such an emergency the game must be replayed in its entirety at the end of the series, if necessary.
So the teams flew back to Edmonton, giving the Oilers home ice advantage again. The Oilers won the game and swept the series.

And finally we leave you with TSN's Top 10 Stadium Delays.