Rays, Royals postponed due to rain, snow
Tampa Bay next travels to another cold venue, Denver
KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Hellickson hails from Des Moines, Iowa, which made the Rays right-hander the perfect candidate to ask whether Thursday afternoon's Kansas City weather -- which included snow, reminded him of home.
Hellickson smiled: "Yeah, except in December."
After a 2 hour and 20 minute delay due to inclement weather, Thursday's Rays-Royals game was postponed, with the final call coming at 5:30 p.m. ET.
"It was really an ill-conceived idea from the beginning," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It didn't look very good from Jump Street. I respect what the umpires did. I thought [crew chief] Teddy Barrett handled it really well, calling it when he did.
"He told me they lost the field. That was the phrase he used, and I think he was absolutely correct. They did the best they possibly could, but it's not going to get any better, and I think they did the right thing, because it's not just about playing five or four and a half innings. It's about playing nine. And if you don't think you can then I think it's the appropriate thing to do."
Game time temperature was 40 degrees with a 32 degree wind chill factor and a light drizzle that intensified until the game was stopped after the Rays batted in the fourth with the Royals holding a 1-0 lead.
"It was eerily similar to the night in Philadelphia [Game 5 of the 2008 World Series], the way the rain was coming down and how cold it got," Maddon said. "The field, you could see a shine on the skin on the top of the infield. And I was waiting for the rooster tail and the mud to be kicked up when somebody was running. It was pretty close."
Since the game was called, statistics from the game will not count. No makeup date has been announced.
At one point the Kauffman Stadium grounds crew unfolded different segments of the tarp covering the infield to work on the clay underneath. But after completing the task, they anchored the tarp back into place and left the field.
During the delay, the rain transitioned into snow, at which point Rays players and coaches could be seen standing in the dugout taking photos. Remember, this is a team that plays its home games in climate-controlled Tropicana Field.
"It's always fun just to see snow," said Cesar Ramos, who was slated to take over the pitching duties had the game resumed play. "I've only seen it snow, maybe, just one time and that was in Colorado Springs. So I had to take a look."
Matt Joyce also ventured outside to look at the white May day.
"I didn't grow up in snow, I've seen it, but it's still kind of cool," Joyce said. "It brings back that childhood kind of wonder and excitement. But at the same time, you don't want to play in it. That was definitely the coldest game I've ever played in."
Joyce thought the playing conditions were dangerous.
"The last inning or two it was wet," Joyce said. "That was the biggest thing. You can deal with the cold, you can deal with the wind, but getting wet like that it felt kind of dangerous. My last at-bat I was really fighting to have any kind of grip on the bat, because you don't want to throw it in the stands. You want to be able to control the bat."
Desmond Jennings noted that while it was cold, "We were well prepared for it."
But he added: "You're always worried about traction. It was just bad man. Anything can happen in that."
Tampa Bay now has two games that must be made up. The April 12 game at Fenway Park against Boston also was rained out. That game was rescheduled for June 18 as part of a day-night doubleheader. Scheduling a game against Kansas City will be a little more logistically challenging since they have no more scheduled trips to Kansas City this season.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.