Editor’s note: Heavy rain began falling around 3 p.m. Tuesday across the Washington area, and the temperature dropped 12 degrees downtown, according to the Capital Weather Gang. The storm is expected to pass the immediate area by 6 p.m., but there is a chance of a second round between 7 and 11 p.m., which could impact the All-Star Game’s start time.
The last time baseball’s All-Star Game was played in Washington, in 1969, torrential rains caused a postponement, with the game eventually played at a soggy and humid RFK Stadium the following afternoon.
Since then, Major League Baseball has enjoyed a near-perfect record of avoiding weather-related issues, save for a 68-minute rain delay in 1990 at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, keeping alive its record of having never had its midseason showcase canceled because of weather.
But with rain in the forecast for Tuesday night, when the 89th All-Star Game is scheduled to be played at Nationals Park, league officials have begun discussing contingency plans in the event the game must be delayed or postponed.
“It would be dependent on a lot of factors — the forecast being the main one,” Pat Courtney, baseball’s chief communications officer, said Sunday. He said the league would be in close contact with both Fox Sports, its broadcast partner, and the MLB Players Association over any weather-related decisions.
The first priority would be to start on time Tuesday night, even if rain later in the evening forced a shortened game — as occurred in 1952 in Philadelphia. In 1961, the second of two All-Star Games held that summer ended in a 1-1 tie when the game was called for rain after the ninth inning. They remain the only rain-shortened All-Star Games.
If rain delays the start of Tuesday night’s game, every effort would still be made to get the game in, but there would be a point, probably sometime before 11 p.m., when the league would no longer want to start it. At that point, the focus could shift to Wednesday.
Although MLB controls the decision whether and when to start the game Tuesday night, a move to Wednesday would require coordination with the players’ union, owing to the travel plans of the players. The season’s second half used to start on the Thursday after the All-Star Game but now begins on the Friday after the game.
Forecasts can always change, of course. In Cincinnati in 2015, early forecasts called for rain on the night of the All-Star Game at Great American Ballpark but the forecast steadily improved and the game was played as scheduled without a drop of rain.
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