I can’t stand rained out baseball games. I hated them as a player growing up and get frustrated by them as a spectator. Both New York baseball teams were rained out this past Sunday. Ugh. While I understand why we have to call games because of rain, I know there are plenty of fans out there that lack an understanding of why rain outs even exist.
Hey, they play football in rain, sleet and snow. Are baseball players not as “tough”? Are they afraid of getting wet? Does water cause baseball players to melt?
All joking aside, there are some very good reasons for rain outs. The most obvious reason would be player safety. Baseball is a game of precision. Not to say that precision doesn’t come into play during football games. It does. However, in baseball pinpoint precision is critical. The negative impact of a wet football is usually limited to a fumble or incomplete pass. A hard to grip, wet baseball can inflict the same damage as a blunt instrument. When a pitcher is throwing 90 mph without any consistent control over his location, the results to a batter could be potentially career threatening, or even fatal.
Too dramatic? Well, lets take a minute to consider the impact on the duration of games. In a football game rainy conditions would most likely result in a change of offensive strategy. They’d simply throw the ball less. Since baseball is the only major sport where the defense controls the ball, the pitcher has much less flexibility in what he can do. He has to keep throwing until he gets three outs. If he has less control, he’s more likely to take velocity off his pitches and therefore likely give up more runs. On the offensive side, there could potentially be some visibility issues for the hitter but for the for the most part, the hitter is not effected as much as the pitcher. Hitting does not become that much more difficult in the rain and runners get to run on dirt base paths (as opposed to fielders who are trying to keep their footing on wet grass). Once again, this creates an advantage for hitters. Combine all this with the fact that baseball games are not dictated by a game clock, you’re potentially setting yourself up for some excruciatingly long games (as if Yankees/ Red Sox games weren’t already long enough).
So we continue to endure the long standing concept of rain delays in baseball. What about domes you ask? Different conversation for a different week.
“Now there’s three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain.”