KANSAS CITY, Mo. – What’s crazier than the Royals in first place in May?
How about a snowstorm at Kauffman Stadium in May?
The Royals’ bizarre start to the 2013 season rolled right along Thursday with a snowout (that’s not a typo) that likely prevented them from sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Royals were three outs away from that sweep – the Royals led, 1-0, through 3 ½ innings – when the umpiring crew called for the grounds crew to cover the rain-soaked infield. After waiting over two hours, the cold rain finally turned into snow, and the umpires had seen enough.
Reaction in the Royals’ clubhouse was mixed.
Veteran starter Ervin Santana, who struck out seven in four innings, said it was the worst conditions he had ever played in.
“It couldn’t be any worse, could it?” Santana said afterward. “….I don’t think it was safe. Guys were having trouble running.”
But some Royals saw it differently.
Left fielder Alex Gordon, who grew up in Nebraska, didn’t seem fazed by the bad conditions and obviously wasn’t freaked out by the snow.
“We made it through four innings,” Gordon said. “I don’t know why we couldn’t have gone one more. What’s the difference?”
All the stats from Thursday’s game will be wiped out, including Gordon’s RBI single that seemed poised to give the Royals (15-10) another win.
Gordon’s run-scoring shot that bounced off Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist and into right field scored Elliott Johnson from second base.
Johnson, too, questioned whether the game should have been delayed when it was.
“Of course, though, we’re biased,” Johnson said. “We’re up 1-0 and it looks like a win. Now, if we were behind, maybe we feel differently.
“But we were already out there and we had made it through four innings. You think you can go another inning or so, get the win, and I get a T-shirt for player of the game.”
The Royals’ frustration likely has been mounting from a series of postponements this season – three weather-related and, of course, the postponement in Boston because of the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.
In all, with open dates and postponements, the Royals have had nine off-days in exactly one month.
“That’s why when you get a chance to get one in,” Gordon said, “you’d sure like to do it.”
And the waiting around may get worse. The forecast in Kansas City isn’t good Friday and Saturday, with snow of possibly 1-3 inches predicted Friday, and then rain throughout the rest of the weekend. The White Sox are scheduled to play a weekend series at Kauffman Stadium.
“What can you do?” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “I can’t control the weather. I tried to once and it didn’t work out.”
Some of the players, namely Mike Moustaksas and Eric Hosmer, took to sliding in the snow on the stadium tarp after the game was called.
But others weren’t quite as amused by the conditions.
“It’s just hard to get any momentum going in the season,” Gordon said.
“We’re playing good ball and on a little roll,” Johnson said. “You’d sure like to be able to get more games in.”