This may go down as the year they couldn't finish the World Series.
That's not a fact yet, but it's a possibility that should not be ignored.
Actually, there are lots more possibilities than there are facts in the wake of the San Francisco earthquake that postponed Game 3 of the Series between the Giants and the Oakland A's Tuesday.
One thing is certain, though: This is a first for baseball.
Never, since the World Series began in 1903, has the fall classic been delayed by an earthquake.
And if Commissioner Fay Vincent decides that this World Series is over, that, too, will be a first, because never has a Series been canceled or cut short, for any reason.
It has been delayed, but it has always been played, through wars and bad weather, in boom times and Depression. Whether scheduled for nine games or seven, the Series has gone on.
In 1904, there was no Series, but that one wasn't canceled. It simply wasn't played. The haughty New York Giants, champions of the National League, chose not to play the American League champion Boston Pilgrims, later to become the Red Sox.
The Giants said the American League was an inferior league and that was that, even though the Pilgrims had beaten the Pittsburgh Pirates in the '03 Series, the inaugural, five games to three.
But there has been a World Series every fall since.
This, though, may be the year that tradition gives way to higher considerations.
Candlestick Park, it would appear, is in no condition to be used by huge crowds of enthusiastic rooters. It was damaged in the quake. The Oakland Coliseum might have been damaged as well, although nobody is sure.
Even if both stadiums were deemed safe, the freeways in the Bay Area are more than slightly messed up. Would anyone be able to get to games?
Perhaps a better question is, would anyone want to go?
Further, is it proper that baseball games be played in an area where so many are so suddenly trying to deal with the loss of friends and relatives, where so many suffered heavy property losses, where the cities are trying to pull themselves back together?
The rest of the Series could be moved, probably. Well, maybe.
That possibility raises its own questions:
--Where should it be moved?
--Should there be a National League park and an American League Park, out of fairness?
--Or should it be only one park, for the sake of expediency?
Let's assume, for the moment, that Vincent rules out the Bay Area and decides to move the Series to Southern California, to Dodger Stadium. That would at least keep the Series in California, and there are no football games or other attractions being held there to get in the way.
But there are lots of other unanswered questions, besides those of propriety, most having to do with ticketing.
That could turn into a real nightmare.
Would the tickets bought for games in San Francisco and Oakland be honored? Would they have to be exchanged to make the seating come out right? Capacity at Candlestick Park is greater than at Dodger Stadium, which means there would be about 2,000 ticketed fans for each game with nowhere to sit. What would be done with them?
What about people who bought tickets to games in the Bay Area and, quite understandably, would not want to go to games here? Would there be a refund policy?
What if baseball simply decided to issue refunds on all remaining tickets sold to games at Candlestick or the Coliseum and started over again, with new Dodger Stadium tickets, sold first come, first served?
What if baseball decided that there was no answer to the ticket question but that, because of TV contracts, the games had to go on? Would the rest of the Series be played strictly as a television event, with only the players to keep themselves company in an otherwise empty stadium?
Sometime today, those questions should be answered.
And, all things considered, this may very well go down as the year they couldn't finish the World Series. Under the circumstances, it may be baseball's shining moment.