The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox were among the four east coast games postponed due to rain on Wednesday night. As a result, the teams will play a day-night doubleheader on Thursday, with games scheduled at 1:05 and 7:05 p.m. ET.
However, Marc Topkins of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting that the Rays were not in favor of playing two on Thursday, but also notes their objections were ignored by the Red Sox and the league because Boston has been granted a special exception allowing them to reschedule games as they wish.
Turns out the Rays objections didn't matter. Acting player rep Ben Zobrist said they were told by MLB that the Red Sox (and Cubs) have exceptions to the Basic Agreement "to basically exercise their own right to do what they want to do."
And since the Red Sox wanted to play a split doubleheader, that's what the teams will do.
"Yea, its frustrating,'' Zobrist said. "It's frustrating that the weather is bad, it's probably not going to be much better tomorrow morning from what we're looking at. And based upon our wishes, that it didn't matter what we said, that's frustrating. That we didn't have any say in it. Besides that, it won't be frustrating if we win two games tomorrow.''
The Rays reluctance came down to two factors. As noted above, forecasts for Thursday call for more rain in the Boston area, which could lead to a long day at the ballpark ahead of their scheduled trip to New York to play the Yankees on Friday. Second, the Rays will return to Boston again twice during the regular season, which gives them options for a later doubleheader or a single game makeup on Monday, Sept. 21.
It's easy to see why the Rays would be hesitant to agree to a doubleheader on Thursday. On the other side of the coin, Boston's reasons for pushing for the doubleheader may actually have very little to do with baseball or the inconvenience of their opponents, but rather business and a lack of storage room.
One would think the Sox's primary motivation in wanting to play a doubleheader on Thursday is to take advantage of the Rays current struggles. But there is also a theory that a Dustin Pedroia bobblehead was part of the issue - that the Sox planned to give them away on Wednesday and if they don't do so instead for a makeup game on Thursday have no where to store them.
Apparently team president Larry Lucchino and general manager Ben Cherington don't have enough closet space to accomodate the bobbleheads, so they'll be given away during the 1:05 p.m. ET game on Thursday. Any fans who had tickets to Wednesday's game can use them to attend that game and receive their bobblehead.
You know, if the Rays really wanted to push the second game back a few months, maybe they should have just volunteered to take the bobbleheads with them on the rest of their trip and then home. There has to be a couple empty closets at Tropicana Field. Then they could bring them back for their next visit.
OK, that's not really a feasible idea, so they'll just have to make do with the circumstances. And knowing how Joe Maddon and that team operates, this could become somewhat of a rallying point. A couple wins on Thursday (weather permitting) and a Rays resurgence may be in motion.
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