The New York Yankees experienced torrential downpours during their contest last night against the Texas Rangers which intervened with a winning effort.
By Christian Kouroupakis
The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers participated in a contest while it was raining cats and dogs. For the majority of the game, conditions were intolerable and in no way, shape, or form should there have been a baseball game being played at Yankee Stadium last night.
Starting in the seventh inning, you could begin to see the shininess of puddles developing down the lines, on the warning track, and even in the infield. Fans who stayed, (AKA: the real troopers) huddled underneath the upper decks while players risked their health playing on a slip-in-slide for three hours.
Mother nature unleashed it’s wrath and had drenched the Bronx, but the umpiring crew hesitated to call on the tarp until the ninth inning after Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi asked that closer Aroldis Chapman use a rosin bag while the grounds crew worked on the field.
Then, out of all the times they could have done it, the crew delayed the game on the spot.
“I didn’t ask to stop the game,” Girardi told ESPN. “To me, the game should’ve been stopped earlier than that. We played in horrible conditions. I think you risk injury to players.”
If play had not been resumed last night, the Yankees would be celebrating a victory over the best team in the American League while sending a true message that they aren’t done quite yet. If only…
To make a long and frustrating story short, The Yankees surrendered their 6-5 lead at 2:44 in the morning following a 3-hour, 35-minute rain delay. They lost 9-6 in front of a remaining crowd of about, give or take, thirty.
So, who do we blame for this? New York has been dying for a win like this as they entered last night 12-19 against teams above .500 while attempting to climb over that same mark themselves. They were simply denied a win based on foolish management by either the umpires, major league baseball, or the grounds crew themselves.
For starters, the crew optioned to delay first pitch by 20 minutes out of concern of an impending rain shower which didn’t arrive. Yet, when the skies opened up while rain poured on the second largest borough in New York during the fifth inning and on, they played as if it were 90 degrees and sunny.
It’s also interesting to ponder if Chapman would have retired the side if he took the hill 20 minutes earlier. Of course, they are dictated by the umpires, the Yankees, and major league baseball on decisions like delays, cancellations, etc. but would it have been too much to ask for a: “hey, playing is a bad idea!”
Do we criticize the umpiring crew? It’s quite tricky to throw the blame in their direction as their job is to provide both teams with a gratifying opportunity, which is precisely what they did.
The game was close as the Rangers had the go-ahead run in Shin-Soo Choo at the plate. Therefore, keeping the game delayed until the rain cleared was rational judgment by the officiating crew.
“I think our intention was to finish that game,” crew chief Paul Nauert also told ESPN. “You’ve got to give both teams an equal, fair opportunity. We were going to wait as long as we could.”
Some could dispute that they should have suspended the contest and replayed the ninth inning prior to game two on Tuesday night in the Bronx. Sounds simple, fair, and reasonable, right?
Well, Major League Baseball thinks otherwise as rule 4.12 described last night’s pool party to be unrelated to the circumstances needed to suspend a game.
The only way a game can be suspended to be played the following day is if a curfew imposed by law is in effect, a predetermined time limit is in effect, artificial light failure or other mechanical problems occur, darkness, weather (but only if the game is stopped in the middle of an inning in which the visiting team has taken the lead), and if a regulation game had been called with the score tied.
So, field conditions and the risk baseball’s “product” is being put at is not even factored into the decision making of moving the game to a later date.
Additionally, the fact that they were sitting for three plus hours then demanded to get loose and sent back out to a slippery field, which is quite asinine, also fails to play as a factor.
“It is the rules,” Girardi told ESPN. “I think it should be looked at because it doesn’t make sense to me.”
In recent history, the league has made it’s greatest battle to preserve its player’s health by banishing home plate collisions and takeout slides in the wake of the Chase Utley incident last October. Now perhaps it’s time to look into revising this rule.
While it’s no physical altercation nor collision, conditions like the swamp Yankee Stadium was on Monday night compromised player safety along with the charisma and excitement of a baseball game. The roaring crowd of 30 didn’t help, either.
Yes, Kirby Yates still has to be able to make pitches in a key spot, but like the non-interference call back on Opening Day, Yankees’ baseball has brought another MLB flaw to light.
While the only thing they can do right now is complain about it, it’s not wrong to figure that the rulebook has robbed New York of what could have been an uplifting victory.