The Twins have 147 games still to play in the 2013 season, and — after being sidelined by weather for the fourth time in nine days Monday — only 160 days left to play them.
Subtract four days for the All-Star break (the additional day was added in the most recent collective bargaining agreement), and there are only 156 days left. In other words, the Twins barely have more days off remaining in the next five months than the seven idle days they have had, scheduled and unscheduled, since the season opened three weeks ago.
No wonder, then, that when Monday night’s forecast called for 4 inches of snow, the Twins and Marlins decided to try to play their entire two-game series as a Tuesday day-night doubleheader.
“I believe we’re going to get both of them in tomorrow,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Monday, despite the likelihood of scattered snow showers Tuesday afternoon, and temperatures dropping into the 20s at night. “We should be able to play.”
There have been 14 major league games postponed by weather this year, four of them Twins games, three of them at Target Field, where the team absorbed only five rainouts in the ballpark’s first three seasons. It will be made up Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m., weather permitting. The Twins also pushed back the regularly scheduled day game’s start time an hour to 1:10 p.m., in order to give employees time to prepare the stadium.
“There’s no real concern with the playing surface. We can clear that” quickly, Ryan said. But if the seating bowl fills with snow, that will require more time. “If we get a load of snow, we need the extra hour to try to make sure the fan experience is at least inhabitable,” Ryan said. “We may have to push it back.”
Under Major League Baseball’s agreement with its players, teams cannot schedule games, whether they are played or not, on more than 20 consecutive days without the players’ consent. When circumstances warrant, the rule is waived by players several times each season, Ryan said, but the Marlins, whose day off Wednesday is their only scheduled one in a 27-day span, had not been asked to approve a makeup game should the teams be unable to play twice Tuesday.
“We’ll cross that situation when we come to it,” Ryan said. “The plan is to get the games played” on Tuesday.
If they do, Fox Sports North has announced plans to televise them. Tuesday’s day game will be carried on FSN, and the night game, because of a conflict with the Wild, will be bumped to the network’s FSN Plus channel.
The Twins are still in the paperwork stage of rescheduling their previous two postponements, last Wednesday’s home game against the Angels and Friday’s game vs. the White Sox in Chicago. The new dates require the agreement of both teams, their players and MLB, and should be announced soon. When they are, another couple of days off will disappear.
“It’s difficult, but you’d rather do that than go out and get somebody hurt in weather like tonight,” Ryan said of his 8-7 team. “Nobody wants to see games postponed. But when we get to the latter part of the schedule, we’d like to think we’ll be in contention, so we’re in a situation where we have to play them.”
And for fans enduring the cold, wet weather Tuesday night, there at least is an added reward to attending. To the first 10,000 fans, the Twins will be handing out ... rain gauges. Perfect.