PITTSBURGH (AP) — A game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres was delayed 45 minutes Thursday due to poor weather conditions caused by lingering smoke from forest fires in Canada.
Moments before the scheduled start time of 12:35 p.m., the game was pushed to 1:20 p.m. During the delay, the hijackers released a statement saying they would continue to take weather conditions into account and air quality index.
The game started with the lights on at foggy PNC Park, and Pirates star Andrew McCutchen donned a face mask to run the bases after hitting a single in the first inning. Several thousand fans, including many children, were present for the afternoon game.
“After collaborative discussions between Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, our team of expert medical providers at Allegheny Health Network, our players and staff, we have made the decision to move forward with our game today,” says the Pirates. read. “We will continue to closely monitor the Air Quality Index levels around the stadium and respond accordingly.”
Air quality was also a concern before a 7-1 win for the Pirates on Wednesday. Thursday’s game was the final of a three-game series.
On Wednesday, Padres manager Bob Melvin said he was told Major League Baseball would consider postponing a game if the air quality index reached at least 200. The index was 189 when the delay was announced on Thursday.
Poor air quality caused by forest fires in Canada has also resulted in match reports in New York and Philadelphia this month.
“I don’t really know why we play. It seems like everyone is a little uneducated about it, which is too bad,” Pittsburgh wide receiver Austin Hedges said Thursday morning, before the delay was announced. “It’s as clear as day when you look at your phone and check the numbers. Like, it says you’re not dating. They don’t tell you not to go out and they don’t say it for no reason. We are no different from other humans.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he would be mindful of players with allergies or asthma.
“Just make sure you’re very vocal with us in terms of how you feel or what you do,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said ahead of Wednesday’s game. “We certainly don’t want to put anyone at risk. … I think everyone has the concern and the health, not only of the players, but of the people watching the game at the forefront of their minds.
Melvin had a similar experience as manager of the Oakland Athletics on September 14, 2020, when a doubleheader in Seattle was played with poor air quality.
“I’ve been there before. Two hundred is kind of the level at which they’re looking at potentially having meetings,” Melvin said. “Seattle, we played in that game when it was 240 or whatever. … We were the guinea pig for that one.