May 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; The Kansas City Royals mascot Sluggerrr holds a snow shovel on the field after the postponement of the game between the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals Game That Wasn't

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May 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals grounds crew members remove the tarp from the infield after rain before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ervin Santana didn’t strike out seven in four innings and Alex Gordon didn’t have an RBI single to score Elliot Johnson after a non-stolen base. Just forget that you even saw it or heard it happen.

The Royals and Rays tried to get the third game of their series in Kansas City in, but the elements had other ideas, as a freak May snowstorm (preceded by rain) hit the Metro area. But they tried. The Royals took a lead in the bottom of the third and Ervin Santana was getting a lot of swings and misses, but between the top and bottom of the fourth the umpires stopped action and called for the grounds crew to put the tarp on the field.

It was understandable. Conditions were miserable. Denny Mathews called it the worst he’d seen and that if it was outdoor hockey, the game would be canceled. It was cold, wet, and windy. The Royals shut down the upper deck and any fans with tickets up there were invited to the field level. There was standing water on the field and it had an effect on the action. Gordon’s single (or not-single) probably would have been fielded in normal conditions. Ben Zobrist tried to backhand the ball but the ground was so unsteady, he couldn’t get a good effort on it and it slipped through.

The crew put drying agents on the field at one point and it seemed like the Royals would be able to resume action with the idea of getting the game to official status before calling things off, but in the end, the window never opened and they postponed the game.

In most circumstances, I doubt they would have tried to play the game out, but Tampa Bay only makes one trip to Kansas City a year. Now, both teams have to find an off day that they have in common, then would have to get clearance from the MLBPA if the matchup would create more than 20 days in a row of play for either team. The other possibility is to add a game to the Royals trip to Tampa Bay, but that would make a 5/2 split in favor of Tampa home games.

They were stuck going for it – the Rays expressed disappointment about even trying after the postponement, while the Royals were questioning why not just gut it out with only one inning left to go. Of course, Kansas City had a one run lead, so if the score was reversed, perhaps the opinions would be as well. I couldn’t blame the Rays for being upset if the Royals had gotten through five innings, made the game official, and had it called, just as I couldn’t blame the Royals for trying to push through to get the game going.

Instead, though, literally nobody won.

May 2, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) makes the tag on Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Matt Joyce (20) trying to steal second base in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In the big picture, it’s just one game and perhaps never even gets made up. If it does, though, it’ll put the Royals in a spot where they don’t have a day off for a long stretch. Kind of makes the five scheduled off days in April seem silly, huh?

It hasn’t just been the Royals running into this sort of thing. The Twins have had multiple snow-outs, as have the Rockies. The Rays had a game postponed against the Red Sox last month. That’s why there are more off days in April usually, but five for the Royals seems excessive, especially now that they’re going to have to negotiate a potential makeup date.

The Royals have played four series in a row in which a game was postponed. Starting in Boston, when a manhunt shut the city down, the Royals made up a postponement with a double header, then traveled to Detroit where the opening game of the series was lost to rain. That game hasn’t been made up, but with more trips to Detroit in store, it won’t be as difficult as the Rays game. Then the Royals had to make up a game against the Indians, playing another double header. Then today’s postponement cost another gameday.

Since Opening Day on April 1, the Royals have had games scheduled on 27 of 32 days. They’ve actually played a full, official game on only 23 of them.

Guess what? It doesn’t look very good for tomorrow either. At least that’s a White Sox series which could feasibly be made up relatively easily.

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