Suspended

The Yanks/Orioles game was suspended in the top of the eighth, with the Yankees having taken a lead with a four-spot, and Jeter on second base. It will be resumed where it left off before their next meeting July 27.

I’d never seen this before; I thought either a game was official, or it wasn’t. So I read the rules (4.11-4.12) regarding these things, and it seems that:

A game can either be called (stopped), or suspended (resumed later). Under certain conditions, a called game becomes a suspended game, which is what happened last night. And under other circumstances, a suspended game becomes a called game.

Called games:

A called game, if fewer than 5 innings played (or 4.5 with the home team in the lead), is nullified, with all stats tossed, and has to be replayed.

If at least 5 innings have been played when the game is called, then the game is complete and the score at that point stands, unless:

– The game is called mid-inning, and the visiting team has tied or taken the lead in that inning, and the home team hasn’t tied or retaken the lead; the game is suspended. (This is what happened last night.)

– The game is called because of weather when the game is tied (except in the above case); the game is a “tie game” and has to be replayed. (The rules make the distinction between a “tie game” and a “no game”, which is fewer than 5 innings; I imagine in a “tie game” the stats stand, whereas in a “no game” they definitely do not.)

Suspended games:

A suspension is a game to be resumed before the start of the next scheduled game in the same location, unless there isn’t one, in which case it’s the next scheduled game at the opposing location, unless there isn’t one, in which case the game is called.

Suspensions can be caused for specific reasons which don’t usually apply to MLB play (except weather). Of these:

– Darkness or mechanical failure can impose a suspension at any time during the game.

– Legal curfew, league-imposed time limit, or weather require that the game be played at least 5 innings (same as with called games) in order to be suspended; otherwise it’s called as a “no game”.

– Weather is only grounds for suspending (rather than calling) a game in the specific circumstances described above.

Which brings me to my question: WTF is up with these crazy rules? I realize they’re designed to create predictability around unpredictable situations, but:

– What’s the rationale behind requiring a tie game to be entirely replayed, rather than suspended?

– What’s the rationale behind not suspending a game if it’s called in the first five innings for weather, nullifying anything that had been accomplished so far? But meanwhile it’s ok to suspend for darkness or mechanical failure? What’s the difference? Why should any portion of a played game be thrown out?

– What does it mean if a suspended game becomes a called game because the teams don’t play each other again? Does the score stand, even if the visitor took the lead and the home team didn’t have a chance to respond? That would seem to be the case, but the rules don’t specify. Wouldn’t it be better to nullify the whole game in that case, or declare the score to be whatever it was prior to the start of the inning in which the game was called?

– And, most importantly, is Yahoo going to give last nights stats to my team this week, or when the game is completed?

Oh, baseball rules.

10 comments… add one

  • continuation of suspended games is a new rule put in place this year

    sam YF June 29, 2007, 9:13 am
  • Huh, interesting. That would explain why I’d never heard of it before. You’d think any of the articles describing last night’s game might have mentioned that. Was there a specific incident last year that prompted them to do so, such as they way they modified the dropped-catch-on-strike-three rule after the 2005 ALCS?
    And, as an aside, who’s the “they”? Is there some baseball overlord committee who determines these things? Who’s on it?

    Ivan X (AngelsFan) June 29, 2007, 9:23 am
  • Ok, so a little research led me to discover that a bunch of rule changes were implemented this year, the first since 1996. They’re here: http://mlb.mlb.com/pressbox/downloads/y2007/rule_changes_021607.pdf
    The rules I were looking at were pre-2007. However, they still would have applied to what happened last night, in which the Yanks took the lead and then the game was called before the inning finished. What’s new this year is that tie games of at least 5 innings are now suspended rather than called, meaning they can be resumed rather than replayed, which only makes sense (and addresses my first WTF question above).
    The rules also now clarify what happens if a game that should be suspended can’t be because the teams don’t meet again: the present score stands, even if the home team didn’t have a chance to come back in the inning in which the vistor took the lead. (Doesn’t seem entirely fair, but whatever — it’s rare enough that perhaps it compensates for home field advantage in an inoffensive way.) If the score was a tie, then it’s an official tie game in which the stats stand, and it needs to be replayed unless the replay is determined unnecessary. So that takes care of gripe #3.
    And, indeed there is a rule committee: it is made up of MLB officials, team GM’s and owners, a player (Rod Carew), an ump (Larry Young), and a minor league GM.
    I still don’t get why a game can’t be suspended before 5 innings, but at least these new rules make a little more sense.

    Ivan X June 29, 2007, 10:21 am
  • I actually think its a really good change. Its to correct for the situations where a team is awarded a win in an incomplete game. Under the old rules, last night’s game would have reverted to the score of the last completed inning and thus end with the Orioles winning. That certainly wasn’t fair just as awarding the yankees a win without giving the O’s a chance to respond wouldnt have been fair either. There have already been, by my count, two “continued” games this year and while not ideal I think its the best way to deal with this type of situation.

    sam YF June 29, 2007, 10:32 am
  • Basically, this wholr situation about sums up the Yanks’ season in a nutshell, doesn’t it?
    Even when they’re winning, they can’t win.

    Paul SF June 29, 2007, 10:58 am
  • I wish I could spell right the first time. :-P

    Paul SF June 29, 2007, 10:59 am
  • I wonder of the stats count for yesterday for fantasy..

    Lar June 29, 2007, 3:28 pm
  • Can someone please tell me why there is not a one rex sox fan in this all star game ad???
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoMDKLFKEuk
    Bias much?

    rian June 29, 2007, 3:34 pm
  • Sam, are you sure that’s true under the old rules? My reading of the 1996-2006 rules (at baseball-alamanac.com) seem to state pretty clearly that Thursday night’s game would have been suspended, not reverted to the score of the previous complete inning as you suggest. There’s nothing in those rules (at least that section of those rules) that suggest ignoring the final fraction of an inning; they specify that a game under Thursday night’s circumstances should be suspended.
    The new rules change what happens if the game is a tie when it is called; it is now suspended (if the teams meet again), rather than replayed as it would have been last year.

    AngelsFan June 30, 2007, 6:10 pm
  • Additional thought: the old rules (last year’s rules) don’t specify what exactly should happen if a game is called mid-inning after the visitor has tied or taken the lead, and the teams don’t meet again. They only say the game should be “called” rather than “suspended” in that case.
    It’s possible that when this has happened before, they’ve thrown out the fractional portion of the inning, since the rules don’t specifically advise what to do, and so if this were the Yanks/O’s last meeting this year, then it might have been as you said.
    One of the specific changes in the new rules is that they explicitly say that the score as it stands, including the incomplete inning, becomes the final score.
    I agree with you that the new rules are an improvement.

    AngelsFan June 30, 2007, 6:17 pm

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