WASHINGTON — The decision to play Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. contest between the Mets and the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park ultimately proved to be the wrong one. The game was suspended in the top of the third and an extra lengthy delay came a few minutes shy of four hours.
The two teams will resume action Sunday as a split doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for 12:35 and the second for 4:35. Fans who had tickets for the first game will only be able to use them for the continuation of the contest. Max Scherzer will pitch the second game but the Mets have not yet named a starter for the first game.
Since the two teams will resume the game with seven innings to play, the 27th man will only be allowed for the second game.
“We’ve got one, we just don’t know who it is yet,” said manager Buck Showalter. “We’ve got the 27th guy in Game 2 and we’re trying to sort through a lot.”
The home team decides whether or not to start the game, but decisions to continue are made in cooperation with the league. The Mets fell behind 1-0 in the first inning after left-hander Joey Lucchesi struggled to grip the ball. There was a conference on the mound after Lucchesi walked Alex Call to put two on with two outs and a new rosin bag was brought out by the umpiring crew.
The rain steadily picked up in the second inning and by the end of it, there were visible puddles on the field. Pete Alonso slipped at first base a few times and Daniel Vogelbach struggled to go from first to third on a Michael Perez double. Vogelbach managed to keep his footing while rounding second, but it was clearly a challenge, and the game was suspended after Perez reached second at 4:43 p.m.
Had the tarp not been taken off an hour before the game, the field conditions might have been playable later.
“They told us to play and we played,” Showalter said. “The weather report was that we thought we would be able to get it in and the weather changed.”
Several fans remained in attendance throughout the delay, booing the groundskeepers, the advertisements on the scoreboard and the suspension of alcohol sales. They had plenty to be angry with considering the Nationals did not offer any updates and if fans leave the ballpark they aren’t allowed back in for the resumption of the game.
At 7 p.m., the tarp was removed from the field. The Nationals Park grounds crew applied diamond dry for nearly an hour starting at 7:20. Showalter and Washington manager Dave Martinez both came out to conference with the umpires and check the field conditions, but all involved deemed it unplayable.
“This is a good field and a good facility with a great grounds crew. They have a great reputation,” Showalter said. “They tried everything to get it playable but there is a safety issue to get it there. I feel bad for the fans.”
Finally, three hours and 55 minutes later, the decision was made not to play and the fans were given notice.
The SNY broadcast went live again shortly before the announcement was made. Keith Hernandez called the delay “unconscionable.”
It’s an embarrassing look for MLB and for the Nationals, who offered their fans nothing other than a chance to watch the rest of the game Sunday.
Source: Berkshire mont