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10/04/06 11:46 PM ET

ALDS Game 2 in Bronx postponed

Forecast forces Yankees and Tigers to play Thursday

NEW YORK -- Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium was postponed Wednesday because of an ominous weather forecast that raised many questions and sent more than 50,000 fans home still waiting for the big rain.

The game is now scheduled at the same place for 1:09 p.m. ET on Thursday, which would have been workout day in Detroit.

Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, appeared in a news conference at 10:15 p.m. ET to explain the decision to postpone, citing the need to get in a full game and not waste two pitchers. The game had been scheduled to start at 8:10 p.m., but it was announced a half-hour earlier that it would be delayed for at least an hour or more. It was called off in what might have been roughly the seventh inning, well after the game could have been official.

"We wanted to get the game started -- we thought we could," Solomon explained. "The forecast indicated we could get in two, three innings tops and would have to stop again for an hour and a half, to two hours, we didn't want to burn up two pitchers if we had that coming through. We reconvened, talked, we had the Tigers representatives with us and we made a decision jointly with the Commissioner.

"Both teams wanted to get a full nine innings in, which is understandable. We all wanted to get that in. We did consult with both teams. They were willing to do whatever we thought was proper and in this case we all decided it was not proper to continue."

It was a strange situation for people at the ballpark, because throughout those entire two hours, fans were packed into the concourses and some out in the stands, with occasional light rain but rarely if ever any occurrence of the kind of bad weather that could be construed as absolutely unplayable. This was based entirely on weather reports MLB was looking at, a thick band of storms coming from the Northwest.

When the rain first stopped at 9:30 p.m., the tarp was removed from the field.

"At that point, we thought we would be able to go," Solomon said. "We then sat down and looked at the forecast again and decided to call both teams in. At that point, I don't know exactly the time at that point, but maybe 5 to 10 minutes thereafter, we decided we probably needed to look at the forecast more intently, because we didn't want to burn up two pitchers."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said of the decision-making process:

"I think they kept us up to date with the weather forecast, we had our own -- the Internet is everywhere -- you just draw up and put the radar map up and you see what's coming and it's still coming and there's two more waves coming. Although, yes, we were being updated, we saw it ourselves, the players saw it. I'm sure their players saw it. That's the way the clubhouses are set up nowadays, home and visiting, you have the radars in there and the big glob, we've all become somewhat amateur weather people but clearly [MLB's] contact is with the experts and they had multiple ones they rely on, as do we, when we're making the decision, I think the right call was made tonight."

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When asked if MLB has a weather consultant for such matters, Solomon explained it consults with a meteorologist.

"We also have radar down in the bowels of this building," Solomon added. "We go through this intently along with the head groundskeeper, crew chief, who also can read weather somewhat. But we do have an expert backing us up, yes."

With mobile phones rendered useless deep inside Yankee Stadium, Solomon said it was a matter of sending human beings to both clubs "and let them know what our thinking is at that time. So, I don't know who got there first or whether they got there simultaneously, but about the same time, yes, they both were informed."

The Tigers were reported to have scheduled Game 2 starter Justin Verlander warming up, while Yankees starter Mike Mussina was never in such a mode. That was the first question Solomon was asked, and he replied about Verlander: "I understand he did some soft tossing and some stretching, but he didn't do any real pitching."

Both pitchers are scheduled to start instead on Thursday.

Fans holding "Home Game 2" tickets for the rained-out game must use their tickets for the rescheduled game on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. Only "Home Game 2" tickets will be honored for that rescheduled game.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.