HOUSTON – Major League Baseball pulled the roof out from over the Houston Astros’ heads.
Over the objections of the Astros, the commissioner’s office ordered the roof open at Minute Maid Park for Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday night and said all games in Houston this week are likely to be played outdoors.
The decision rankled the Astros, who feel like the top’s been popped off their home-field advantage. Houston prefers to keep a lid on their crowd noise, and believes there’s a connection between its 36-17 closed-roof home record, compared with 15-11 when it was rolled back during the regular season.
That might explain why the Astros opted to keep it closed for all but two of its regular-season games after May.
“I don’t think Major League Baseball should have the right to tell us about the roof,” Astros outfielder Lance Berkman said. “They’re trying to take the home-field advantage from us. I don’t think that’s right.”
Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, made the announcement on the field about 4 hours before the scheduled first pitch. The sky was cloudless when Solomon spoke.
“We’ve studied weather, winds, we’ve studied humidity. There isn’t a cloud within 800 miles of here,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “In Milwaukee, you don’t get a day like this until July Fourth.”
The game-time temperature was 61 degrees, and Selig said it would not get too cold for fans later in the evening. He cited baseball’s decision to order the roof be opened during the 2001 World Series at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.
“It’s almost like a road game for us now,” Astros first baseman Mike Lamb said. “We’re not used to playing with it open.”
Selig and Solomon said the commissioner’s office followed the Astros’ regular-season guidelines, which they said call for the roof to be open when the temperature is less than 80 degrees and there is no rain. Astros spokeswoman Lisa Ramsperger said there are no specific guidelines.
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