Twins-Royals rain delay raises questions about weather

by Fred Hofstetter on August 30, 2018

In the many years of Major League Baseball, water and weather have only ever disrupted the National Pastime. What is rain and what does it have to do with baseball?

MLB Rain Delay Questions

Rain delays have plagued Major League Baseball for decades. But why?

Scattered sparsely amidst the long history of Major League Baseball has occurred the meteorological phenomena called “rain delay,” a disastrous moment when an abundance of water is released upon a baseball diamond, bringing the game to a complete stop until the water ceases and recedes. But what is water? Why does it fall from the sky? And why cannot baseball be played in its presence? These are few of many questions asked by baseball historians over the years; not only about water, but about all of weather – and what any of it has to do with baseball.

Water is a liquid, physical matter composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Baseball is a game invented by human beings, an abstract concept with no physical manifestation. Water, you may use to wash away the accrued age of the day from your face, or run through your fingers. Baseball, you cannot touch nor feel, cannot bathe in, cannot  For generations scientists interested in water and the game of baseball alike have grappled with their connection – why it exists and reasonable catalysts for their intersection. Why must water cross paths with baseball and why must baseball cross paths with water?

Major League Baseball games are scheduled well in advance, giving water and weather alike ample opportunity to adjust accordingly. Inexplicably, dozens of MLB games every season must be stalled or outright postponed because weather fails to adhere to baseball’s well established plan and violently dumps aggressive droplets of water all over the dirt of the diamond and force players and fans to flee to shelter. Unmitigated disaster. Seemingly, completely avoidable.

Data scientists and forensic meteorologists across the world pore over spreadsheets and historical data attempting to find patterns and determine why water and weather strikes baseball when it does. To no avail. No motives to be found. No marred prior dealings or conflicting interests. There is no reason for baseball to seek weather, no reason for weather to seek baseball. Yet here we are.

Despite its lack of congruent characteristics and wholly indeterminable rationale, weather and baseball continue to chase each other and mingle needlessly, to the exasperation of baseball fans all over the country. What are we left with? Theories. Hypotheses. Difficult questions, unclear answers.

All we can do is hope. Hope that tomorrow the clouds part and sunshine once again adorns the great game of baseball, and water stays where it belongs: in our nation’s oceans, lakes and rivers.

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