No question the fifth and sixth innings were a mess Monday night at Camden Yards due to a continual and heavy rain.
And surely the Los Angeles Angels would have preferred if the game had been stopped after they scored a run in the top of the sixth. The Orioles scored twice in the bottom of the sixth as the field conditions worsened. Those two runs proved to be the difference in a 4-3 Orioles victory that included a two-hour and 14-minute rain delay.
Here are post-game interviews with umpiring crew chief Joe West, Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
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West on why he decided to stop play when he did:
“It wasn’t raining too hard to play when we stopped. The field was getting unplayable. And that’s why we stopped. We knew that big burst was coming, we just didn’t know when. But when the guy (Nick Markakis) slid into second base and the infielder was slipping and the runner was slipping, I just walked out to (Jered) Weaver and said, “We’ve got to fix the field, we’re gonna have to stop.’ He said, ‘You’re right. It is too wet.’ And that’s when we stopped.”
West on getting the game in:
“We met before the game with the Orioles and we all agreed, everyone agreed we could play before the big storm. We didn’t have to play afterward. Because they were debating whether to start or not start. We decided to start and, hell, we got a complete game in, technically, by the time the rains (really) started. And it got bad. You have to commend the grounds crew. And everybody that worked on it because they never get enough credit. … Without them we wouldn’t have played.”
West on whether he considered halting the game completely as the field worsened during the delay (in right field specifically):
“No. We’ve done this before. What did the (grounds crew person) say? He said, ‘I need an hour.’ And I said, ‘You have 40 minutes.’”
West on whether he considered suspending play after the fifth or after the top of sixth:
“No. We didn’t stop it until the field became unplayable. As soon as we stopped it, the bottom fell out. We had to stop then anyway. But we stopped it because the field was becoming unplayable. And we made every effort to fix it along the way. We fixed the batter’s box, put dry stuff on the mound, but when players start sliding, you can’t take a chance with them getting injured.”
Showalter on West’s’ decision:
"That's the good thing about having Joe. Joe's been doing this a long time. He knows. And I think that last play ... I was a little worried about Nick, but he said it was like slip and slide in high school. He just kept going. He said he enjoyed it.”
Showalter on whether he was concerned about player safety:
“Sure, everybody is. And you know who's concerned about it the most is the umpiring crew. It got to the point where it wasn't playable and we stopped it. The mound was in pretty good shape. That was a good thing. And one of the tough things for our park has been the rubberized plastic around, and that gets real slick, so tonight having that dirt there and the stuff they put down really soaks up the water. It didn't even puddle. That made it a lot safer than it has been in the past.”
Showalter on whether he was surprised play wasn’t halted earlier:
“I've got a lot of confidence in Joe and his crew and he'll stop it when it's right, but he's trying to be fair. We had to get them out in the top of the sixth and he's trying to make them get us out in the bottom of the sixth, but it got to the point there where we couldn't finish the inning. I knew at the time. I told the players when they came in, 'Hey, we're going to play around 11, 11:30, so keep yourselves ready.'"
Scioscia on starting the bottom of the sixth:
“You have to try to play as much as you can because you never know what’s going to happen. You want to keep the game going. The field was playable to start that inning, and I think that at the point they stopped it, they needed to stop it. I didn’t see any issue there at all.”
Scioscia on the conditions to start the bottom of the sixth:
“I’m not going to say it was good; it was still playable. As that rain got heavier, there’s no doubt that it was deteriorating and you had to stop it at that point.”
Scioscia on whether the conditions affected his defense:
“Not the rain that inning; the rain that day, sure. The field was wet. Wasn’t any wetter than when we started the game, as far as the grass. (Nate) McLouth put down a perfect bunt, got a good jump and stole the base. Those guys got some good situational hitting going to get a couple runs in the sixth. But the grass part was really no different than (when) we started.”