Perfect storm led to post-midnight Indians restart
JUN 01, 2013 2:19p ET
CLEVELAND -- The Indians and Major League Baseball were caught in several unusual circumstances that forced Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays to resume after midnight, team president Mark Shapiro said Saturday.
“If any of us knew that we would resume play after midnight … we certainly would have done everything possible to cancel the game earlier,” Shapiro said before Saturday’s game started just a little more than 10 hours after Friday’s ended with the Indians losing 9-2.
Shapiro said the team felt “terrible” about what happened and advised fans who left before the game restarted to hold on to their ticket stubs.
“We played the game so there’s no legal obligation, but we are going to work to make some effort to address the fact that we feel terrible,” he said. “And we want to make it right to them and provide them with an alternative. We’re working on that now.”
Rain forced three delays that totaled nearly five hours: One hour and 57 minutes, 13 minutes and finally two hours and 39 minutes. The teams were on the field for three minutes between the second and third delays, as umpires struggled to read the weather patterns.
The decision to restart the game was in the hands of the umpires and MLB, though Shapiro said both teams were consulted and the situation felt “collaborative.”
The game finished at 2:53 a.m. and included perhaps the first post-1 a.m. Hot Dog race in team history.
The weather forecast the team and umpires were receiving kept saying the rain would break and there would be time to play. That combined with a poor forecast for Saturday led umpires to keep waiting.
“At that point in time the best four hours of the weekend looked like 10 p.m.-2 a.m (Friday night),” Shapiro said.
Internet weather sites showed a large blog (that’s a technical weather term) of rain over the area, but Shapiro said the team’s weather folks kept saying it would move and there would be a window to play. It didn’t, and the window kept getting later and later.
He added the team reached the point at which the wait had gone on long enough a couple times but “the weather forecast kept saying, ‘You’re fine to play, you’re fine to play.’”
In addition, the only off days the teams have that match are in August. The Indians play in California the day before one and the Rays are in the middle of a homestand on the other.
Those dates would have required a waiver from the Players Union, something that was not available Friday night.
The team pondered a doubleheader on Sunday, but feared a rainout Saturday would complicate things.
“We feel terrible about the type of circumstance for our fans,” Shapiro said. “That’s not what we’re looking to do here.”
When the game did start, the Indians deflated the situation further by giving up five immediate runs. Still, almost 4,000 fans stayed — and they were boisterous and into the game, which was noticed.
“Wasn't the outcome we wanted but just wanted to say thanks to all the fans who stayed til the end last night!!” Mike Aviles tweeted.
Even the opposition noticed.
“A sincere thanks to each and every fan that stuck around to watch that game!” Tampa’s Evan Longoria tweeted. “You all made it fun.”
Longoria was the subject of several taunts and teasing chants, which he obviously took in good stride.
He ended his tweet with #ClevelandRocks.