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MLB issues statement on Bronx tarp malfunction

Judgment of umpires trusted following decision not to suspend game

NEW YORK -- After a tarp malfunction at Yankee Stadium contributed to the calling of Wednesday night's game, leaving the Yankees with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers after 4 1/2 innings, Major League Baseball released an official statement in response on Thursday.

"Last night's game was called because of the sudden onset of extreme rain, which affected the ability of the grounds crew to put the tarp in place," the statement said. "Because no 'malfunction of a mechanical field device,' as prescribed in Official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3), contributed to the unfortunate circumstances, the game did not meet any criteria to be suspended.

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"We trust the judgment of last night's Umpires, who deemed the field unplayable despite the legitimate effort of the sufficiently-staffed grounds crew to cover it. Because of the condition of the field following the heavy storms, we believe the right decision was made from a player safety standpoint."

MLB cited official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3) on suspended games, which states:
(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:
(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under the control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment.)

It took the Yankee Stadium grounds crew nearly 15 minutes and two attempts to properly apply the tarp to cover the field during a rain delay, and by the time the crew succeeded, the infield dirt was soaked.

The Rangers were not pleased and looked into protesting the decision. Though they could not protest, manager Ron Washington said the club did file a complaint.

Washington said the game should have been suspended, to be finished at a later date. The two teams concluded their four-game set on Thursday -- a game won by the Yankees, 4-2 -- and they will play a three-game series in Texas next week.

"We lost a four-inning game because of the ground situation," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Wednesday night. "That shouldn't happen."

The Yankees lost a rain-shortened game to the Orioles on July 13, their final game before the All-Star break, and manager Joe Girardi said he would be in favor of having the rule changed so teams can continue a game the next day or whenever they were scheduled to play each other next -- unless the washed-out game is the last meeting of the season.

"If that's the case and it's the last day," Girardi said, "then it is what it is."

Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for

New York Yankees, Texas Rangers