Postponements a postseason reality
Saturday's snowout new twist to old story in baseball
DENVER -- Saturday's National League Division Series snowout might have been the coldest postseason postponement in baseball history, but precipitation has played a big role in playoff series throughout history, especially since the Wild Card era began in 1995.
And while the Phillies and Rockies will likely get in Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Monday at Coors Field, since the forecast doesn't call for more of the white, flaky stuff, the schedule has been disrupted.
If the teams split the games here, there will not be time for a workout day, and both clubs will have to fly to Philadelphia on Monday night to get ready for a winner-take-all Tuesday matchup at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies are no strangers to October weather weirdness, of course.
They played in -- and eventually won -- the first suspended World Series game in Major League history last year, picking up the 2-2 tie the clubs had forged in the top of the sixth inning of Game 5 on Monday, Oct. 27, 2008, and rallying for a 4-3 victory and the Fall Classic crown two days later.
Other World Series have had their share of wacky weather issues, too.
In 1975, the instant classic waged by the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the Fall Classic at Fenway Park was delayed three days by rain, making the time elapsed until Carlton Fisk's classic game-winning homer seem that much longer.
In 1911, a week passed between Games 3 and 4 of the World Series because of six days of rain, but when play resumed, Philadelphia A's starter Chief Bender outdueled Christy Mathewson and the New York Giants en route to their second straight title.
And in 1962, there were as many rainouts -- four -- as Yankees victories, as New York beat the San Francisco Giants when Willie McCovey's screaming liner with runners on second and third went directly into second baseman Bobby Richardson's glove for the final out.
|Gm. 1||PHI 5, COL 1||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||COL 5, PHI 4||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||PHI 6, COL 5||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 4||PHI 5, COL 4||Wrap||Video|
But for some reason, bad weather in the postseason in the Wild Card era seems to be an almost annual ritual.
In 1996, on the way to the Yankees' World Series win over the Atlanta Braves, they had to wait out two Game 1 postponements. Their opening game of the American League Championship Series against Baltimore was washed out, as was Game 1 of the Fall Classic.
In 2003-04, the drama -- and the storm systems -- shifted to Boston, where the Yankees and Red Sox were embroiled in epic seven-game ALCS battles both years. In 2003, Game 4 was washed out of Fenway Park, days before Aaron Boone ended the series with an 11th-inning homer in the Bronx.
And in 2004, the year the Red Sox overcame an 0-3 series deficit for the first time in Major League history, Game 3 was rained out in Beantown.
By 2005, rain in the Bronx had become as time-honored an October tradition as Mariano Rivera trotting out to the mound in the ninth to the tune of "Enter Sandman."
POSTSEASON POSTPONEMENTSSince Wild Card era began in 1995
|1996||ALCS, Gm. 1||BAL at NYY|
|WS, Gm. 1||ATL at NYY|
|2003||ALCS, Gm. 4||NYY at BOS|
|2004||ALCS, Gm. 3||NYY at BOS|
|2005||ALCS, Gm. 4||LAA at NYY|
|2006||ALDS, Gm. 2||DET at NYY|
|NLCS, Gm. 1||STL at NYM|
|NLCS, Gm. 5||NYM at STL|
|2008||WS, Gm. 5*||TB at PHI|
|2009||NLDS, Gm. 3||PHI at COL|
|2009||ALCS, Gm. 6||LAA at NYY|
The Yankees, hooked up with the Angels in a five-game first-round set, had to wait an extra day for rain to win Game 4 and send the series back to Anaheim a day later.
"You accept whatever comes down," said then-Yankees manager Joe Torre at the time. "Because if you start getting lost there, you're going to wind up getting distracted and using it as an excuse. And this is no time for excuses."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia agreed and offered an opinion seemingly shared by every team forced to sit around until the rain -- or snow -- stops falling.
"It's out of our control," Scioscia said. "We'll play at midnight if that's what they tell us. We'll be ready."
Three more teams were ready in 2006, one of the wettest Octobers in recent memory.
The Mets and Cardinals' NLCS tussle in '06 was curious because of its home-and-home rain arrangement. The opening game was rained out of New York's Shea Stadium, and Game 5 was postponed when rain fell on the Gateway City for 12 straight hours.
Also that year, Game 2 of the AL Division Series between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium was delayed a night after a long wait, and it might have changed the momentum of the series, which the Tigers won, 3-1.
This year brought a new, more frigid reality to the mix, but weather always has and always will find a way to frustrate baseball teams and fans fired up to get going once the bright lights of October shine. The Mets' manager in 2006, Willie Randolph, might have said it best after his team's second rainout that year.
"To me," he said, "come to the ballpark, and you're ready to play. You want to play."
Doug Miller is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.