Ohtani's Start Scratched As Weather Continues To Wreak Havoc On MLB
MLB postponed yesterday's Angels-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium after "initially rejecting" the Royals’ request, causing several players to wonder "whether they had to play simply because" Angels P Shohei Ohtani was scheduled to start in front of a national TV audience on Jackie Robinson Day, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. The game was called 25 minutes "before Shohei Time." Nightengale asks, "Can you imagine MLB trying to explain itself if Ohtani had injured himself pitching in the 35-degree weather with a 21-degree wind-chill?" (USA TODAY, 4/16). In K.C., Pete Grathoff writes the late timing of the cancellation bothered fans "who trekked to Kauffman Stadium." Royals Senior VP/Baseball Operations & GM Dayton Moore said that both teams early in the day "felt it was too cold to play," but MLB "made it clear they wanted us to do all we could to play." Moore: "Then we got a call from (MLB), and the word was if you feel the weather is too cold, that it’s going to hinder play and put athletes at risk, we’ll find a mutual day to make up the game. I wish we could have made the call earlier" (K.C. STAR, 4/16).
WHAT'S COLDER THAN BEING COLD? In Chicago, Brian Sandalow writes Cubs manager Joe Maddon had "no problems with the decision to postpone" yesterday's Braves-Cubs game due to frigid weather, one day after he voiced his displeasure with conditions in the team's Saturday game. Maddon said, "It’s just the right thing to do. It’s not about just getting games in. You want to be able to play the game on a major-league caliber, championship-caliber level" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/16). Maddon said after his team rallied Saturday for a 14-10 victory at Wrigley Field, “The game should really not have been played. ... Those were the worst elements I’ve ever participated in a baseball game in" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/16). In Chicago, Paul Sullivan writes the decision to play Saturday's game was "in the hands of the Cubs, meaning any finger-pointing should be directed at President of Business Operations Crane Kenney, who makes the final call after discussions with the baseball operations department." However, MLB officials also have to "approve all postponements and strongly encourage teams to play unless it’s impossible." Sullivan: "Save one finger for them as well. Plenty of finger-pointing to go around" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/16). ESPN's John Anderson noted the announced attendance for Saturday's game was 36,788, which is "as believable as saying there were a billion people at the game." Anderson: "Really, why was anybody there? Thirty-eight degrees, constant drizzle, 25-mile-an-hour wind. Sitting out in that weather doesn't make you a fan, it makes you a popsicle. When did baseball become penance?" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 4/15).
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS: USA TODAY's Nightengale notes the cancellation of today's Angels-Red Sox Patriots Day game is the 22nd weather-related postponement this season, with six alone coming yesterday. That is the "second-most postponements MLB has ever had through April" since '00, and the month is "only half over." The Twins "had their entire weekend series" with the White Sox "wiped out from snow, already leaving them with five postponements in just the first two weeks." While "no one is blaming anyone for baseball’s cruel spring," if the CBA "already wasn’t badly flawed for the players, they now have to live with the fact that the union bargained for four extra days of rest during the season." In an effort to "avoid playing games in November," MLB started the season on March 29." Nightengale: "If nothing else in the next CBA, it’s time for the union and MLB to negotiate weather conditions in which games can be played. How about not starting games when the temperature is under 40 degrees?" (USA TODAY, 4/16). The AP's Jay Cohen noted the MLB season now "spans 187 days, instead of 183," but that extra room to maneuver is already "taking a hit." The Cubs' game against the Braves "was rescheduled for May 14, creating a stretch of 11 games in 10 days for the Cubs and 16 straight games for the Braves without an off day." The Indians play 18 games "in three cities over 17 days after its weekend against Toronto was rescheduled for a traditional doubleheader on May 3." The Yankees also "had a nine-game, three-city trip turn into 11 games and four cities when they were rescheduled for a doubleheader June 4" in Detroit against the Tigers (AP, 4/15).