By Ben Walker
ST. LOUIS — Colby Lewis and his Texas teammates casually tossed a ball in left field, trying to avoid the tarp and any anxiety about being so close to the World Series championship.
Game 6 was postponed Wednesday because of an accurate wet forecast, delaying the Rangers’ bid to clinch their first championship.
Ahead 3-2, they can close out the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. It’s likely to be clear with temperatures in the low 50s at Busch Stadium.
“We’re not getting antsy, we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. We just have to wait,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Lewis is set to start against Jaime Garcia. If there’s a Game 7 Friday night, it’ll be Matt Harrison for Texas against, well, no telling.
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa playfully mentioned the great Bob Gibson, but ace Chris Carpenter on three days’ rest looms as a possibility.
“It’s already been asked about Carp,” La Russa said. “I was told by Carp that he would be ready to go.”
The postponement came after a travel day for the teams. This two-day gap is the longest at the World Series since 1989, when the Bay Area earthquake left the Athletics and Giants idle for 11 days.
“It’s just a rainout, that’s it,” Texas star Michael Young said. “I don’t know if people think we’re going to sit in our hotel rooms all night biting our nails. We’re going to get something to eat, get some rest and be ready to go.”
After a damp season and postseason, Major League Baseball announced the decision about 4½ hours before the scheduled first pitch.
At the time, no drops had fallen at the ballpark.
“I’m not even sure why they canceled it,” Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman said. “This is better than the weather for Game 1. I guess I’m going to lie back on the couch like a big, fat pig and watch a movie.”
By late afternoon, a light mist turned to drizzle and then to steady rain. More showers were on the way throughout the night.
Because of the debate about how to handle that situation MLB adopted a rule a few months later mandating that any postseason game stopped in progress would be resumed at the point of suspension, rather than being postponed and starting over.
This marked the latest rainout at a Series since 1986, when Game 7 between the Red Sox and Mets was pushed back by a day.
MLB executive Joe Torre said he alerted Washington and La Russa on Tuesday that a postponement was possible.
Rain was in “every forecast we had probably for the last three days,” Torre said at a news conference. “They were all consistent there was going to be rain during the game.”
Looking at Commissioner Bud Selig, Torre asked: “Do you want to play in rain?”
During the AL championship series, a game between Detroit and the Rangers in Texas was called because of a predicted storm that never arrived. This time, it came.
Baseball began the playoffs a week earlier this year than last season, intending to have the World Series conclude before November. MLB also hoped the adjustment could help avoid a chilly finish for the championship. It was in the 40s and raw last week for Game 1.
It was in the 70s and clear at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. A perfect night to play, but it was a travel day for Texas and St. Louis.
Banged-up Texas star Josh Hamilton took the rainout in stride.
“You don’t have to get worked up, hyped up to get into game mode and then shut it down,” he said. “We know early, so we’re able to come out here, get some swings in the cage, throw a bit. And it’s smart for the pitchers, too, they don’t have to get up, get going, have a rain delay, sit down.”