A Wednesday afternoon storm caused flooding in the Angel Stadium outfield, where drainage is lacking, and wreaked havoc on the series finale between the Angels and Minnesota Twins.
The rain had already dissipated an hour before the originally scheduled first pitch. Yet as the grounds crew used squeegees and team president John Carpino skipped baseballs across the grass to test their paths, it became clear to game officials that baseball could not be played safely. Field concerns forced the Angels to postpone the game until Thursday at 1 p.m.
“There was just too much water in the outfield,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “As they moved the water around, it seems to disappear. You don’t see the puddling. But when you stepped on it, it would just come up around your shoe.
“I couldn’t imagine having to field a ball coming through that water, picking it up soaking wet and trying to make a throw to a base, never mind what could happen if your cleats didn’t catch.”
Players in the Angels’ clubhouse were annoyed, said Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson, who is Minnesota’s representative to the MLB Player’s Assn. The postponement made it so that the Angels would have to play 20 games in 20 days.
Gibson said he met with Andrew Heaney, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun, among others, to discuss the situation.
“When I walked over there, I literally was like, ‘Hey, listen. Ideally, we would like to play tomorrow,’” Gibson told reporters in the Twins clubhouse. “And they said, ‘Ideally, we would not like to play tomorrow because it’s going to be our only off day for three weeks.’”
Angels players were not made available to media postgame. When reached for comment, Angels Vice President of communications Tim Mead said, “It’s hard to convey how valuable off days are.”
The Angels have already had one day off scrubbed because of weather; they will spend their originally scheduled day of rest June 3 playing the Cubs in Chicago to make up a game postponed by snow.
The Angels’ next day off will not occur until June 12.
Officials considered delaying the start of the game several hours because they were concerned about Thursday’s forecast, which in an early incarnation showed a chance of rain. When those chances lessened, officials decided to it best to reduce the chance for injury.
“It didn’t make a lot of sense to push back the start time because the water’s not going anywhere,” Ausmus said. “The sun’s down. There’s no evaporation. It’s just sitting there. As it was explained to me, we could move the water around. But we could do that until midnight. It’s not going to change how much water’s there.”
The Angels are confident groundskeepers can dry the field in time for right-hander Matt Harvey to start for the Angels opposite Twins left-hander Martin Perez one day late.
This home rainout is the 17th in Angels history, 12th at Angel Stadium, and the first in Anaheim since July 19, 2015. The Angels have had one other game rained out in the last 24 years, a June 16, 1995, game against the Chicago White Sox.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game can be used Thursday. The Angels are offering refunds and exchanges on tickets purchased through the box office, Angels.com or the team’s sales department.
“I think we probably could have played tonight but again it is not my decision to make,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There were people that disagreed with me and that’s OK. We were able to speak freely. Someone had to make a decision. You have to respect that the decision was not ours to make.”