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Rain shouldn't be a factor in Game 1

Rain shouldn't be a factor in Game 1

DETROIT -- One month into a Michigan autumn, the weather at Comerica Park could be much, much worse for the World Series this weekend. And besides, there are 28 other teams that would love to have a chance to bundle up a little and deal with an occasional raindrop.

That was the consensus view of the participants who will deal with a few upper-Midwest elements here at the 102nd World Series, which begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday between the Cardinals and Tigers.

The good news is that there isn't expected to be a fourth 2006 postseason rainout during these first two games at Comerica Park, thus removing the possibility of Major League Baseball matching the number of all previous playoff rainouts since the three-round format began in 1995. The Cardinals and Mets were rained out twice during their National League Championship Series, and the Tigers and Yankees were rained out on the second day of their American League Division Series.

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"Game 1 is a go, dry at the start of the game, clear and with temperatures around 50," said Andrew Humphrey, a meteorologist at WDIV-TV, an NBC affiliate in Detroit. "Around 10 or 11, we'll start to see raindrops with a 40 percent chance of [precipitation] at that point, but I don't think it's going to be too heavy.

"Sunday is a chance of rain earlier in the day, a 40 percent chance for the start of Game 2, but that is iffy. There could be a little delay at game time. It will be drier and chilly by the end of the night."

Humphrey and his meteorological peers in Motown are answering these questions quite a bit now.

"Tons of people here want to know," he said. "Everyone is very excited. It is going to be chilly here, but we don't mind in Detroit. It was cold last weekend, and we won. It's the rain that people here care about."

All-purpose Cardinal Scott Spiezio said he doesn't care. The Cardinals, still floating after their classic Game 7 clincher at Shea Stadium the night before, worked out in the afternoon with temps in the low 40s, and he said afterward: "Nothing matters when you're playing in the World Series. This doesn't feel cold to me anyway. I grew up here, so I'm used to it. Once you're on this stage, it's all about adrenaline."

Cardinals reliever Tyler Johnson already knows a safe haven if either game turns into one of those cold and rainy nights similar to Game 2 of last year's World Series in Chicago.

"They have a heated room that fits 10 to 12 people next to the bullpen here," Johnson said. "It's one of my favorite 'pens. It's there if we need it."

The only rainouts in the Wild Card era before this year were as follows, and it's easy to see a trend here. Modern rainouts have always involved New York teams:

• Game 3 of the ALCS on Oct. 15, 2004, Yankees at Red Sox.

• Game 4 of the ALCS on Oct. 12, 2003, Yankees at Red Sox.

• Game 1 of the World Series on Oct. 19, 1996, Braves at Yankees.

• Game 1 of the ALCS on Oct. 9, 1996, Orioles at Yankees.

This year's postseason has featured the most rainouts since the 1975 World Series. It rained in Boston for three straight days, Oct. 18-20 of that year, meaning three rainouts before they finally were able to play one of the most memorable games in baseball history -- Game 6, won by the Red Sox on Carlton Fisk's homer off the left-field foul pole, and then followed by a Reds' world championship the next day in Game 7.

That was topped by the World Series in 1962, when there were four rainouts. The Yankees finally clinched that one when a shot off the bat of the Giants' Willie McCovey was just inches away from dropping for a hit.

At the 1911 World Series between the Philadelphia A's and New York Giants, there were six straight days of rain. It caused seven days to pass between Games 3 and 4 (Oct. 17-24).

Every postseason game in Major League history has lasted at least nine innings, despite the lengthy delays during games. Some people will remember the long wait before they played that exciting World Series game between the Phillies and Blue Jays at Veterans Stadium in 1993.

Of course, there have been other notable requirements for the absence of scheduled postseason games. Just before the start of Game 3 in the 1989 "Bay Bridge Series" between the A's and Giants, the Loma Prieta earthquake ravaged the area and caused major loss of life and damage, resulting in a 10-day suspension of the series.

For those looking ahead to St. Louis and the scheduled games on Tuesday, Wednesday and, if necessary, Thursday, there is little chance for rain, and temperatures should be in the upper 40s to low 50s. Significant precipitation is not forecast there until the weekend. And it doesn't look overly problematic in Detroit if Games 6 and 7 are required.

"Everybody's been through cold and rain, and it was the same thing at St. Louis at the start of the season," said Cardinals second baseman Ronnie Belliard, who also grew accustomed to playing in the cold with Cleveland. "This is not bad here."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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