Tampa Bay Rays
Rays-Royals game postponed by rain, snow
KANSAS CITY, Mo - Thursday afternoon felt a lot like a brutally cold and wet night in Philadelphia more than five years ago to those members of the Tampa Bay Rays who suffered through Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.
There were rain and near-freezing temperatures.
The Rays wore ski masks and those Elmer Fudd caps with the ear flaps. It was rumored that Kelly Johnson wore two pairs of pants.
Missing from Thursday's game was the adrenaline rush of a World Series game.
Missing from Game 5 was snow, and that's what eventually led to the cancellation of Thursday's game with the Kansas City Royals with the Royals leading 1-0 and coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth inning.
After a 2-hour, 20-minute delay when the rain turned into snow, head umpire Ted Barrett informed Rays manager Joe Maddon that they had lost the field.
“That was the phrase that he used, and I think he was absolutely correct,” Maddon said. “They did the best they possibly could, and it was not going to get any better, and I think they did the right thing.”
A makeup date has not been set. The teams share three mutual off days — June 3, July 29 and Aug. 26.
“As long as we're not playing in weather like this, I don't care when we play,” Evan Longoria said.
The game had to go at least 4 1/2 innings to be an official game, so the Royals were just three outs away from a win and a series sweep. The game will start over when the teams meet. Stats from Thursday's game do not count.
Thursday's forecast was miserable. Rain mixing with snow was predicted for mid-afternoon. It was 41 degrees at first pitch with a wind chill of 32.
It started raining in the top of the first inning.
“It was terrible. It was freezing. It was raining and it was windy,” Desmond Jennings said. “I don't even know what to compare that to.”
Longoria and Maddon compared it to the Game 5, which was halted in the middle of the sixth inning and resumed two days later.
“It was really similar, and actually as it kept wearing on it was eerily similar to the night in Philadelphia, the way the rain was coming down, how cold it got, the field, you could see a shine on the top of the skin of the infield,” Maddon said. “I was waiting for the rooster tail and the mud to be kicked up when someone was running. It was pretty close.”
Rays starter Roberto Hernandez allowed a run on four hits. Former Ray Elliot Johnson scored that run in the third inning when he singled, stole second and came home on a ground ball that slid in the muddy infield under the glove of Ben Zobrist, who was playing second base.
“The ball that got by Zo I believe would not have gone by him under normal conditions,” Maddon said. “That ball just skidded.”
Given the forecast, Maddon said the game should never have started.
“It was an ill-conceived idea from the beginning,” Maddon said.
As the playing conditions deteriorated, the chance for injury increased.
“You don't want to win the battle and lose the war right there,” Maddon said. “If you lose someone significant you would really be upset with yourself.”
Longoria said he and Barrett, who was umpiring third base, began talking about the playing conditions during the second inning.
“Finally, I told him it's not getting any better out here. It was like an ice skating rink,” Longoria said. “At that point you kind of have to worry about every step you're going to take, and then you have to throw a wet ball across (the infield). All of the above, but it (stunk). It (stunk) for lack of a better term.”