Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Book Has a Wrinkle

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule Book Has a Wrinkle

Article excerpt

Had the roles been reversed Thursday night and it was the Cardinals, not the Kansas City Royals, about to get slapped with a rulebook loss because of a rainstorm, manager Mike Matheny knows the lengths he would have gone to protect a victory.

A 3 a.m. restart time would be easier to stomach with a lead.

"If I was in the other dugout I would be out there with waders on trying to finish the game," Matheny said. "I understand that (urge) to win. We were stuck in a tough spot. We certainly ended up on the short end of that and we're going to be paying for it for a couple days here. There must be a bigger reward out there that I don't see."

The Cards and Royals stayed at Busch Stadium early into Friday morning with only six outs remaining in a game KC led 4-2. The game finished at 3:14 a.m. , eight hours after it was scheduled to start. An hour rain delay postponed the start of the game. A torrential downpour caused a 4:32 delay that started at 10:32 p.m.

But it was a rule that kept both teams at the ballpark.

New to the Major League Baseball rulebook this yera is a clarification of Rule 4.12 (b) (4), a clause that governs one specific kind of suspended game, one when a team goes ahead in the top of an inning before the other one has a chance to bat.

In most situations, a game such as Thursday's would have been suspended and finished on another day. If the storm had come on Wednesday night, that would have been the situation and both teams would have been excused before midnight and finished play before their regularly-scheduled game Thursday.

But because Thursday was the final game scheduled between the interleague rivals for this season the rulebook had a wrinkle. If the game was suspended it would revert to the previous complete inning, when the Cardinals led 2-1. The Royals would have been nailed with their ninth consecutive loss despite leading on the scoreboard.

"The way the rule reads, had it ended as a suspended game, it would have reverted back and the Cardinals would have been victors because they were ahead at the end of the previous inning," crew chief Joe West said after the completion of the game. "In all cases when it's the last trip in (for a team), the umpires make every effort to get the game played in its entirety so that the game itself determines the outcome."

West, the Cardinals, and executives with the Kansas City Royals remained in touch with Major League Baseball officials throughout the evening. West said he was willing to wait longer than the 3:04 a.m. restart time if it was necessary to get the game in.

The later the night lasted, however, the deeper the concerns.

The Royals had a flight waiting to take them to a series in Texas. The umpires had a limousine waiting to drive them to Chicago for an afternoon game at Wrigley Field, which they officiated without issue. …

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