Major League Baseball (MLB) is a sport that's often played under the open sky, making it susceptible to weather conditions. One of the most common questions asked by fans and players alike is, "Does MLB play in the rain?" The answer isn't as straightforward as one might think.
Playing Conditions in Light to Moderate Rain
Generally, MLB teams will continue to play in light to moderate rain. However, the game's continuation depends on several factors, including the field's condition and the severity of the shower. If the field drains poorly, even an hour of heavy rains could render it unplayable.
Suspension of Games in Heavy Rain
The rules suggest that games will be suspended if it is raining heavily or if there is standing water on the field. A wet field is dangerous for players as they can slip and slide, potentially causing injuries. In such cases, both teams are sent to their dugouts, and a tarp is placed over the infield area to protect it from the rain.
The Role of Umpires in Rain Delays
The decision to proceed with the game lies with the umpire, who determines if the conditions are safe for the players. Many umpires will allow games to continue through light rain. The home team also has some input, as rain delays or rainouts affect the fans coming to their baseball stadium.
New MLB Rain Delay Rules
According to the new rules, if a game is delayed due to weather, there will be a mandatory minimum delay of 30 minutes before the game can resume. However, if the weather conditions do not improve after the 30-minute delay, the umpires can make the decision to call the game.
Impact of Rain on Gameplay
Rain can significantly impact how a pitcher grips the ball. Those pitchers relying on breaking balls – which require specific grips – could lack command if the weather gets wet and wild. Additionally, a baseball in a humid environment actually weighs more than a dry baseball, making it harder to hit a ball far in humidity.