MILWAUKEE -- Officials from Major League Baseball and the Brewers conferred on the decision to close Miller Park's roof for Game 5 of the National League Division Series on Friday, citing a desire to play under conditions consistent with the first four games. Each of those were played under a closed dome -- Games 1 and 2 in chilly Milwaukee and Games 3 and 4 in windy Phoenix, where it rained just before Game 3. But as the teams took batting practice Friday, it was a picture-perfect afternoon in Milwaukee, 77 degrees with partly cloudy skies, and the roof remained open. That changed less than 20 minutes before Yovani Gallardo's 4:07 p.m. CT first pitch.
"We work together, the Brewers and MLB, and the decision was made that after the first four games were played in a closed roof environment, in the interest of consistency we would close the roof," Brewers spokesperson Tyler Barnes said. "That is the totality of the answer," MLB senior vice president of standards and on-field operation Joe Garagiola Jr. said. "Maintain consistency throughout the series. It's pretty simple." Garagiola coordinated with the Brewers to make the decision before each game in Milwaukee, and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre did so in Arizona. Miller Park's fan-shaped convertible roof provides the Brewers a significant advantage during the regular season, eliminating worry about weather delays and postponements, and helping the Brewers draw more than three million fans three times in the past four seasons. From a purely baseball perspective, opinions vary on the impact of roof position on games. During the regular season, the Brewers were 29-10 with both the roof open and the moveable outfield panels open, 2-2 with the roof open and the panels closed, 24-9 with the roof and panels both closed and 2-3 in Friday's configuration -- roof closed and panels open. A side effect of a closed dome is increased crowd noise, which was a factor, according to Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, in the Brewers' decisive five-run rally in Game 2. Both managers called the roof a non-issue before Game 5. "It doesn't matter," Gibson said. "Open, closed, we're here. It's fine. We do it there [at Chase Field]. I don't know if we have any control over it. So it's closed and closed it will be. And we'll compete in those conditions. Why would I possibly care?" Said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke: "I heard it's going to be a little windy today. If it is going to be a little windy, probably would rather have it closed so it doesn't affect things. I don't like when the elements play into a ballgame. I like when you hit a legitimate home run it's because you hit it hard. You go to Wrigley [Field, in Chicago], for example, huge difference when that wind is blowing in or out. "I like guys to earn things. So when they hit it good, I think it should be a home run. And when they pop it up and just miss it, I think it should be an out."