MLB Rain Delay Rules Explained: A Guide for Baseball Fans

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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mlb rain delay rules

Baseball games are played outdoors, in open fields where spectators can see. Everyone expects a fun day at the ballpark with the sun out, but that is not always the case. Rainy days are due to come.

So, what happens to an MLB game when it starts pouring? According to the MLB rain delay rules, a game could be halted during inclement weather until the umpire decides the weather improves enough for it to continue.

What Are MLB Rain Delay Rules?


Delays in baseball games due to natural reasons happen all the time, as there’s no way we can say for sure what the weather’s going to be like. Seasons change and rain might come without a warning.

A lot of baseball games get canceled for rain, more frequently than you think. So, what are the conditions for rain delays in baseball according to the MLB’s rules?

During inclement weather, or bad weather conditions, the umpire has the authority to halt, even to cancel, a baseball game. The players are instructed to head inside the dugout while the officials wait for any signs of improvement in the weather condition. When delays happen, umpires cover the infield site with tarpaulins, unless the game is played in a closed-off stadium.

In this situation, a baseball rainout could result in games being postponed, canceled, or rescheduled to another date and time. In the last scenario, spectators’ tickets could be used as a rain check, and deemed valid in rescheduled games.

Purposes of MLB Rainout Rules

The main purpose of the MLB rainout rules is to maintain the safety of players during games. When the rain is light and is expected to clear out immediately, players could still be out on the field and continue to stride in the game. However, it’s a whole different ball game when the rain comes pouring down.

When a baseball game is called due to rain, it prevents possible risks and harms brought about by lightning, slippery ground, or even low visibility that hinders players to perform optimally.

If the weather obstructs the player’s ability or poses potential threats, then calling a

Official Rules for MLB Rain Delay


The official rules for rain delays, or rainouts, in Major League Baseball are outlined in the Official Baseball Rules, published and maintained by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.

The following are the key points of these rules:

  1. Delayed Game: If a game is delayed due to rain or other inclement weather, the umpire-in-chief is responsible for determining if and when the game will be called off.
  2. Game Time: If the game has not started and there is a delay before the game is called, it will be started at a later time. The delay can last for as long as the umpire-in-chief determines it is necessary.
  3. Suspended Game: If the game has started and is stopped due to rain or other weather conditions, the umpire-in-chief may suspend the game until the weather clears up. The game can be suspended for up to 90 minutes.
  4. Resumed Game: If the game is suspended, it will be resumed from the point where it was stopped once the weather clears up. The umpire-in-chief is responsible for setting the time when the game will be resumed.
  5. Postponed Game: If the game is called off due to weather or other conditions, it will be postponed to a later date. The postponed game will be replayed from the beginning, at a later date and time.
  6. Home Run: If a home run is hit during a delayed or suspended game, it will count as long as the game is completed. If the game is called off or postponed, the home run will not count.

Depending on the specific circumstances of each game, the umpire-in-chief has the final authority in determining how these rules will be applied.

Other Types of Weather Delays in Baseball

Aside from the delays caused by rain, there are other weather conditions that could affect the state of baseball games.

1. Lightning Delays


Lightning delays are given the most precaution amongst all other types of weather condition delays. It is destructive and could be fatal.

This type of weather, although being the most dangerous, is treated with the same delay rules as the other.

2. Fog Delays


This type of weather condition, although not destructive in terms of intensity, is considered a heavy inconvenience for both the players and spectators alike from properly navigating the field.

Fogging can last up to months, resulting in a long delay. The umpire-in-chief or the official will decide when to resume the game.

3. Snow Delays


Unlike rain and lightning delays where umpires wait for the weather to improve, delays caused by snow often take longer.

Take the Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners game in 2007 for example. This game, which took place at Jacobs Field, was postponed due to a snowstorm. The teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader the next day, but that was also postponed due to cold temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions


How many innings must be played in a rain delay?

People often wonder: “How many innings for a rain delay to count?” There is actually no required number of innings played before the umpire sets a rain delay or even rain cancellation in baseball.

A rain delay can be called before and during a game. As long as the decision adheres to the rules stated above, all is good.

How long is a rain delay before a game called?

Generally, the umpires are tasked to determine whether to declare a rain delay or rainout. In a normal rain delay, they are encouraged to wait until the rain has gone by to continue the play but of course, there should be an allotted time to see whether the weather improves or not.

So, what is the MLB rain delay time limit? There is an allotted 75 minutes for umpires to wait whether or not they should call a rain delay. Consequently, the umpire must wait for 3 hours before declaring a rainout.

What happens if a baseball game gets rained out?

According to MLB postseason rain delay rules which are also similar to college baseball rain delay rules, below are the scenarios that could happen when a game get obstructed by heavy rain:

  • When the rain pours hard before the game started, the game could be rescheduled to another date.
  • If the game gets rained out after completing the top half of the fifth inning and the home team is leading, then the home team wins as per the MLB rain delay win rules.
  • When a game gets rained out during the bottom half of the fifth inning, whichever team leads in scoring wins the game.

Rain delay vs. rainout: what is the difference?

There is a huge difference between the terms “rain delay” and “rainout” in MLB rules. Rain delays, refer to games that are paused or halted, and would resume on the same day once the weather condition gets better.

On the other hand, rainouts happen when the game is postponed and rescheduled to a later date, as the weather during that day has no signs of being cleared out.

What is the longest rain delay in MLB history?

The longest rain delay in all MLB history happened at Comiskey Park, Chicago on August 12, 1990. The delay was approximately 7 hours and 23 minutes.

How long can a rain delay last in MLB?

The duration of a rain delay depends on the umpire’s decision. There’s really no rule on how long a rain delay could last. The umpire will allow the game to resume when he decides the weather has improved enough.

How many innings in baseball playoffs?

Just like a regular game in MLB, baseball playoffs consist of 9 innings per game. The number of postseason innings is the same as that of the regular ones.

Rules in rain delay baseball betting

In cases where the game is postponed just before a player hits the first pitch, the wager, by all means, shall be considered void.

What are MLB suspended game rules?

By definition, an MLB suspended game is one when a baseball game ends early and shall be completed, resumed, or rescheduled to another date since its termination. However, we have to note that a terminated game is not the same as a suspended game.


The weather has a much bigger role in sports than you may think, especially for those played on open fields. When the sun shines brightly on the field, the play goes on. But when it starts to rain, there’s a chance that a delay will happen.

The MLB rain delay rules can be confusing. We’ve tried our best to make them easier for you to digest. It is in our greatest hopes that we have brought forth new knowledge about baseball.

That’d be all for now. See you next time!

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