Game 4 of World Series postponed by rain

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—Pitchers dominated the first three games of the World Series, then rain took over.

Game 4 was postponed Wednesday night because of showers and will be made up Thursday at 8:27 p.m. EDT, potentially sending the World Series into scheduling chaos. More rain was expected the next two days, and nobody was certain when the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals would play again.

“They’re going to be dicey,” said Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office. “There is about a 70 percent chance of rain tomorrow. It’s going to be light rain. We don’t know whether or not that rain will linger, like it did tonight.”

Game 5 at Busch Stadium was pushed back to Friday night, which was supposed to be a day off in the Series. And it doesn’t look much better this weekend in Detroit, with a forecast of rain and cold.

The Cardinals lead the best-of-seven Series 2-1 after a 5-0 victory behind ace Chris Carpenter on Tuesday night. A silver tarp covered the infield all evening, players didn’t come out to warm up and Game 4 never got started.

“This wouldn’t have been a baseball game, it would have been survival,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “I’m actually pleased for both teams that we’re not playing. Fans, that wouldn’t have been too much fun, either.”

But Jeremy Bonderman, slated to start for Detroit against St. Louis’ Jeff Suppan, was eager to pitch in the light drizzle early Wednesday night.

“We aren’t sugar. We ain’t going to melt,” Bonderman said.

Tigers first baseman Sean Casey, however, thought Major League Baseball made the right call.

“Guys getting hurt, having a five-inning World Series game, nobody wants that,” Casey said.

A sparse crowd at Busch Stadium was informed of the rainout about three minutes after baseball made the announcement. Fans covered in plastic, many who stayed for hours hoping the rain would stop, quickly filed toward the exits.

Some had waited out the delay in the stands. Others packed the gift shop and lined up at concession stands.

Standing beneath an umbrella in the upper deck, Victoria Atkinson was disappointed. She came all the way from Montreal to watch.

“I’m a baseball fan and I wanted to see a baseball game,” she said. “We kept hearing all different things—that there was a blip on the radar screen, that the rain might stop, that it would keep going.

“I don’t know if they could have called it earlier than they did ,” she added. “I guess they had a lot of hot dogs to sell and they sold them.”

Cigarette-puffing Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who said Bonderman will start Game 4—whenever it is—had his own way of passing the time.

“I smoked about a carton, probably the worst day of the year for my lungs,” he said.

Steady showers all day led to the first World Series rainout since the 1996 opener between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. The rain fell harder as the night progressed, and the game was called after a delay of 1 hour, 51 minutes, the first time a Series game in St. Louis has been rained out.

“It became apparent the front was not going to move through,” Solomon said. “It stalled in front of us.”

It also was the fourth washout of a wet postseason. The Cardinals had two games rained out in the NL championship series against the New York Mets, and Game 2 of Detroit’s first-round series at Yankee Stadium also was postponed.

“You want to go out there and play, but you can’t control the weather. It’s not that big of a deal,” St. Louis outfielder Preston Wilson said.

The postponement gives La Russa a chance to juggle his rotation if he wants. He could bring Jeff Weaver back on regular rest in Game 5 instead of pitching rookie Anthony Reyes again. Reyes, however, tossed eight-plus strong innings for a 7-2 victory in the opener.

Leyland could do the same with Kenny Rogers, who beat Weaver in Game 2 on Sunday night and extended his shutout streak to 23 innings this postseason. But Leyland specifically set up his rotation to give Rogers two starts at home, and the Series doesn’t shift back to Detroit until Game 6.

“Unfortunately, Friday’s forecast is pretty bad also,” Solomon said. “We could get a soaking, as much as 2 or 2 1/2 inches, they say.”

Despite all the rain, La Russa said he was told by Major League Baseball that the teams might still get a travel day between Games 5 and 6.

“That has not been determined exactly how they’ll handle that, but that could happen,” Solomon said. “I’m not going to make a decision on that, because I hopefully won’t have to worry about that day being gone.”

Added FOX network spokesman Lou D’Ermilio: “Right now my understanding is that if we play tomorrow and we play Friday, we’ll be playing Saturday and Sunday.”

Asked what would happen if Thursday night’s game was rained out, D’Ermilio said: “We didn’t get that far. We’re going to meet tomorrow.”

Suppan said he was given several possible start times, so he spent much of the delay stretching and staying hydrated.

The Cardinals’ clubhouse was mostly empty by the time it opened to reporters. Players tossed a football around during the delay. Some went to the indoor batting cage, and many watched videos.

After the game was called, backup catcher Gary Bennett’s two young sons helped him put his gear back in his locker. Actor Billy Bob Thornton visited in La Russa’s office.

Over on the other side, the Tigers played cards and backgammon. They also watched a lot of tape of Suppan.

“I kept hoping somebody would pop in a tape of `Old School,’ but they didn’t,” Casey said. “Believe me, there’s only so many sliders, curves, whatever you can sit still for.”

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