The forecast from the Red Sox professional weather service, Telvent DTN, called for rain throughout the afternoon and evening Wednesday, with temperatures in the low 40s and wind gusts as high as 25 mph.
But the Rays did not want to play a doubleheader on Thursday, preferring to play the makeup game from Wednesday night's rainout at a later date given the uncertain forecast for Thursday.
Ben Zobrist, who serves as the Rays' assistant player representative, said that Major League Baseball at about 6:45 p.m. gave the Rays the final news that they would be playing the doubleheader.
"We were told that in the Basic Agreement there is a [provision] for teams like Boston and Chicago [Cubs] to basically exercise their own right to do what they want to do," Zobrist said. "So that's what they did. Major League Baseball told us it was their decision [the Red Sox], and they chose to do a doubleheader tomorrow."
Section C of the Collective Bargaining Agreement states that teams may schedule split doubleheaders to make up postponements, so long as the clubs involved do not have more than four such doubleheaders already on the schedule, if "ticket sales for the game at the time of postponement exceed … the number of comparable tickets available to be exchanged by the Club for the balance of the championship season, and both the postponed and rescheduled game occur in the last regularly scheduled series."
That section of the CBA also notes that "the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs shall have the right to reschedule a postponed game as a split doubleheader to be played in, respectively, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, even if the criteria set out … above are not met. Scheduling a postponed game as part of a conventional doubleheader will not be considered a practical alternative."
In essence, the Red Sox do not have to follow "practical alternatives" guidelines in the CBA, Zobrist said he was told.
"If they don't want to play a split doubleheader late in the season, they can choose not to," Zobrist said. "They get special provisions according to the CBA."
Zobrist allowed that the decision brought some frustration.
"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," Zobrist said. "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 will start Cesar Ramos in the first game and Chris Archer in the second. The Red Sox will start Jake Peavy in the first game and Felix Doubront in the nightcap.