Why Baseball is not Played in the Rain?

People usually can find other sports being played in rain, but baseball may certainly be an exception (well, at least most of the time).

Even though the most loved game, Baseball is played mostly during the time near and between summer, rain cannot be certainly avoided at places and times. But if there’s heavy rain, in such cases, usually Double-headers or Rainouts are called.

But why baseball is not played in the rain? Why are games usually canceled or postponed during rain? Let’s find out!

5 Reasons why Baseball is Not Played in the Rain

Poor Fielding Conditions

One of the biggest reasons you’ll see the game getting delayed or stopped is because of the impact of the rain on the baseball field.

Whenever such a thing happens, you’ll generally see the infield getting covered by a large tarp. Covering the infield with the tarp ensures the little possibility of continuing the game after the rain has stopped. Therefore the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box, which are the crucial spots within the infield and are the most prone to getting degenerated, are covered and protected to save that little possibility. 

Also, another related issue is the slipperiness of the field. An overly-heard reason is a possibility of the offense getting an edge due to the poor fielding conditions. This is because fielders can get injured while trying to get their traction on the field for perfect catches. Friction, which normally would help you in the grass, becomes your adversary at play.

Risk of injury

Normally there are obviously some risks while playing any sort of game, but the risk gets ten-fold higher with the rain coming down on the field and the players. 

There are different types of risks involved when there’s rain pouring down on you and the field. When the hitter hits the ball and runs, or when the catcher tries to run for the catch, both pose a similar risk of slipping and getting themselves hurt. 

No team, especially the top demanded players, would want to get themselves down in the game by getting one of themselves injured seriously. Unlike other sports where they have their bodies covered fairly to protect themselves, baseball hardly has any protection as such.

Equipment Handling becomes Difficult

Concerns for slippery baseballs

It is crucial for the pitcher to have a good grip on the ball since they have good control of the speed while throwing it. If the grip becomes tough, the speed and the trajectory of the ball can change and cause injury for the hitter.

Some people also say that the rain can help a pitcher play spitball, which is an illegal pitch.

Effects on baseballs

It is a general rule to play with unaltered baseballs fairly regularly because playing with the same ball deteriorates its quality. The dirt infield turning into mud due to rain can ruin the quality of the ball, discoloring it, making it wet and heavy which also poses a risk besides creating visual problems for the defense side to catch the ball.

Tough Batter’s Play

Bats become quite tough to play with when it’s pouring down hard. No safety equipment can ensure the bat does not become slippery during the rain. It poses a great risk for the players who are in close contact with the hitter.

The odds in offense’s favour

The offense gets an undue advantage in the game due to the rain since the pitchers usually try to throw the ball slower to have better control. It gets quite difficult for the fielders to see the small ball when it’s raining, which makes it easier for the offense to score. 

Rain and its effects

With rain, there come visibility issues such as catching the small ball with the eye when it’s in the rain, and also due to the low light conditions resulting from the clouds in the area. This can also become troublesome for the hitters to notice the spin delivered by the pitchers.

Another great risk is of the thundering striking the batter, which no one would want and can be a disheartening sight to see.

Other general player safety and risks

As a general precaution, the games are usually delayed or stopped during rain for everyone’s safety and fair play. There may be numerous reasons why an umpire delays the game, such as lightning, fields ruined by slipperiness and puddles, visibility issues, and unplayable conditions due to heavy downpours.

Therefore, since these give a great risk of injuries for both offense and defense and result in undue advantages and disadvantages, as a precaution baseball is generally not played in fairly heavy rain. 

Baseball Rain delay rules for 2021 MLB 

For the 2020 MLB season, a new rule for rain delay was presented. It stated that if the rain affects a game before it has started officially by the umpires, the game is suspended and all the stats recorded until then still count. The game is then postponed to when both the teams are able to play fairly, generally in the form of doubleheaders.

This was the rule for the 2020 season, but since our world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the rule remained unchanged and was put in place for the next season, that is, for 2021 MLB as well. This may not have been an official announcement but it is anticipated so that this new rain delay rule will remain. 

Do the Same Rainout Rules Apply for Little League or High School Baseball?

To answer it basically, as for Little League or High School Baseball generally the umpires decide if the rain delays should be called depending on the weather conditions in and/or around the stadium if it becomes bothersome to play.

As the rules for college baseball, Little League and High School baseball games are subject to rain delays if it is raining. These rain delays will be called by the umpire should the weather conditions inside or outside of the stadium become too severe for play to continue without any issues.

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