ST. LOUIS — Game 6 of the World Series was postponed Wednesday because of a wet forecast, delaying the Texas Rangers’ bid to clinch their first championship.
Major League Baseball announced the decision about four-and-a-half hours before the Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals were set to play. At the time, no rain had fallen at Busch Stadium, but heavy precipitation was expected.
Texas leads the Series 3-2. Game 6 was rescheduled for Thursday night at 8:05 p.m. EDT. If Game 7 is necessary, it will be played Friday night.
“Because of the forecast, there was no reason to wait any longer,” said Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations.
Torre said he told managers Ron Washington of Texas and Tony La Russa of St. Louis on Tuesday that if the forecast didn’t change, baseball would postpone it early.
Rain was in “every forecast we had probably for the last three days,” Torre said at a news conference. “They were all consistent there was going to be rain during the game.”
Looking at Commissioner Bud Selig, Torre asked, “Do you want to play in rain?”
Colby Lewis had been set to start for Texas, with Jaime Garcia ready to go for the Cardinals.
If anything, the extra day may lead to more intrigue over who might pitch for St. Louis should the Series go to a Game 7 for the first time since 2002. Washington already has said Matt Harrison would start if the Series goes that far.
The forecast for Thursday was much better — clear enough with a game-time temperature in the low 50s.
Rain has hovered over the majors all year with more than 50 washouts, baseball’s highest total since 1997.
This was the first Series rainout since 2008 at Philadelphia. That year, Tampa Bay and the Phillies were tied in the sixth inning when rain and snow turned the field into a quagmire, forcing a suspension. It rained the next day too, and the game finally resumed two days later, with the Phillies taking the crown.
Because of the debate about how to handle that situation, MLB adopted a rule a few months later mandating that any postseason game stopped in progress would be resumed at the point of suspension, rather than being postponed and
Before that, the previous Series rainout came at Busch Stadium, when Game 4 between Detroit and the Cardinals was pushed back by a day.
A few hundred fans already were milling outside Busch Stadium when the Rangers-Cardinals game was called. The tarp was on the field at the time. Later, about a dozen St. Louis players came out to toss around balls in right field.
Bad weather has lingered throughout the big leagues since opening day. Even before that actually, as the Milwaukee Brewers and Reds worked out in snow flurries a day before their March 31 opener at Cincinnati.
Wicked weather intruded earlier in this postseason, too. So did the threat of storms.
A game in the AL championship series between Detroit and Texas was postponed for a day because of a dicey forecast. The players left Rangers Ballpark and went home — the rain, however, never came.
The opener of the AL playoff series between Detroit and New York was halted after one-and-a-half innings by showers that lasted all night. The game at Yankee Stadium was suspended and picked up the next day at the point when it was stopped.
The only other suspension in postseason history was that Rays-Phillies game in 2008.
Baseball began the playoffs a week earlier this year than last season, intending to have the World Series conclude before November. MLB also hoped the adjustment could help avoid a chilly finish for the championship. It was in the 40s and raw last week for Game 1.
It was in the 70s and clear at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. A perfect night to play, but it was a travel day for Texas and St. Louis. Washington was aware of the shaky forecast.
“If it’s possible we can play, of course we want to play. You don’t want to sit down. We’re here to play baseball,” he said Tuesday. “But if the forecast says that it’s going to be bad weather and we’re going to play and start and stop ... We want to make sure the conditions are correct, and if we have to wait a day, then we have to wait a day.”
Printed on Thursday, October 27, 2011 as: Wet forecast places Game 6 on hold