The roof at Globe Life Field was closed for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday because of inclement weather, the result being balls hit to the outfield carried 10-15 feet less than with the roof open.
“We played with it closed this summer and it didn't carry as much," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
That didn't deter Justin Turner in the first inning or Austin Barnes in the sixth. Both Dodgers homered.
Rain and thunderstorms rolled through the region Thursday night on the leading edge of a cold front. The forecast estimates the temperature dropping to 52 degrees by first pitch with winds at 13 mph, prompting MLB to make the decision.
“Given Friday’s forecasted temperatures, wind chill, and the possibility of rain, the Commissioner’s Office has determined that the roof of Globe Life Field will be closed for Game Three,” a league statement read. “MLB, which consulted with medical advisors in reaching this decision, believes that a closed roof will provide the best competitive environment for players and the most comfort for fans without jeopardizing their safety in any way.”
It was the first postseason game at Globe Life Field played with the roof closed. The first 12, including the first two games of the World Series, were played with the roof opened. The Dodgers played in all those games and dealt with strong winds in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves on Oct. 15.
Gusts were fluctuating at 6-15 mph at first pitch that night. Fly balls were deadened, dirt swirled into players’ eyes, jerseys flapped in the wind. The roof’s status was up to MLB. The league, citing having fans in the stands during the COVID-19 pandemic, decided it would only close the roof if rain was in the forecast.
“If you have a roof, I don’t know why you don’t close it,” Clayton Kershaw said after starting that game for the Dodgers. “I understand the COVID pandemic and things like that, but I don’t know if wind is any worse for it. It just seems like it was a little crazy enough to where they might want to close the roof. But it didn’t affect me much.”
During the regular season in the first year at Globe Life Field, the Texas Rangers played six games with the roof open and an average of 11.83 runs were scored with 3.83 home runs per game. They played 24 games with the roof closed and an average of 8.21 runs were scored with 1.79 home runs per game.
In 12 postseason games with the roof open, an average of 10.42 runs were scored with three home runs per game.
"[Rays catcher] Mike Zunino said he wanted that October atmosphere, that chill in the air, but at the same time, with rain in the forecast and you have a retractable roof, why not close it,” Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.