What in the world happened in Detroit on Wednesday night? The Tigers and Yankees were supposed to square off in game four of the American League Championship Series. If Detroit won it would be headed to the World Series and New York’s season would be over, so the stakes were rather high. First pitch was slated for 8:07 p.m. ET. So imagine my surprise when the clock struck 8:07 p.m. ET, no rain was falling, and yet no baseball was being played.
Of course the forecast indicated wet weather was imminent, but 70 minutes later still not a single drop of percipitation had fallen. Yet the teams never took the field and the game was postponed until this afternoon at 4:07 p.m. ET. As of 11 p.m. on Wednesday, according to weather.com, nothing more than a light drizzle had hit Comerica Park.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Cardinals and Giants were forced to endure a more than three-hour rain delay in game three of the NLCS, which the Cardinals won, 3-1.
Can someone, anyone, please explain to me why the Cards and Giants were forced to play when the forecast clearly called for rain to interrupt the game at some point during the afternoon, yet the Tigers and Yankees were not forced to do the same just three hours later?
Obviously the circumstances were not identical. The original forecast in St. Louis did not call for the wet weather to begin until around the time the fifth or sixth inning would normally get underway. The rain ended up holding off until the seventh. In New York, the forecast made it look like a certainty that it would begin raining by the third inning, and that it’d be pouring rain by the fifth or the sixth.
Still, you have to go by a set of universal rules. To me, it seems like baseball was just flying by the seat of its pants and kind of making its rules up as they went along on Wednesday. The policy should be much simpler than that. If it’s raining, don’t play, but if it’s not, you have to start the game. Period.
There may not be a huge competitive advantage gained by either side due to the postponement of game four until today and the elimination of tomorrow’s scheduled day off (although it does prevent the Yankees from getting the chance to start C.C. Sabbathia on three days rest in game seven if they can extend the series that far) but that does not make it any less ridiculous.
First of all, everyone knows weather forecasts are flawed. How many times have you looked at weather.com, seen they are calling for a 100 percent chance of rain at a certain point in their hourly forecast, only to have it not rain when that time rolls around? I saw that at least six times alone this summer. You do not determine whether or not to start a playoff baseball game based on a forecast.
Secondly, it’s not fair to the fans of Detroit. Sure everyone’s game four tickets will still be honored today, but not everyone is able to leave work early to go to a game that starts at four in the afternoon. So that means thousands of people who spent hundreds of dollars on their seats will either have to try and sell them with less than 20 hours of notice, or just give their seats away. Even if fans who have to work rather than go to an afternoon sporting event are able to get their money back on the secondary ticket market, they still were robbed of the opportunity of watching October baseball in person.
And why? To paraphrase the old Allen Iverson practice rant; Not for rain, for a forecast. We’re talking about a forecast? A forecast?
It makes no sense. But then again, that’s not a new phenomenon when it’s Major League Baseball that is making the decisions. At this point, you just expect the bizarre. Still, playing two series on the same day under two completely different set of rules is a new low. Even for Bud Selig.