Despite the objections of Astros players and coaches, baseball ruled that Houston open the roof of Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night for Game 3 of the World Series against the Chicago White Sox.
Commissioner Bud Selig said the decision was made in accordance with weather guidelines set up by the Astros in which the roof is to be open if temperatures are under 80 degrees, as it was on Tuesday. If the temperature is above 80, then the roof can be closed.
"The thing we've said is that all clubs with roofs, weather is the determining factor," Selig said. "Following the criteria the Houston Astros set this year, this fits to have the roof open. This is their criteria, not ours. I know it's an unpopular decision and we're sorry about that."
Selig's explanation did nothing to appease the Astros, who believe having the roof closed creates a home-field advantage. Houston players said the noise created in the closed Minute Maid Park can often be distracting for opposing players.
"This is part of our home-field advantage," catcher Brad Ausmus said. "For Major League Baseball to change that, it's a: ridiculous, or b: they are American League fans. I think it's ridiculous for Major League Baseball to stick their nose in somebody else's face. Bottom line, it's ridiculous that Major League Baseball tells the Astros how to prepare their stadium for the World Series."
Houston was 15-11 this year with the roof open and 36-17 with the roof closed.
"We want it closed because we feel we have a distinct advantage if its closed," Houston third baseman Morgan Ensberg said. "But I'm a 30-year-old man and I can deal with it. It's not like they stole my dog."
Selig said he spoke to Houston owner Drayton McLane prior to Tuesday's game.
"This is their policy," Selig said. "This is criteria they use in April and May. When I told Drayton that, he was fine with it."
Pettitte's Elbow 'Cranky'
Astros General Manager Tim Purpura said that pitcher Andy Pettitte is nursing a sore left elbow.
"Andy on occasion has described his elbow as cranky," Purpura said. "He's probably going to feel that the rest of the year. That's what happens when you have surgery. But I don't think it's anything more than normal."
Purpura said Pettitte would definitely make his start in Game 6, if it's necessary. . . .
Ensberg said Tuesday that he was happy to receive his home run ball from Game 2. Chicago fans in left field threw the ball back onto the field, allowing Ensberg to retrieve it. Asked if he was surprised that fans would throw back a home run ball, Ensberg said, "No, they hate us." . . .
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was given the Roberto Clemente Award, honoring excellence in community service, before Tuesday's game.
Garcia a Seer
White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia was still beaming Tuesday about his Game 2 prediction that Scott Podsednik would hit a game-winning home run seconds before Podsednik actually did just that.
"Yeah, I did it," he said.
Apparently Garcia uttered the words just after Podsednik returned from left field, where he had double-clutched and failed to throw out Houston's Chris Burke at the plate on Jose Vizcaino's game-tying base hit.
"I was talking to Mark Buehrle and said, 'Right now he's [mad] he didn't throw the guy out at home plate.' And then he got a big swing and hit the ball out of the park."
When asked to make any similar predictions, Garcia declined.
Guillen Talks NL Ball
Chicago Manager Ozzie Guillen got a chance to manage National League-style baseball Tuesday. And while he lamented that he would not have a designated hitter -- meaning Carl Everett was out of the lineup -- he said he didn't see much difference in what he'd have to do.
"The only thing is the double switch," he said. "You've got to use your bench a little bit more."
This was good news for Willie Harris, Timo Perez and Pablo Ozuna -- all of whom have had little playing time in the postseason. Ozuna's only appearance was a big one; he was inserted as a pinch runner for A.J. Pierzynski in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, stole second base and scored the winning run on Joe Crede's double.