Mother Nature has a spitter, too

2-day forecast says first Series rainout since '96 is just start

October 26, 2006|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun Reporter

ST. LOUIS -- For the first time since 1996, and for only the second time in 20 years, a World Series game has been rained out.

After a steady drizzle for most of last night, and no clear indication it would stop, Major League Baseball decided to postpone Game 4 of the World Series until tonight.

Or at least that is the hope. Heavy rain is being forecast for the next two days, as well.

"Well, they're going to be dicey," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations. "[Today] there is about a 70 percent chance of rain. It's going to be light rain. We don't know whether that rain will linger like it did. ... . Unfortunately, Friday's forecast is pretty bad also. We could get a soaking, as much as 2 1/2 inches."

Tonight's plan is for the regularly scheduled starters, the St. Louis Cardinals' Jeff Suppan and Detroit Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman, to pitch, with Game 5 being played on tomorrow's scheduled off day.

Detroit's Justin Verlander would start, but Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he still is undecided whether rookie Anthony Reyes or veteran Jeff Weaver would pitch. Weaver, who pitched Game 2 on Sunday, would be on regular rest, so the speculation is that Reyes would likely be skipped and moved to the bullpen.

But La Russa said that still is under discussion.

If games 4 and 5 are played tonight and tomorrow, respectively, then the Series would move to Detroit for Saturday's regularly scheduled game - if needed.

But if either game here is postponed, Solomon said, the schedule might have to be rearranged further.

"I'm not going to make a decision on that, because I hopefully won't have to worry about that day being gone," he said.

The last time a World Series game was postponed was Oct. 19, 1996, Game 1 between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees in the Bronx. Before that, the New York Mets had to postpone Game 7 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Shea Stadium.

The last time a series of games was canceled was in 1989, when a Northern California earthquake suspended play between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics for 10 days.

La Russa was manager of the A's at that time. He said, at this point, he's not worried about the delay.

"It's fine, I don't think the players wanted to play in this stuff," La Russa said. "This wouldn't have been a baseball game, it would have been survival."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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