It was opposite day at AT&T Park on Tuesday night. The San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds switched places in the second game of a doubleheader because of issues rescheduling a rained-out game from earlier this season at Great American Ball Park in Cincy. The Giants wore road grays at home and batted first, as the visiting team usually does. The Reds wore their home uniforms (or at least white pants with red alternate jerseys) and had the advantage of getting last ups at the plate.
The Reds came to bat in the ninth inning trying to become the first team ever to get a walkoff victory on the road. But Giants closer Sergio Romo shut them down and spared everybody further awkward confusion in a 5-3 victory for San Francisco — which also happened to be the 1,500th career win for manager Bruce Bochy.
Perhaps the road grays made a difference for the Giants, because Reds had outscored them 34-6 in sweeping the first five games of the season series, including a 9-3 beating in Game 1 on Tuesday afternoon, when both sides wore their usual uniforms.
It must have been awkward in person, but it also made for strange TV watching, as you had to continually remind yourself which team was the home team. Bewildering scenarios came to mind like, "Why is Manny Parra pitching the ninth with a two-run lead for the Reds? Where's Aroldis Chapman? ... Oh, wait. The Giants are leading. And it's the top of the ninth, not the bottom."
Here's the kicker, too, with Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area referring to Giants pitcher Barry Zito in this tweet:
Zito won't get the W tonight. But it wouldn't have counted as a road win anyway, officially. This is a home game for Giants in the stats.
— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 24, 2013
"A home game for the Giants in the stats," even though they played as the road team. OK. So the Giants will get 82 home games this season, and the Reds 80, with everyone else getting 81 (assuming every game on the schedule is played). It's very upsetting for this stat to not be uniform! So to speak.
It was common sense for the Giants and Reds to agree to play the game in San Francisco, however. It saved everybody involved two cross-country plane rides on some future day off. And it makes sense that Major League Baseball would try to preserve an aspect of home-field advantage for the Reds by giving them the last at-bat.
The only thing that really lacks sense is making the Giants play in the road uniforms. What difference does the laundry make? MLB is very rigid about the uniforms. It's too much like the NFL in that regard. Unbalanced home-road schedules, OK. But dress correctly for the occasion!