ST. LOUIS -- A day after weathering a four-hour, 32-minute rain delay in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 4-2 loss to the Royals, general manager John Mozeliak agreed that the umpiring crew handled the situation as best they could, given the parameters of Major League Baseball's rules regarding suspended games.
According to Rule 4.12(b)(4), if a game is suspended on the final date the two clubs play each other, the score reverts back to the previous full inning. That would have made the Cardinals a 2-1 winner over the Royals, even though the Royals had a 4-2 lead at the time of delay.
Crew chief Joe West, who was in touch with the league office throughout the delay, wanted to wait as long as was necessary for the storm to pass in order to avoid the certain backlash that would have come had the Cardinals been given the win. The Cards, though unpleased to wait out such a long delay and then play on less-than-ideal field conditions, understood.
"As you can imagine, Kansas City and their management team would have been very disappointed and frustrated," Mozeliak said. "I really commend those grounds guys, because they did an amazing job getting this field ready. They were the ones who deserve all the credit for that, and I think they were under tremendous pressure to do that, just as the umpires were.
"It really would have been a PR nightmare had they had to revert back to the eighth inning."
This rule was one of several that MLB's Rules Committee amended before the season in order to try and avoid scenarios in which a team would have to return to a city later in a season to play a few innings -- or in Thursday's case, a few outs. There was also a desire to eliminate the possibility that a team could take the lead in the top half of an inning (as the Royals did) and then the home team not have a chance to hit in the bottom half.
But should there be a limit on how long teams are obligated to wait out a delay?
"I think that's the unknown," Mozeliak said. "It's not spelled out how long one should wait. Last night, I think everybody that waited felt like it was getting long. I think that's a fair point and probably one that needs to be reflected on."
Manager Mike Matheny noted that he expects MLB to take another look at the rule, given the unusually long delay incurred at Busch Stadium on Thursday.
"That was an extraordinary long wait. It's over," Matheny said. "I'm not going to sit here and start bashing the league for what's going on. We certainly ended up on the short end of that and could be paying for it for a couple days here. There must be a bigger reward out there somewhere that I don't see.
"If I was in the other dugout, I would be out there with waders on to finish the game. I understand that to win. We were stuck in a tough spot. I thought our organization handled itself the right way. We had no say. We sat and waited like everyone else."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.