Suspended games can cause bizarre quirks
With trades and debuts, rosters often change if games aren't resumed quickly
Baseball is known for its quirks, but when it comes to suspended games, some oddities can quickly turn bizarre and leave you scratching your head.
Major League Baseball had its most recent suspended game Tuesday, when rain in Cincinnati forced the Reds and Phillies to wait until Wednesday to resume action.
Suspended games are nothing new in baseball, though the rules for such instances have changed throughout the years. Under current Rule 4.12, games can be suspended for many reasons -- from weather, curfew imposed by law, light failure or malfunction, among other reasons -- when the game is tied or not yet official.
Games are considered official after five innings.
As in most recent cases, the Reds and Phillies only waited a day to resume their game. But in other instances, it takes months before the schedule allows clubs to finish what they started.
One of the more bizarre suspended games in history might belong to the Nationals, who in 2009 had a walk-off win -- in Houston.
The two teams began a game in Washington on May 5 of that year, but it was suspended with one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the 11th with the score tied at 10. The game resumed more than two months later -- on July 9 -- only with many changes.
First, the Nationals' runner on first two months earlier in Washington -- Elijah Dukes -- was no longer on the roster. Secondly, Washington's pitcher of record was Joel Hanrahan, who had been traded to Pittsburgh.
Interestingly, Nyjer Morgan, who had been acquired for Hanrahan, pinch-ran for Dukes and ended up scoring the walk-off run -- in Houston.
Other weird things have happened, as well, because regardless of when a suspended game is finished, all statistics in the scorebook count on the day the game started.
Therefore, some players have actually appeared in the scorebooks before their official debut.
The Pirates and Cubs had a game suspended on April 20, 1986, because of darkness. They resumed play Aug. 11, when Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds -- who debuted May 30 -- entered as a pinch-hitter, singled and remained in the game.
In 2008, a game between the Orioles and White Sox on April 28 was suspended before being resumed on Aug. 25. Outfielder Lou Montanez pinch-hit and got two at-bats, including his first career hit, which therefore officially came more than three months before he debuted on Aug. 5.
Then there are trades.
On April 28, 2008, while with the Reds, Ken Griffey Jr., went 2-for-4. On Aug. 25, then as a member of the White Sox, Griffey and Chicago completed a suspended game from April 28 against the Orioles. Griffey walked and therefore reached base for two teams on the same day.
Suspended games also can change the rule book.
Perhaps the most famous suspended game was Game 5 of the 2008 World Series between the Phillies and Rays, which led to a postseason rule change.
It was the first World Series game to be suspended when, on Oct. 27, 2008, the game was put on hold after the top of the sixth inning in Philadelphia because of rain. The game didn't resume until two days later because of weather before the Phillies won, 4-3.
Although Commissioner Bud Selig had informed both teams prior to the game the contest would be suspended and not called in the case of inclement weather -- even if it was an "official game" -- Major League Baseball's owners approved a rule the following offseason stating all postseason and tiebreaking games must be played in their entirety.
The first game to be impacted by the new rule was Game 1 of the 2011 American League Division Series between the Tigers and Yankees on Sept. 30 in New York. Play was suspended because of rain before the bottom of the second inning, causing both teams to lose their aces -- New York's CC Sabathia and Detroit's Justin Verlander.
It resumed the following day and the Yankees won, 9-3, as the Yanks' Ivan Nova and Tigers' Doug Fister took over on the mound. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who was part of the Special Committee on On-Field Matters, said then he liked the rule, even though he lost his ace.
"I love it," Leyland said. "I think it's fantastic. I guess they can't do it -- because of rain checks or whatever -- in the regular season, but I wish they would.
"Suppose we got five runs in the top of the fifth inning, and the game's called and we had to start over. I don't think teams should be penalized for that. And if they had gotten five runs in the bottom of the fourth, I don't think they should get penalized. I love the rule. If a guy hits a home run, he should get credit for it."
In some cases, like Bonds and Montanez, they got credit for it even before they ever played.