A suspended game is a game that is stopped early and must be completed at a later date from the point of termination, though not all terminated games become suspended games.
The most frequent cause of a suspended game is when a regulation game is terminated due to weather, and the game is either tied or in the midst of an inning in which the visiting team has taken the lead. If a regulation game is stopped due to weather and one of the aforementioned criteria doesn't apply, then the results at the time of the termination are final. Games that are stopped due to weather before becoming regulation games are restarted at a later date, and none of the results prior to the termination count.
The aforementioned criteria does not apply in the postseason or any tiebreaker games added to the end of the championship season schedule, where all games terminated due to weather are suspended and completed at a later date from the point of termination.
Other rarer causes for suspended games include a technical malfunction in the stadium that prevents the game from continuing.
Because suspended games are sometimes resumed months later, a team might no longer have some of the players who were on its roster when the game initially started.The umpire-in-chief makes the decision to call a game.
History of the rule
Until 2008, postseason games did not have disparate rules from the regular season regarding suspended games.
Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, which saw the Rays face the Phillies, was the first suspended game in World Series history. The game was halted with the score tied in the bottom of the sixth inning after the Rays had tied the game in the top of the frame.
Then-Commissioner Bud Selig later decreed that the game would have been suspended even if the Rays had not tied it, regardless of what the rulebook stated. The next month, Major League Baseball instituted a rule stating that no postseason games nor any games with significance to the postseason -- such as All-Star Games and tiebreaker games for division titles or Wild Cards -- could be shortened due to weather. All games in those instances are suspended and completed at a later date from the point of termination, even if they are not yet regulation games.
Watch: A game pitting the Royals against the White Sox is suspended due to rain, with the score tied at two in the ninth inning.