The suspension that never was from 1998 and Bud speaks
by Bob Timmermann
Back on October 2, 1998, the New York Yankees took a 2-0 lead into Game 3 of the ALDS at Arlington against the Rangers.
The Yankees led 4-0 after 8 innings when heavy rains and a tornado warning hit the area. The game was delayed for 3 hours and 16 minutes, but eventually the rain subsided and the Yankees were able to close out the game.
But would the game have ended after 8 innings if the rain hadn't stopped? News accounts from the day seem to indicate it would have been suspended anyway.
From Larry Whiteside of the Boston Globe:
After a delay of 3 hours 16 minutes while the wind and rain of this Texas twister raged, conditions finally cleared and the game was resumed, with the Yankees retaining their 4-0 cushion through eight innings.
Under normal circumstances, the game would have been suspended and resumed today at the point where it was stopped. But this situation left officials in a quandary. To suspend the game would have created a possible logistical nightmare for the fans and television networks covering the series.
Had the Rangers won after the game was resumed today, Game 4 would have followed -- but only after The Ballpark was cleared so fans holding tickets for today's regularly scheduled game could get to their seats. The allotted turnover time was to be a mere 30 minutes. Beyond that, NBC aired last night's game, but ESPN would carry Game 4.
Jamie Aron, Austin American-Statesman
The game didn't resume until 12:24 a.m. and ended at 1:26 a.m.
More than two inches of rain fell during the three-hour, 16-minute holdup, which threatened to cause the first suspended game in postseason history. Plans had been made to resume the game, if halted, today at 12:07 p.m. Around 5,000 of the 49,950 fans remained and were as loud as the full house had been.
UPDATE, 11:24: Selig just explained that if the Phillies had been ahead when play was stopped, the game would have technically entered a “rain delay.” That means that we would have waited here until conditions were playable again. But Selig specified that it would not have been called a Phillies victory. “I wasn’t about to let that happen,” he said.
Baseball has also had a rule that any game that is halted by rain won't resume after 12:45 am, which could still be in effect. Essentially, Selig could have ordered the game stopped by rain and then at some late hour, ordered the game "restarted" with no intention of restarting and then the game would have been suspended.