BOSTON -- By the time the Red Sox arrived to work for a day-night doubleheader on Thursday, it had been well-publicized by Rays player rep Ben Zobrist that his team was against the idea of making up Wednesday's postponement so quickly.
Perhaps because the Rays have been struggling as a team of late and don't have their pitching lined up as they'd like, a makeup date later in the season seemed preferable.
But thanks to an obscure clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that few people knew about, the Red Sox had final say.
"I do know there was a lot of dialogue back and forth on the makeup date," said manager John Farrell. "I'm aware of the provision I think the Cubs and we have when it comes to scheduling. Rainouts at times can be tough to find a date that's beneficial to both if there is such a thing. We settled on today."
Section C of the CBA states that teams may schedule split doubleheaders to make up postponements, so long as the clubs involved do not have more than four such doubleheaders already on the schedule, if "ticket sales for the game at the time of postponement exceed … the number of comparable tickets available to be exchanged by the club for the balance of the championship season, and both the postponed and rescheduled game occur in the last regularly scheduled series."
That section of the CBA also notes that "the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs shall have the right to reschedule a postponed game as a split doubleheader to be played in, respectively, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, even if the criteria set out … above are not met. Scheduling a postponed game as part of a conventional doubleheader will not be considered a practical alternative."
In truth, there is never an ideal time to make up a game.
"One thing we can't predict is what the future holds," said Farrell. "You set this date for an off-day or a mutual off-day late in September, and then we have a number of teams that comes in here [just] one time and it's somewhat an off-day around the game. So it provides some flexibility if weather hits us for a National League team that comes here only once. You take that away, now all of a sudden we're looking at the potential of adding games at the end of the year, if we get into a rainout situation. Again, you're trying to factor in as many things as possible and flexibility in the schedule is one of them."