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10/27/06 3:18 AM ET

Mailbag: Rain puts damper on fans

Mike Bauman answers fans' World Series questions

While your column made interesting reading, I still wonder why nobody talks about the substance on Kenny Rogers' hand. There are a few things that without a doubt prove he was cheating. Dirt does not shine. End of story. If he was not guilty of anything, why wash it off so quickly? Why was there a discrepancy from what Detroit manager Jim Leyland said vs. Rogers' comments regarding that the umpires did or did not talk to him? Was he not suspected of cheating in the Oakland game?
-- Robert E.

The messages won't stop on this topic, and typically they are still coming in much greater numbers from the aggrieved parties -- Cardinals fans. I'm left with two fundamental responses. The umpires said the substance was dirt, and they are the authorities, the parents, the judges, the juries and the Supreme Court on this issue. Beyond that, this controversy will not go away unless the Cardinals win the World Series, at which point it would transform itself into a controversial, but tiny footnote in the history of postseason ball.

It seems to me, a west coast Canadian, that I am missing a lot by not viewing the games on FOX. Cheating is cheating, caught or not. Tony La Russa was big enough not to call for the inspection. Why didn't the umpire examine Rogers' hand? From all that I've read, everyone knows the cheating habits of baseball players, and the trick is not to get caught. So what's left? Let's play ball. I'll be checking in with Gameday again. It's a lot more fun, the chat room is interesting and the commentary definitely entertaining.
-- Barbara

Thanks, Barbara. I have always said that Canada is a highly evolved society.

I'd like to know who claims responsibility for the miscue in which Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya threw to third base in a situation where the obvious smart play was to second. This play arguably put the Tigers away in Game 3, but was it all his fault? Just a lack of common sense at a critical moment? Or was someone else to blame? And now that the Tigers are down 3-1, are they a lock to lose?
-- Andrew, Milwaukee

Astute questions from a Great City on a Great Lake. The play took Zumaya toward third, but his throw had to be to second for the potential double play. Even if he had thrown accurately to third, it still would have been the wrong play. In the recorded history of the game, that throw had to go to second base every time. It was a lapse in individual judgment. There would be no Tigers screaming "Third, third!!" on that play. And no, the Tigers are not "a lock" to lose, but they are now a very long shot to win. The last time a team came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series was 1985, Kansas City against, well, St. Louis. It could happen for the Tigers, but they would need three superior pitching performances in a row. They would also need their pitchers to stop making errors.

How can baseball justify fans holding tickets for Game 5 be forced to attend Game 4? I picked Game 5 for a reason. I am in a group of eight fans that went in on season tickets, and I picked Game 5 because I had a feeling the Cardinals would clinch then. I am just in shock that Major League baseball is doing this. I am taking a family of four and we are very disappointed that we will not have a chance of seeing the final game of the World Series after picking Game 5 more than a month ago.
-- Robert V.

We had numerous e-mails on this subject, about Game 5 ticket-holders becoming Game 4 ticket-holders because of the rainout. Let me humbly suggest an alternative view: Your team is in the World Series. You are fortunate enough to have tickets. You are financially well-off enough to afford the tickets. You are, in other words, thrice blessed. It rained, your Game 5 tickets became Game 4 tickets. These things happen. Untold millions of baseball fans are praying to one day walk in your shoes to their ballpark to see their club in the World Series. Count your blessings.

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.