Fresh off a game last night in Baltimore, the Royals will travel to Boston to play what could be as little as one inning of baseball as they resume a suspended game that originally began August 7. What do you need to know about the suspended game?
Wait, why was a game suspended? Was it using steroids?
By current rules, a game is suspended if a regular season game must be stopped, usually due to weather, and the game is either tied, or in the middle of an inning in which the visiting team has taken the lead and the home team has not been given a chance to tie. Otherwise, the game will end right there with the results being final, unless the game has not gone five innings.
The game will resume today at noon CT exactly where it left off on August 7.
What was the game situation on August 7?
The Royals and Red Sox were tied 4-4 in the top of the tenth. Meibrys Viloria will be the scheduled hitter with a 2-1 count, nobody on and no outs with Josh Taylor on the mound. Taylor was announced as the new pitcher and had yet to face a hitter, but he can still be replaced. The rest of the lineup will have to stay as it was on August 7. Players removed from the game cannot re-enter - this would include Glenn Sparkman, Tim Hill, Kevin McCarthy, and Scott Barlow. You can see the complete box score and play-by-play here.
Wait, what about Billy Hamilton?
Billy Hamilton was in the starting lineup on August 7, but is no longer on the Royals. He will have to be replaced in the lineup. Jake Newberry was on the mound for the Royals in the bottom of the ninth, but was placed on the injured list today, so he will have to be replaced as well. Both teams will use their current rosters, not the rosters they had on August 7, so players no longer on the roster can be replaced. So that could create a pretty wild box score!
Also, this game counts as having been played on August 7, so if someone gets a hit today, it would count as part of a batting streak then, not one today. If a player makes his MLB debut this afternoon, it will be considered to have been on August 7! You can see how suspended games have caused a few box score anomalies over the years.
So the Royals could fly to Boston to play for just a few minutes?
Yep! It is possible just four hitters will bat today, if the Royals go down in order and the Red Sox lead off with a walk-off home run. The game could also last hours, if the teams remain deadlock. Baseball is nutty!
Will there be any fans at the game?
Anyone that had tickets to the original game can gain admittance today, and the Red Sox are charging $5 for anyone else that wants to attend with proceeds going to the Jimmy Fund, with children being admitted for free.
Can we watch on TV?
Yep, the game will air on Fox Sports Kansas City (sorry for those of you with Sling or DISH Network).
Will there be a game thread?
Have there been suspended games in Royals history before?
According to Retrosheet, this will be the ninth suspended game in Royals history. The most famous one is the Pine Tar Game. On July 24, George Brett hit a two-run home run in the ninth to give the Royals the lead against the Yankees. Wiley Yankees skipper Billy Martin pounced, ready with a trick he had been saving for a special occasion. He pointed out to home plate umpire Tim McClelland that the pine tar on Brett’s bat exceeded the league limits in the rulebook. McClelland called Brett out to end the game, leading to one of the greatest baseball outbursts in history.
The Royals filed an official protest, and American League President Lee MacPhail agreed that the spirit of the rule was not to punish the equipment as illegal but simply to keep the baseballs clean. So the game had to resume from the point of Brett’s home run.
The Royals flew into New York on August 18 for a farce of a game. Martin even tried to argue Brett never touched all the bases, but the umpires from the game (they were not present for the game when it resumed) had signed affidavits testifying that Brett touched all the bases. In protest, Martin had pitcher Ron Guidry play centerfield and first baseman Don Mattingly at second base as the Royals mowed down the Yankees to quickly end the game.
Here are the other seven suspended games in Royals history
This was the second game of a twi-night double-header, with game one featuring a 14-2 Royals blowout win that took nearly three hours to play (an unheard of length back then!) Game two was tied 4-4 in the ninth but the American League had a 1 a.m. curfew, so play was suspended. They resumed the next day and Rangers catcher Jim Sundburg singled off Marty Pattin with the bases loaded to win it.
A two-hour rain delay in Boston pushed the start time to nearly 10 p.m. The Red Sox thought they had victory in hand though when they carried a 5-4 lead into the ninth. But rookie pinch-hitter Ken Phelps led off with a triple off Bob Stanley and scored on a sac fly, sending the game into extras. The teams hit the 1 a.m. curfew and the game was suspended, to be resumed the next day when Amos Otis won it with a 12th inning home run.
Less than a week after the Pine Tar Game, the Royals had a suspended game against the Tigers. The Royals were getting their brains beat in and were down 10-1 in the eighth inning, but a youth curfew imposed in Detroit that summer after a some gangs harassed concert-goers caused the game to be suspended in the ninth. The game resumed the next day with the Royals quietly finishing getting blown out.
Miller Park opened in Milwaukee in 2001, but it still had some technical issues that summer. After the Royals and Brewers had a scoreless first inning on June 15, the power went out. There was still daylight, and the first base side lights stayed on, but after a 1 hour 45 minute delay, the decision was made to suspend the game to be resumed the next day. The Royals would replace Blake Stein with Paul Byrd and went on to win 4-2.
I was at this game! Well, the first part of it. The Royals had crept into the pennant race so this game was featured as Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. The Indians led 2-1 heading into the ninth, but a home run by Alex Gordon would tie the game and send it to extras. In the top of the tenth, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run double to give the Indians the lead. But then the storms came. Since the Royals hadn’t been given a chance to tie, the game was suspended. The only remaining series between the two teams was in Cleveland, so the game had to be resumed there on September 22 with the Royals as the home team. The Royals did mount a comeback, scoring a run, but Omar Infante popped out with the tying run at second in a 4-3 loss.
Feelings were still a bit raw when the Royals and White Sox played on Friday, April 24, the day after a huge brawl sparked between a confrontation between Yordano Ventura and Adam Eaton. But the teams played nice and were tied 2-2 when the rains came in the ninth. They would resume the game on Sunday, and after the Royals went quietly in the tenth, Kelvin Herrera struggled with his control, walking Melky Cabrera and allowing him to get to second on a wild pitch. Avisail Garcia would win it with a walk-off single in a 3-2 White Sox win.
You may even remember the Royals had a suspended game earlier this year! Homer Bailey and Ivan Nova faced each other in ridiculous weather conditions. The game featured three hours of rain delays before the game was finally suspended in the fifth inning with the game tied 1-1. They resumed the game the next afternoon, with Yolmer Sanchez hitting a walk-off single in the ninth off Kevin McCarthy for a 2-1 White Sox win.