You see the darndest things in spring training games.
Friday’s game between the Astros and Braves at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports concluded in a way not normally seen during the regular season. And it could have potentially been avoided had Jason Grilli … worked a little slower.
Grilli struck out Matt Duffy, and as Jon Singleton stepped into the batter’s box the sky continued to grow darker. Grilli caught Singleton looking at a 3-2 pitch just as a torrential downpour began in Lake Buena Vista. Thirty-one minutes later, the game was ruled a tie in accordance with Official Baseball Rule 7.02(4)(B):
“If such game has progressed far enough to become a regulation game, and the score is tied, the game shall be declared a “tie game”…”
Tie games are fairly common in spring training, especially in Florida.
But rule 7.02(4)(B) continues – so please turn your hymnals to page 87:
“…unless the game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to tie the game, and the home team has not retied the game, in which case the score upon the completion of the last full inning shall stand for purposes of this Rule…”
So if Jason Grilli had NOT completed his strikeout of Singleton before the rain turned Champion Stadium into a swamp, the game would have reverted BY RULE back to the completion of the sixth inning – giving the Braves a 1-0 VICTORY.
To paraphrase what Aesop once wrote and Disney once animated, “Slow and steady WINS.”