when can a baseball game be called due to rain

When can a baseball game be called due to rain?

If it starts raining during a baseball game, it can cause interruptions and even result in the game being canceled.

There are multiple factors that come into play when deciding whether a baseball game can be called off due to rain.

And it is actually important to learn about scenarios when calling a baseball game due to rain becomes inevitable.

And this also answers the question, “Why can’t baseball be played in the rain?”

A baseball game may be called due to rain based on its duration and intensity, the state of the field, safety concerns, and the official rules and regulations governing the game.  

When Can a Baseball Game Be Called Due to Rain?

rain-induced baseball game cancellation criteria

Baseball games can be greatly affected by rain, which may require officials to cancel or pause the game to ensure the safety of the players and the fairness of the competition.

In case of a rainout, the game that is impacted can be either postponed, delayed, or rescheduled.

In case of unfavorable weather conditions, the event may be rescheduled or delayed, and the game is typically played at a later time on the same day, after the weather has improved.

Making the decision to cancel a baseball game due to rain requires a thoughtful evaluation of multiple factors, such as the following:  

Intensity and Duration of Rainfall

intensity and duration of rainfall

Determining the appropriate time to cancel a baseball game heavily relies on the duration and strength of the rainfall.

Suspending play may not be necessary right away for light drizzles or occasional showers, especially if they are predicted to stop shortly.

Nonetheless, the field conditions can become unplayable and pose safety hazards due to heavy rain or extended periods of rainfall.

Referees and judges keep an eye on weather predictions and radar to assess the strength and length of rainfall.

This helps them to arrive at a knowledgeable verdict based on the changing weather patterns.

Fact: Under the new regulation, umpires no longer have to call a game off due to rain if it is less than the fifth inning. 

Field Conditions

field conditions

Assessing the state of the field is a crucial factor in deciding whether a baseball match should be postponed due to rainfall.

Prolonged exposure to rain can result in waterlogging, which can cause muddy and slippery conditions that put players at risk and undermine the integrity of the game.

A thorough evaluation is conducted on the infield, outfield, pitcher’s mound, and base paths to determine how the rain has affected their functionality.

The collaboration between umpires and groundskeepers is crucial in assessing the surface conditions to guarantee the safety of players while running, fielding, throwing, and sliding. 

Competitive Integrity

competitive integrity

Preserving the authenticity of the sport is a crucial element of baseball.

Therefore, it is important to consider how rain would affect the playing conditions, which may ultimately suit one of the teams.

The occurrence of rain can bring in unforeseeable factors that affect the fairness of the game and give an advantage to a particular team.

When rain has a significant impact on the ball’s trajectory or movement, officials may choose to suspend or delay the game to prevent unfair advantages or disadvantages.

Maintaining fairness between the teams and upholding the competition’s credibility is of utmost importance when determining whether to proceed with or cancel a baseball game due to rain.

Fact: It is interesting to know that a rain delay can also occur even before the start of a baseball game. 

League Regulations

league regulations

Various baseball leagues and associations may have particular guidelines and protocols concerning rain delays and game suspensions.

The guidelines specify the standards and protocols for deciding when a match is eligible to be postponed because of rain.

A set of guidelines is given to umpires, officials, and team managers to maintain uniformity throughout various games and locations.

When faced with unfavorable weather conditions, umpires refer to the rules and regulations of the league to determine whether to continue or halt play.

Fact: Umpires in baseball games must wait 75 minutes after the start of bad weather before calling a postponement. 

Why Can’t Baseball be Played in the Rain?

rain's impact on baseball gameplay

Baseball is a beloved outdoor sport and millions of fans worldwide enjoy playing and watching baseball.

However, the game encounters several obstacles when it comes to playing in unfavorable weather conditions, especially during rainfall.

Baseball is a sport that faces unique challenges when it comes to rain.

Unlike other sports that may benefit from the unpredictability and thrill of rain, baseball struggles due to the nature of the game and the specialized equipment required.

Let’s discuss a bit about the reasons why baseball cannot be played in the rain: 

Safety Concerns

safety concerns

The safety of the players is a major concern when it comes to playing baseball in the rain, which is why it is not allowed.

It can be difficult to maintain balance and execute precise movements when the field is wet and slippery.

Wet fields can increase the risk of accidents and injuries for players running at high speeds, diving for catches, or sliding into bases.

Furthermore, precipitation has the potential to reduce visibility, which can create challenges for outfielders attempting to follow the ball or for batters trying to assess the velocity and path of pitches. 

Damage to Equipment

damage to equipment

The game of baseball is highly dependent on a range of equipment, such as baseballs, gloves, bats, and safety gear.

These crucial items can be negatively impacted by rainfall.

When baseballs get wet due to rain, they tend to become heavy and waterlogged, which can have a negative impact on their consistency and flight.

Leather gloves that are soaked with water tend to lose their flexibility, which could result in mistakes or missed catches.

Likewise, when wooden bats get wet, they can become slick, leading to reduced handling and weakened performance.

Prolonged exposure to rain may cause lasting harm to the equipment, decreasing its longevity and potentially necessitating more frequent replacements.

Fact: The record for the longest rain delay in NLB history was set in 1990, at Comiskey Park in Chicago, which lasted 7 hours and 23 minutes. 

Damage to Playing Surfaces

damage to playing surfaces

Rain can cause considerable harm to playing surfaces, especially the pitcher’s mound and infield.

The constant contact of players with the ground and their movements can lead to the formation of muddy and uneven conditions.

This can pose a challenge for players to run, field, or throw accurately.

The risk of injuries is heightened by these conditions, which also impact the players’ performance.

In addition, an overabundance of rainfall may result in water accumulation and flooding on the field, rendering it impractical for the match to continue. 

Fair Play

fair play

The occurrence of rain during a baseball game can create an uncertain situation that undermines the fairness and competitiveness of the sport.

The presence of moisture on the field can lead to unpredictable ball bounces or skips, potentially giving an advantage to one team over the other.

For a fair competition, it is crucial to maintain uniform playing conditions that enable both teams to participate on an equal level.

The unevenness of the playing field caused by rain can lead to an unfair and imbalanced outcome.

In order to ensure a fair and just game, it may be necessary to delay or halt play until circumstances improve and create an equal opportunity for both teams. 

Umpire’s Decision

umpire's decision

The umpire holds the final say on whether or not to play baseball in rainy conditions.

Referees take into account various aspects such as the intensity and length of the precipitation, the state of the field, the well-being of the athletes, and so on.

Ensuring a secure and equitable atmosphere for all participants is their topmost priority.

That is the reason why it is generally not preferred to play baseball in rainy conditions.


When can a baseball game be called due to rain? The decision to cancel a baseball game because of rain is a multifaceted one that considers various aspects.

Ensuring the safety of players and maintaining the integrity of the field conditions is of utmost importance.

Although it may be disappointing for fans, rainouts are crucial to safeguard the well-being of the players and maintain the authenticity of the sport.