Mother Nature is clearly not a baseball fan.
How many times have you watched a Major League baseball game, only to have it interrupted by a rain delay? Both players and fans are then left with nothing to do but wait until the game is either resumed or called by the umpires. If a rain delay occurs when the home team is ahead after the visitors have batted in the top of the fifth, it’s an official game. However, what if rain causes suspension of play prior to the fifth inning? Everything that happened up to that point disappears. Therein lies the rub.
Longtime arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, both have powerhouse teams this year. They’re expected to battle it out until the end of the regular season to determine who finishes first in the division and earns a bye – with the runner-up forced to play another second-place finisher in a winner-take-all wild card game. Thus every game is crucial.
This takes me to a night game played in Baltimore on July 25 between the first place Red Sox and last place Orioles. Boston’s big sluggers hit three home runs and roared out to a 5-0 lead, with “the Birds” coming to bat in the bottom of the second. But then the umpires called for a rain delay that eventually became a postponement. It’s bad enough that greedy home teams, knowing in this case that the Sox can draw a big crowd despite how poorly the Orioles are playing, decide to let the umpires start a game that should have just been a rainout. But it’s also very unfair to make your fans have to sit through the awful weather waiting … and waiting … and waiting – in this case for over two-and-a-half hours.
For the home team, a huge break in what most likely would have been a comfortable win for the Sox. For the visitors, a very frustrating end to a rain-soaked series. The game will now be moved to August as part of a day-night doubleheader, starting from the beginning 0-0. Ridiculous.
Bottom line: This baseball rule is a joke – incredibly unfair. The game should begin from where it left off with the Sox leading 5-0 and the Orioles reeling. And yes, even though I’m a Sox fan, I’d say the same thing if the score was reversed. It’s a bad rule. Period.
Just think about it. What if the Sox lose the division by just one game? What if Mookie Betts, whose three-run homer in the game is now erased, loses a batting title by a point or J.D. Martinez – who belted his 32nd round-tripper – is edged out for the home run title?
The process for determining if/when a game is begun or simply postponed must also come under scrutiny as it wrecks havoc on a team’s pitching staff. In the case of Wednesday’s game, Sox No. 2 starter David Price essentially “wasted a start” – throwing just 14 pitches. Rainswept conditions in Baltimore should not result in games being started despite obviously unplayable weather. The Orioles and their management did the fans and the Sox a great disservice in this three-game series, and the Sox should not forget it – especially if they do lose by just a game to the Yankees.
Summed up Sox manager Alex Cora: “I’m annoyed about the whole three-game series.”
Finally, while we’re on the subject of proposed baseball rule changes, here’s another one for you: Stop allowing players to dive into the first base bag trying to get a hit. That decision cost the Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez, one of their top starting pitchers (11-3 record). On July 14, Rodriguez was taking a throw and stepping on first base when the Toronto Blue Jays’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. decided to become a human roadblock by diving into the bag – causing a collision that now has the Sox southpaw in a walking boot