Baltimore Orioles: Should MLB revist delay rules


As last night’s Baltimore Orioles game was wrapping up, I could help by notice the out-of-town scoreboard. Washington’s game with Los Angeles was well behind the curve in the sense that they were only in the fourth inning as opposed to almost being finished. Before the night was over, the game had featured two delays as a result of lights going out in the ballpark. The game was suspended after the third time, and will be completed starting at 2 PM this afternoon.

Based on the media accounts I’ve read about the situation, it sounded somewhat surreal. Needless to say it was a bizzare type of delay, and one that doesn’t normally occur in baseball. However in reality it’s not too different from an actual rain delay, which is something that ball players are used to in a sense. But with this in mind, are there changes that the league could make in the rules governing delays and suspensions?

Live Feed

Max Fried rumors: 4 trade packages to get the Braves to budge
Max Fried rumors: 4 trade packages to get the Braves to budge /


  • Sandy Alcantara rumors: 4 monster trade packages to get the Marlins to budgeFanSided
  • Baltimore Orioles looking at Rich Hill as another stopgapCall to the Pen
  • Baltimore Orioles keep eyeing stopgap options in rotationCall to the Pen
  • Last-Chance DraftKings and FanDuel Maryland Promo Codes: How to Bet $40 and Get $700 Before Offer EndsFanSided
  • MLB Power Rankings: Where all 30 teams rank after the Winter MeetingsFanSided
  • As we know, suspended games are still games – and one game at that. In situations like this the league doesn’t even make the statistics final until the game is completed – in a retroactive manner. But with that said we also know the rules governing games, specifically with regard to player substitutions and so forth. Once you’ve exited a game, you’re out. This is true in all circumstances, including suspended and delayed games.

    But in reality should that be the case? One dilema that we often see is managers trying to decide whether to send their starter back into the game after a delay. And understandably it’s a heck of a dilema given the fact that it’s poignantly not good for a pitcher to stop, start, and then stop again. At the end of the day in these situations, managers will almost always stay on the side of caution.

    But that burns through pitchers as well. And the same can be true of guys on the bench. Let’s say it’s a tie game in the last of the fifth and rain’s coming. The hometown manager knows this, and when someone hits a double that player gets lifted for a pinch runner that can really fly. At the end of the day, the game goes into a rain delay.

    Once the delay is over (or after it’s resumed following it’s suspension), the hitter that was lifted is out of the game. However in my personal view, this gives a competitive advantage to the opposing team. So would it not be fair to alter the rules so that players could re-enter a game if they were lifted before a delay or game suspension?

    More from Orioles News

    Photo: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

    Some people are going to say that’s why managers need to weigh all options when making in-game moves. And that’s a very valid point. One of the beauties of baseball to me is that you can’t freely substitute players in and out. Once a guy’s taken out of the game, he’s out for the remainder of the game. It forces managers to think strategically, as opposed to coaches in football or basketball who can just insert and remove players at will.

    But I would submit that these incidents involving delays and suspensions are fairly extraordinary events. The presumption is that nine innings will be played uninterrupted. On the stat sheet in fact it goes down as nine innings uninterrupted. In no way am I thinking that baseball should ever do away with players totally being out of games once they’re lifted. I think that over-simplifies the game, and it removes part of it’s charm. But giving managers the liberty to re-insert players who may have been lifted prior to the delay or suspension would be a very fair tool to offer.

    Incidentally, there already is some variation of the rules with regard to players specifically in suspended games. In the case of Washington’s game with LA, it’s being completed today (the next day) so odds are this won’t play a role. However there are plenty of games which aren’t completed for some time, including one between the Orioles and New York circa 2007 (which was completed a month later).

    If a player is on the roster when a game is resumed who wasn’t on the roster when the game started, he is in fact eligible to play. So you could have scenarios where a player has been traded between those two teams in the interim, and he could end up on both sides of the box score. Another statistical oddity could end up being that a prospect who was called up to the big leagues since the game was suspended could end up making his big league debut and recording his “first big league hit” well after (or before) he actually did. As I said, the stats are retroactive to the original date of the game.

    At the end of the day, offering managers just a bit of flexibility in the rules in these situations wouldn’t be a bad thing. Whether or not that ever happens is another story; I just think it would be something that would better the game.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles, Ubaldo Jimenez start with a new beginning

    More from Birds Watcher