Major League umpires will spend a vast majority of the year on the road and away from home. Hotels, airports, trains, planes and automobiles will be home to every umpire from March to October. This is an ongoing series entitled “Umpire Life on the Road”.
June 1, 2011 Day 81 on the road – When the Lights went out in
Georgia St. Louis
In the bottom of the 11th inning, with two outs and a runner at first base, the Giants were leading the Cardinals 7-5. On the 1-1 pitch, a bank of lights over home plate went out just as the catcher caught the pitch.
We have seen these light failures on occasion and typically the lights are the result of a bad breaker. The fix is to turn the bank off, let them cool and then restart them. Generally around a 15-20 minute delay. Due to the location of the malfunctioning lights being behind home plate, there was little alternative but to wait for the lights to come back on.
Had the lights not turned back on, and it was determined that the delay in repairing them would be either lengthy or unknown, the game would become a suspended game to be completed at a future date and time. The following rule would apply in this situation:
Had a pitch or play been in progress and we could not follow such play due to the light failure, then the following rule interpretation would apply:
Play: Batter hits ball out of ballpark for home run. After the ball has left the park and runners are rounding the bases, light failure occurs. Ruling: When the lights are restored, runners are allowed to run bases in accordance with base-running rules.
The lights did come back on in just under 15 minutes, and play resumed. A single pitch was thrown and the final out was recorded to end the game. Myself and the crew leave the ballpark that night just a minute shy of our 82 second day on the road.