Astros recommending closed roof in Houston
MLB has final decision on what to do at Minute Maid Park for Games 3 and 4
KANSAS CITY -- The Astros will host their first home postseason game in 10 years on Sunday, when they take the field against the Royals for Game 3 of the American League Division Series. The game is slated to begin at 4 p.m. ET on MLB Network, which raises the question: Will the roof be open or closed?
A glance at the upcoming forecast would suggest the roof likely will be closed. Temperatures are supposed to reach a high of 92 degrees, which is unseasonably warm for October, even for Houston standards.
The Astros have a regular-season policy regarding the roof that they have submitted to Major League Baseball as a recommendation with how to handle the postseason. The club has input, but the decision ultimately rests with MLB.
Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said he reached out to Major League Baseball on Wednesday to discuss the roof policy and discuss how they might want to handle it. For the regular season, the Astros close the roof for day games when the heat index is 84 degrees or above.
Based on that policy, the roof would be closed on Sunday. Ryan is hoping to have a formal announcement as early as Friday on the roof status for Game 3 on Sunday and Game 4 on Monday, if the series extends that far.
"Our tentative plan right now would be to close the roof for the workout on Saturday and keep it closed all the way through a potential Game 4 on Monday," Ryan said.
The roof question was bound to come up, partly because it's always of interest to fans who are planning to attend games and partly because many fans remember what a hot topic it was a decade ago. The Astros, who through their postseason runs in 2004 and '05 felt the louder crowd noise that comes with a closed roof gave them a boost, kept it shut throughout the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series.
But when the Astros hosted the World Series in 2005, MLB requested the roof be open.
The Astros' goal this time around is to work with MLB and establish a definitive plan that they can relay to fans in advance of any postseason home games that will be played at Minute Maid Park.
"Knowing past history, I wanted to get ahead of it early, and so far everybody's been very responsive with the way that we've looked at the roof situation," Ryan said. "Our position is we want to keep it like the regular season. People understand the policy, and that would be our recommendation."
Ryan sees this as a relatively easy call.
"It's going to be hot," he said. "The heat index is going to be well over 90 all week. I would be surprised if Major League Baseball didn't agree with our recommendations that the roof be closed Saturday and through Game 4."