Soggy field conditions postpone game at Coliseum
Playing surface remained wet from steady rains; no makeup date announced
OAKLAND -- Friday night's game between the A's and Mariners at O.co Coliseum was postponed due to poor field conditions. No makeup date was announced, but both teams voted to not play a doubleheader on Saturday or Sunday, electing to reschedule the game for later this season.
There was a steady drizzle of rain early in the evening, but it stopped about an hour before the scheduled first pitch of 7:05 PT. After initially calling for a delay of 30-45 minutes, the game was canceled at about 7:15, despite a dry spell that was expected to last throughout the night.
The grounds crew worked to try to salvage the playing surface, which was in less-than-stellar shape after going uncovered Thursday night. There wasn't a lot of heavy rain pounding Oakland on Friday, but the showers were enough to cause problems with the field.
After speaking with an unnamed independent weather consultant, the A's decided to leave the field tarpless Thursday night.
"We had information last night that there was going to be a break in the storm," said David Rinetti, the A's vice president of stadium operations. "Because of that, we wanted to use that opportunity to help dry out the field. Unfortunately, we were wrong on the amount of rain."
Instead, the uncovered field became too soggy to play on after being soaked by about one-third of an inch of rain overnight. As the scheduled first pitch approached Friday, A's manager Bob Melvin, Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon and the umpires inspected the field before deciding to call the game.
Though the infield and outfield grass were able to hold up against the water, the infield dirt didn't fare as well.
"I think everybody felt like it was at the point where we were concerned about being a little too soft," Melvin said.
Melvin already has been forced to do a bit of juggling with his pitching staff.
The A's and Indians had to cancel Tuesday's contest due to rain and play a doubleheader Wednesday, forcing Melvin to tab Triple-A pitcher Josh Lindblom for an emergency start. With the latest setback, the plan is to push Friday starter Dan Straily to Saturday, when he will face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Melvin said he doesn't know how this affects his pitching staff beyond that.
Following the postponement, crew chief Fieldin Culbreth told a pool reporter that it was a group decision to cancel the contest.
"Decisions like that, you want as many eyes and ears and brains working on it as possible so you can make the wisest decisions," Culbreth said, citing player health as the overriding concern. "In the end, I think the powers that be made the correct decision."
As for a future possible makeup date, the Mariners are set to travel to Oakland on May 5-7 and Sept. 1-3. For now, the field is expected to be fine for Saturday's matinee, which is still scheduled for 1:05 PT.
"We are doing everything possible to have the field ready to be played on tomorrow," Rinetti said.