ANAHEIM, Calif. — There hasn’t been a rainout at Angel Stadium since July 19, 2015, and that was the first one since 1995. The Twins don’t think there should have been one on Wednesday, either.
“I can’t say I concurred [with the postponement] but it’s not always the easiest call in situations like this,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said after the Angels’ front office declared the rain-soaked outfield unplayable and postponed Wednesday’s series finale to Thursday afternoon. “We probably played a few games this year similar to what we would have been playing in. I think we probably could have played [Wednesday], but it is not my decision to make.”
A two-hour spring storm soaked the field and produced huge pools of standing water in the outfield, lagoons that grew much larger when the grounds crew removed the tarp, adding the water that had pooled atop it. The sudden flood made the outfield unplayable, even after three hours of squeegees, small pumps and aeration machines, and the game was ultimately postponed until Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT.
The decision not to play as scheduled, which under MLB rules belongs solely to the home team, angered players on both teams, who had been counting on a day off at home Thursday. The Twins were supposed to fly home immediately after the game, arriving in Minneapolis shortly before sunrise.
“I would have preferred to play tonight,” said Kyle Gibson, the Twins’ player representative. “We were already here, they were already here. I would rather us waited around until 9 p.m. and play, or whatever. [Getting] home at 7 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., I don’t think it’s a big difference to us. But they kind of felt like the field wasn’t going to dry up enough, so they decided to call it.”
Angels players were even more upset than the Twins, Gibson said, because Thursday was to be their last off day until June 12. “They are not happy. … In a week and a half, they go from Seattle to Chicago for one game before coming back home” because of a makeup game at Wrigley Field.
Angels manager Brad Ausmus, however, defended the decision after inspecting the outfield with Baldelli, Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey, umpire crew chief Gary Cederstrom and Angels president John Carpino.
“There was just too much water in the outfield. As they moved the water around, it seems to disappear, but when you stepped on it, it would just come up around your shoe,” Ausmus said. “It didn’t make a lot of sense to push back the start time because the water’s not going anywhere. The sun’s down. There’s no evaporation. … It really just takes some time to soak all the way in.”
Ausmus stomped on the turf several times to demonstrate how water splashed up with every step.
Gibson said he spoke with Angels players such as Andrew Heaney, Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun and Jonathan Lucroy, all of whom wanted to either play in subpar conditions Wednesday or reschedule for later in the season — a possibility the Twins definitely wanted to avoid.
“They said, ‘Ideally, we would not like to play [Thursday] because it’s our only off day for three weeks,’ ” Gibson said. “This is probably a best-case scenario for us, because we don’t have to come back. But it wasn’t up to us.”
It’s the third postponement of the season for the Twins, and it came in one of the most unlikely venues. Only 12 games have ever been rained out since the stadium opened in 1966. Delaying the game by one day means the Twins will not have their scheduled off day at home Thursday; they open a five-game homestand at Target Field on Friday night against the White Sox.
Martin Perez remains the scheduled starting pitcher for the Twins, against Los Angeles righthander Matt Harvey. The game will be televised by Fox Sports North.