DETROIT – Many people are wondering what went into the decision to cancel Sunday’s game between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants, and who gets to make the call.
Meteorologist Paul Gross, who still helps advise the Tigers on weather-related decisions, gave us some valuable insight on that process.
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Who’s involved in the decision process?
There are many different parties involved in an MLB game, but whose voice actually gets heard when these types of decisions are being made? Is it the Tigers? Both teams? MLB?
“For many games, before the first pitch, the decision is made by the home team’s general manager whether to start on time or delay the start,” Paul said. “After the first pitch, that decision becomes the umpire crew chief’s.”
But there are certain games in which the decision is turned over to MLB officials, and that was the case for Sunday’s Giants-Tigers game because the two teams weren’t scheduled to meet again this season.
Paul said it was MLB’s call to hold off on starting the game.
“The Tigers did not cancel the game,” he said.
Delaying start a ‘no-brainer’
Many fans were frustrated when the game didn’t start as scheduled at 1:10 p.m. because they looked out their window and didn’t see rain, but Paul said delaying the game was the right call.
“There was rain in the area, including a heavy storm downtown, around the scheduled start time, so delaying the start was a no-brainer,” he said.
Much more goes into these decisions than whether or not rain is physically falling from the sky at game time.
“A pitcher needs 30-40 minutes to warm up,” Paul said. “Furthermore, once the tarp comes off, the grounds crew needs to have the field chalked and ready to play. So it’s not just a matter of, ‘The rain ended, so let’s start.’”
Teams need a 45-minute window to get ready to play, and sometimes, another round of rain moves in between when that window starts and when the game can actually begin, which throws another wrench into the whole process.
“Something else that has to be factored in is that once a starter starts a game, if they end up having a lengthy delay, that starter is done for the day,” Paul said. “Depending on who’s on the mound, some managers don’t want to risk burning that guy’s start.”
So, as frustrating as it can be for fans who wait hours for a game to start, it’s obvious that this is a complex decision with many factors at play. Paul would know that as well as anybody.