As I said yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles lead Washington 5-2 with one out and two men on in the top of the sixth. That would be yesterday’s game, which is suspended. The Birds now have to wait in suspense. They’re just held in animated suspense.
However the O’s know when said suspense will end; that would be Friday when Washington comes to Camden Yards for their previously scheduled series. The game will be completed at some point prior to the regularly-scheduled 7:35 game. Washington will bat last in the completion of the first game, and thus be the home team. (Once that’s completed, the Orioles of course retain their home team status.)
This sounds unfair to a degree. Because the Orioles obviously were winning the game when it was suspended. And had the Washington grounds crew handled their duties properly in terms of getting the tarp out and covering the field, it would have probably been a thirty minute delay and the game would have been completed.
However the fact is that by the letter of the law, it was handled properly. MLB Rule 7.02(a) states:
“Light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home club (e.g., a retractable roof, a tarpaulin, or other water removal equipment)”
Obviously this situation falls under the realm of the tarpaulin (tarp). However it does feel just a little jaded in this case. Overall, this is a good rule. However I don’t think it properly takes into account the potential of the home team being part of the problem. The Nationals’ grounds crew indubitably didn’t sabotage the field on purpose (hoping to get the game suspended and perhaps helping the Nationals). But their actions certainly were a big cause as to why the game was suspended.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was semi-coy with his comments after the “game” (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNSports):
So now I know. Not being able to get the tarp on the field. I guess it’s a recent rule. I’ve never been a part of something like this, so I didn’t know.
I guess what I’m saying, and what Hyde would appreciate, is perhaps in a case like that the game could be considered official. Something along the lines of if in the assessment of the umpire/league the suspension was caused by the actions of one team, the game is considered official. Yes, a clause like that would have given the O’s the win yesterday.
The issue with that however would be that when you leave something up to someone else’s “discretion,” you’re almost asking for trouble. However one way or the other, the Orioles are kind of falling through the cracks of justice in this one. And they’re being held in suspense.