The interleague series just completed in Seattle between the Marlins and Mariners was one of the most bizarre in the history of interleague play, and for that, the first person you can blame is Bono of the rock group U2.
The reason this series was being played in Seattle in the first place was that Bono was injured a year ago during rehearsals for U2's 360 Tour. Thus, a concert scheduled for the summer of 2010 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami was rescheduled for this past weekend. Someone forgot to tell MLB this when the 2011 schedule was released, and so they scheduled the Marlins and Mariners to play there, too.
The series was switched to Seattle, with the Marlins the "home" team and pitchers batting. These two teams are the farthest away by distance of any two major league cities -- 3,322 miles according to Google Maps, so it wasn't likely that many Marlins fans would make the trip.
However, Marlins management, in charge of ticket sales, decided to make this a "premium" series. Tickets were offered to Mariners season ticket holders, but at such high prices that few accepted; the teams drew 15,279 on Friday, 16,896 on Saturday and only 10,925 for a rare 7:10 PDT Sunday night start in Seattle that was made necessary by Safeco being rented out for a MLS Seattle Sounders game before this scheduling snafu was revealed. The average for the three games, 14,367, was well below the Mariners' season average of 22,074, and even below the Marlins' home average of 16,029.
Sunday night's game was not televised in Seattle, so only the few in the seats and Marlins fans watching well after 1 a.m. in South Florida got to see the wacky ending of this game.
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the 10th, the Mariners' Dustin Ackley led off with a double and went to third base on a medium-deep fly ball. Marlins manager Jack McKeon, up way past his bedtime, ordered reliever Steve Cishek to intentionally walk Carlos Peguero. Cishek has an odd sidearm motion and Ackley, watching the first two pitches sail a bit wider than most thrown on an intentional pass, took off when ball three sailed away from catcher John Buck. Buck's relay to Cishek was in time, but the ball got away from Cishek and Ackley scored what proved to be the winning run.
But that was only after Mariners closer Brandon League nailed down a save -- in the bottom of the 10th inning in his home park.
Teams have had scheduling snafus and other mishaps (falling concrete in Montreal in 1991, for example, or Hurricane Ike in Houston in 2008) move games from their home parks. But it's unlikely that any of these moved games had an ending as entertaining as Sunday night's in Seattle. Too bad hardly anyone saw it.