At 3:14 p.m., the Nationals announced the postponement of Monday’s game because of the Navy Yard shootings, more than six hours after the rampage began.
Shortly after noon, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced that the authorities were looking for two other potential shooters, with one shooter dead at the scene. But within the hour, a Braves spokesman said the team had been informed they were clear to head to Nationals Park. An hour later, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said players had been told they could come to the stadium, and he hadn’t been told of any postponement.
Even as authorities later asked people to stay away from the Navy Yard area, the Braves arrived from their Pentagon City hotel at Nationals Park. Some Nationals players trickled into the stadium. No official word came about the status of the game until the Nationals statement was circulated after 3 p.m.
“There’s a lot of [logistics] that go into cancelling a game for these reasons,” General Manager Mike Rizzo said of the delay. “We have to be in contact with federal authorities and the state, D.C., authorities to have a coordinated effort. And then whenever you cancel a game MLB is involved, and we have to go through the correct procedures for that.”
Rizzo said the Nationals felt it was inappropriate to make a decision until they had gathered all the information on the unfolding incident, and had all the proper team officials at the stadium.
“Because of the [logistics] that go into this and the immense coordination that it takes to make these decisions with federal, state and local authorities,” Rizzo said. “It’s just a timely process.”
MLB security officials had been in contact with the Nationals’ security office all day, according to a league official. MLB encouraged the Nationals to lean on the guidance of local authorities before making a decision about the game. The decision was ultimately made by the Nationals and the league office, and supported by Commissioner Bud Selig.
“The ownership and the front office of the Washington Nationals felt like it would be inappropriate [to play Monday],” Rizzo said.
Added Selig in a statement: “On behalf of the Nationals, the Braves and all of our Clubs, Major League Baseball mourns those who have been lost to this senseless tragedy, and our thoughts are with all those who have been affected. Under these circumstances, the appropriate action is to postpone tonight’s game in Washington.”
Dan Haren, who was slated to start Monday’s game, was the at stadium by 2 p.m., earlier than normal because of the surrounding street closures. Teammates were exchanging text messages all day, he said.
“I think the general consensus was we really didn’t want to play out of respect for the families and everyone involved,” Haren said. “Baseball obviously has to go on at some point but it’ll probably be a little too quick to come here and have fans come in here and try to get up for a baseball game because of how bad everyone feels for what happened.”