Opinion: MLB can’t have any more foul-ups like the Yankees rain delay in Cleveland

MLB: Wild Card-New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
Sep 30

All Major League Baseball had to do was wait 45 minutes for the storm to pass.

New York Yankees fans around the globe had their proverbial (and possibly literal) pitchforks and torches ready after an awfully mishandled rain delay scenario – one which played a role in Masahiro Tanaka surrendering four first inning runs to the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night.

It all started when the MLB and the evening’s officiating crew opted to start the ballgame after a 50 plus minute delay despite knowledge of another storm system heading towards Progressive Field.

Unable to get nine, or even one full inning in before the heavy stuff came down, Tanaka and the Yankees fielders were subject to play through the wind-whipping downpour before a second delay was called obviously too late.

Following the Bombers’ 10-9 Wild Card clinching win, Tanaka described the conditions as being “extremely bad,” as he shook his head sideways in the stadium’s press room. 

“You get the ball from the umpire and it’s already soaking wet, so you’re not really able to throw in that type of situation,” he said.

Making matter worse, a steady flow of rain was still coming down when the MLB elected to restart play nearly a half hour later.

“But just looking back right now it was kind of a crazy situation,” Tanaka added.

However, that botched scenario could have ended worse than just Cleveland’s unsustainable lead – it put both teams at a very unnecessary COVID-19 risk, just days before traveling to San Diego and joining that postseason bubble.

One doesn’t need an MD to speculate that playing baseball in soaking and frigid rain, followed by stopping to sit in sopping wet uniforms that likely feel like wet blankets for thirty minutes, only to then resume play as the sky still pours down, would weaken even the healthiest immune system.

One would also hope that such an outcome would be preemptively considered by the MLB, influencing a decision to further delay things, evading an unneeded loose end which could be the fatal blow to playoff baseball in 2020.

Just imagine that harrowing scenario for a second: a member of the Yankees succumbs to Coronavirus after playing in Wednesday’s foolhardy circumstances, causing an outbreak within the San Diego bubble and forcing the season to prematurely shut down in the most disappointing way.

While that is a doomsday case, unfortunately that or a variation of those events could be all too real as similar outcomes have been shown by both the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. 

What if the Yankees can’t bring Tanaka or other players into the bubble because they got sick playing in an absurd turn of events? Then what, just play ball and again improvise in the ugliest manner?

Adding insult to injury, the choice to play in said deluge felt incredibly ratings driven – that the MLB would rather punch in a primetime game at all costs before the NBA finals or west coast Dodgers & Brewers matchup reached full swing.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that he wished the entire situation could have been avoided, saying “that was a little frustrating obviously, felt for Masa too to have to go out in that kind of conditions.” 

“It got a little bit ugly there for a few minutes and probably hurt us for a bit.”

Hopefully, things do not go south as a result of such a boneheaded miscue that in reality was a force of employees to work in a risky environment; though, if problems do arise in the upcoming days then changes at the MLB’s executive level are obligatory due to one error after another.

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