Umpire Reed explains postponement
'Unplayable' field forced decision to call Mariners-Indians game
CLEVELAND -- Associated Press reporter Tom Withers spoke with crew chief Rick Reed on the decision to call Friday's game between the Mariners and Indians.
Withers: In the end, why did you call the game?
Reed: First of all, the playing field was getting unplayable. I was concerned about the players' welfare. We lost one player, the catcher for Cleveland, and there are only so many times you can run people out there. From a baseball standpoint, we started the game an hour later in order to give the snow showers a chance to get through the area and let the grounds crew do their job, and they were magnificent. That's why I feel bad -- all the hard work they did all day in preparation for this. I appreciate their efforts.
Ultimately, it gets down to the players' safety -- that was the determining factor. Plus, the snow intensity picked up. I told [the two managers] I would wait 15-20 minutes for those guys to get over to left field so we could blow whatever snow was left, which was more considerable than it was earlier in the stoppages. I explained that to both managers in a meeting in the tunnel. We waited and we evaluated it, and it wasn't safe.
All parties went to the wall on this.
Withers: What happened in the fifth inning, and what was [Mariners manager Mike] Hargrove's complaint?
Reed: We were trying to get the game official if we could. Hargrove's argument was that his hitter could not see and complained to him. He went to home plate to give us his viewpoint, and [Indians manager] Eric [Wedge] came out to support his team.
Both had legitimate gripes. Was the snow heavier at that point than at any other in the game? It was close. As we were having our discussion, which I think was fairly lengthy, we were all covered with snow.
There's a lot of things that go through your mind. You want to give the home team a chance on Opening Day to enjoy themselves, and you have a full park. We owe it to baseball to get the integrity of the game and try and play nine innings if we can. That was our stated goal.
We met with everyone before the game, and we decided to move the game back. We met again on the field after the first or second delay. I was in constant contact with all of them, and, realizing that the gate would be in jeopardy, the home opener would have to be replayed and the biggest factor involved is that this is Seattle's only trip here, therefore we had to try and get the game in if we could.
We try and understand the business side, but we're baseball guys, and we just try to give everybody a chance to get it in if we could.
Withers: Was there anything you could or should have done differently?
Reed: I think you could second-guess a lot of things. I wish Cleveland had been a little bit more aggressive in the fourth inning and [Paul] Byrd had not lost his control a little bit on a couple of hitters. When we got off the field, we came to the realization that we had done everything we could. We kind of left it up to Mother Nature, and she bit us.
I could be more self critical. I tried to be honest with everybody. I explained and worked with the head grounds keeper, the stadium manager, I talked to the general manager of the home club early this morning, about 12 hours ago. We discussed what could possibly happen the next couple days weather-wise with the goal in mind of trying to get in this game.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.