Rain, Rain, Go Away!
After having the start of their Thursday night game delayed almost an hour due to rain, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals thought they were going to finish the game without interruption. Mother nature, however, felt differently.
In the middle of the ninth inning in St. Louis, Joe West and his umpiring crew ordered both teams off of the field due to weather. The Royals were in the midst of attempting to cushion their 4-2 lead when the grounds crew brought out the tarp and the teams began playing the waiting game. Joe West was forced to make an interesting decision: a) he could suspend the game on the spot or b) he could go down into the locker room and wait it out; the veteran umpire chose the latter.
Since this was the last scheduled meeting between the two clubs and Rule 4.12(b)(4) of the Official Baseball Rules states that “any suspended game not completed prior to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season shall become a called game”, West could have easily suspended the game, at which point it would have become a called game.
The problem that faced West was that, by suspending and ultimately calling the game, he would cause the Cardinals to be victorious, even though Kansas City was winning by a pair of runs. According to the Official Baseball Rules, both teams will be given equal opportunities to bat, unless the home team is winning at the completion of the visiting team’s time at bat in the final inning. Since the Cards hadn’t had a chance to bat, by rule, should the game have been called, the score would revert back to the previously completed inning’s score of 2-1.
West made a decision that, in my opinion as a fan and as a fellow umpire, was the correct decision, given the surrounding circumstances.
Hopefully, St. Louis doesn’t end up missing out on a playoff spot because of this loss. I’m sure that, if that situation comes to fruition, we’ll be hearing all about how the umpires should have invoked rule 4.12(b)(4) and given the win to the Cardinals.
Thankfully, this situation didn’t involve the Nationals. If it did, we’d probably be hearing all how rain makes Bryce Harper get all teary-eyed, start reminiscing about the “good ol’ days on the farm” and unable to play baseball.
Crack open another beer and be thankful you aren’t responsible for making decisions like the one Joe West had to make on Thursday night; we all know that you’d pick the one that offered the better chance for an “adult beverage”, though I certainly wouldn’t blame you.
All rules, in full or part, are taken from the 2013 Official Rules of Baseball.
Let us know what you think of the rules in the comments below!
Bernard Brandt is AFRSports “Rule Guy,” and a working Umpire. He swears his vision is perfect.