The Yankees made fans wait out a rain delay of nearly three hours just to turn them all home when Game 5 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Guardians was postponed Monday night. The game is rescheduled for 4:07 p.m., Tuesday at Yankee Stadium with Nestor Cortes starting instead of Jameson Taillon.
Facing a do-or-die situation with the series tied at 2-2, both teams, the league and the broadcast network, TBS, pushed to complete the game Monday night, according to an anonymous source who was in the meetings. The source told The Daily News’ Kristie Ackert that the situation was “terribly handled.”
“We had must have been six Zoom calls, at the very least with Major League Baseball, the Cleveland [Guardians], the manager and general manager on both teams,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “And obviously, the commissioner’s office said the forecast was that, at any point from 7:30, 8, 8:30, 9:00, at the latest, worst-case scenario, we could get this thing in, it’d be dry after.”
At 6:20 p.m., shortly before the scheduled 7:07 start, the Yankees and MLB announced the game would start in a delay. There were no official updates until the postponement came at 9:35 and fans remained in the dark. A packed Yankee Stadium crowd booed at the sight of the grounds crew packing up the dugouts shortly before the postponement was announced.
“Ultimately, we all thought we were gonna be here and certainly didn’t want to have fans sitting here all night,” Cashman said. “You know, they wanted to be here to watch a game and we wanted to certainly play a game and it just didn’t resolve itself that way.”
Meanwhile, much of the team had already departed the stadium before the 9:35 announcement. After the postponement was announced, Guardians manager Terry Francona addressed the media before the Yankees provided any update.
The club did discuss not opening the gates to the Stadium since initially, it looked as though the storm would clear up. The storm slowed down but a second system broke off and ended up over the Bronx.
“So obviously, it, adjusted the goalposts to some degree to closer to the worst case scenario but at no point was ever that we expected not to play,” Cashman said. “We expected to play. There was supposed to be — not a window — it was supposed to be clear. And then a new system popped up. I’d say, for the last [Zoom] call we had once things were taking a little longer to clear, and we were actually wrestling with the first pitch time. And then a new system popped up with moderate rain that was going to hit us in another 25 minutes and now we couldn’t start it again and now we had a whole new weather system that was not in the forecast whatsoever.”
The winner is scheduled to travel to Houston on Tuesday and face the Astros in Game 1 of the ALCS on Wednesday night. Rain impacted the start of the series last week with Game 2 being moved from Thursday to Friday, forcing a tight turnaround to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4. Between the bye, the off-day in between Games 1 and 2 and two postponements, the Yankees have only played four games over the last 17 days.
The decision to move the game to 4:07 was made by the league.
“It was all part of the decision-making with the commissioner’s office so every team had a chance to weigh in on a time,” Cashman said. “Ultimately the commissioner made it.”