OAKLAND -- Perhaps the most stunning postponement of a game in Oakland A's history came almost out of nowhere Friday night when the 7:05 p.m. game against the Seattle Mariners was called off.

The infield, which hadn't been covered during overnight rains, was deemed unplayable by the A's, by the Mariners and by the umpires about 30 minutes after the scheduled start of the game.

It was the third postponement in seven days at the Coliseum, a facility legendary for getting games played. There hadn't been a Coliseum rainout since 1998 before this week, when the Bay Bridge game Saturday against the Giants and Tuesday's game with the Cleveland Indians were called off.

Grounds crews roll up the field tarp at the Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014.
Grounds crews roll up the field tarp at the Oakland Athletics vs. Seattle Mariners game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014. Officials ruled the field was unplayable due to wet conditions forcing tonight's game to be postponed. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) ( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )

David Rinetti, the A's longtime director of stadium operations, said the decision not to cover the stadium's infield overnight Thursday was made after talking with a weather consultant the club uses. The belief was that not much rain was going to fall and that after a week of heavy rain the infield would be the better for not having the tarp on it.

But then the heavens opened up.

"The field had taken a significant hit all week," Rinetti said. "We had information last night that there was going to be a break in the storm. And because of that, we wanted to use that opportunity to help dry out the field. Unfortunately, we were wrong on the amount of rain. We got about one-third of an inch of rain.


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"We got here this morning, and the infield was underwater. We did everything possible starting at 7 a.m. to get the field ready for tonight. Unfortunately, after we met with the managers and umpires, it was deemed that the field was not going to be ready to be played on."

There was some talk among the two sides about trying to get the field ready to play a doubleheader Saturday or Sunday, but ultimately the teams decided to make up the game later in the season. The Mariners come to town twice more, May 5-7 and Sept. 1-3.

General manager Billy Beane characterized the problem as an "unfortunate misinterpretation of the forecast."

The club didn't disclose the name of the person consulting on the weather forecast but said the club's head groundskeeper, Clay Wood, left off the tarp after getting the forecast.

The umpires, in the person of crew chief Fieldin Culbreth, said the A's had "a weather forecast that looked like it was going to be dry, then it rained, I guess significantly."

"At the end, (the field) was very soft," Culbreth said, "and probably just not playable for the standards of not only the game itself but for the health of the people who were going to be on the field."

A's reliever Sean Doolittle summed up the day as "ridiculous." Outfielder Sam Fuld called it "the weirdest thing ever."

A's bench coach Chip Hale said he'd been through something similar in the minor leagues when his Triple-A Tucson team lost three games to an untarped field. But Tucson was on the road "when a monsoon hit," Hale said, not at home as the A's are.

A's manager Bob Melvin said the postponement would push back Friday's scheduled starting pitcher, Dan Straily, to Saturday. On Friday, his opponent was supposed to be Chris Young. On Saturday, he draws Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

King Felix took the postponement in stride, saying he was "prepared to pitch tomorrow. That happens."

Presuming the grounds crew can get the field ready, that is. Rinetti and club president Mike Crowley walked the infield long after the announcement of the postponement was made, looking to see what needed to be done.

"We are doing everything possible to have the game be played tomorrow," Rinetti said.

That won't be of much consolation to the fans who were in their seats waiting for the game to start when the announcement of the postponement was made.

The booing was full of attitude.

  • The A's don't have a scheduled starter for Sunday. Tommy Milone was scheduled to follow Straily in the rotation, but opening day starter Sonny Gray would be pitching on regular rest, so it's possible Gray will go in place of Milone.

  • The A's and Mariners players would have had to give their permission to have a doubleheader Saturday or Sunday, and while the two sides kicked around the idea, no decision had to be made because it was going to be difficult enough to get the field ready for one game Saturday.

  • Not that the A's can take forecasts lightly, but the first two days they are out of town Monday and Tuesday in Minnesota, the Coliseum is scheduled to be bathed in sunshine and temperatures of 79, then 81 degrees.