Major League Baseball saw its worst weather nightmare come true during Game 2 of the New York Yankees-Cleveland Indians wild-card series.
After delaying the game’s start for 43 minutes while waiting for the rain to arrive in Cleveland, MLB officials made the surprising decision to “play ball” despite what looked like an unfavorable forecast.
Before the full first inning was completed, that decision backfired.
The anticipated rainstorm, accompanied by high winds, moved through as Cleveland came to bat for the first time. The playing conditions were, in a word, miserable.
These conditions in Cleveland caused a rain delay: pic.twitter.com/Nr3vJklDpv
— ESPN (@espn) October 1, 2020
After Cleveland plated the game’s first run on back-to-back doubles by Cesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez, the umpires called for the tarp again.
Meanwhile, fans, writers and broadcasters alike called out MLB for botching the decision to start the game knowing that another delay was likely.
What an absolutely botched decision to start this game when they did. What a mess.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 1, 2020
He also noted that it was MLB's call and they didn't let the Cleveland people who know Cleveland weather make the decision
— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) October 1, 2020
MLB calls the weather-related shots in the postseason. About an hour ago, a Cleveland-based meteorologist said she expected rain to start at about 7:50ish. The game began at 7:50 after a 45-minute weather delay. https://t.co/6ZhnetK6Pg
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) October 1, 2020
It’s a questionable decision on many levels.
First and foremost, the players’ well being has to be taken into consideration. It’s a lot to ask a pitcher to warm up, pitch to several batters and then sit for an extended time while waiting for the weather to clear. If the cooling-off period goes on too long, pitchers are often shut down to protect them from hurting their arm.
In this case, the delay only lasted 32 minutes. That allowed both Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka and Indians starter Carlos Carrasco to continue.
Had the delay forced one or both pitchers to be removed, the competitive balance of the game and the three-game series may have been altered. Given what’s at stake, that’s a situation MLB should try to avoid at all costs.
This time, the league got it wrong. Here’s hoping there isn’t a next time.
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