Washington Nationals: MLB completely mishandle Friday postponement

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 7: The grounds crew pulls the tarp onto the field during a rain delay of the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs game at Nationals Park on September 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 7: The grounds crew pulls the tarp onto the field during a rain delay of the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs game at Nationals Park on September 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs had their Friday matchup postponed. MLB had the final say on the postponement and they got it horribly wrong.

On Friday, the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs were set to square off in the second game of their weekend series. The game started after an hour and 20-minute rain delay but the teams departed again before they finished the top of the second inning.

This delay lasted three hours before the decision was made to postpone the game and make it up at 3:05 pm Saturday. As this was the last time that the Cubs visit Nats Park this year, all game start and postponement decisions were solely in the hands of MLB officials, instead of the hosts.

It’s understandable that MLB wanted to get the game played on Friday with a poor weather forecast for the rest of the weekend. But the way that they handled the whole situation was completely ridiculous, leaving all involved morethan a little ticked off.

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The forecast for Friday played out pretty much as expected, with the rain stopping as the clock almost struck midnight. So it’s not quite clear what MLB saw that made them think they could get the game played, in a safe manner on Friday.

It’s even more puzzling that they waited until nearly midnight to postpone the game. It was questionable whether the game should even have started given the short window the teans had between rain delays.

However, even after they did squeeze almost an inning and a half in, MLB only proceeded to make things worse. Seemingly, they were happy for the teams to play until at least 2:30 am, but suddenly a finish around 3 am was the final straw? That would be some bizarre logic.

There was a time, at around 11 pm, where the umpires asked the grounds crew to work on the field. This seemed like an indicator that they were set to play the rest of the game in the early hours of Saturday morning. But not long after this, the decision to postpone the game was announced.

All in all, the postponement was at least the right call rather than trying to squeeze the game in. The player’s safety in situations like this should be top priority, and if they had to play on a soaked field at 2:30, there would’ve been huge question marks. It’s the time it took to make the decision to postpone the game that’s completely unacceptable.

The other option that probably should’ve been factored into an earlier decision, is that the two teams could’ve had the game set as a possible “if necessary” game at the end of the year. So if they couldn’t fit in all three remaining games in the series, then they would tentatively schedule a game for October 1st. Then this game would only be played if it had any playoff implications at all.

You may remember the Nationals actually had one of these games in 2011, that never ended up being played. That season they finished 80-81 as the game against the LA Dodgers that was originally scheduled for September 8th. It was never played given it didn’t have any playoff implications in the end.

This scenario may still be in MLB’s back-pocket with torrential rain forecast for Sunday’s series finale. But that shouldn’t have affected their decision for Friday given an ok forecast for Saturday and player’s safety being paramount.

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The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals now have to try and play three games in two days, with rain forecast on both days. The postponement does rob fans of a Max Scherzer v Cole Hamels rematch as they will now go in separate parts of the doubleheader.

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