Roof at Minute Maid will be open for Game 3
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.
"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 four 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 gametime 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.
"I need to get a new life, because I sat and watched The Weather Channel all day determining about low temperatures, high temperatures, medium temperatures," Selig said.
The Astros like playing with the roof closed because, among other things, it increases the noise. They were not thrilled with the decision.
"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."
It didn't seem to hurt them at the start. There was a high decibel level at the beginning when Lance Berkman's first-inning single put them ahead.
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 under 80 degrees and there is no rain. Astros spokeswoman Lisa Ramsperger said there are no specific guidelines.
"I think it's a disregard to our fans, the comfort of our fans," Astros manager Phil Garner said.
Solomon said that the forecast is favorable for the rest of the week and that the roof is likely to be open for all games in Houston. The Astros played their first five postseason games this year with the roof closed. Solomon said the temperature was over 80 degrees for all except Game 3 of the first-round series against Atlanta.
"By the time we got here to look at the roof it was already there and we could not change it in time," he said.
During the regular season, the Astros were 36-17 at home when the roof was closed, 15-11 when it was rolled back and 2-0 in games that began indoors and finished in fresh air. It was open just twice after May -- for a pair of games against the Chicago Cubs during the final series of the regular season.
"This is part of our home-field advantage and for Major League Baseball to try and change that is either a) ridiculous or b) they're American League fans," Astros catcher Brad Ausmus said.
Selig had a different view.
"The only factor that should determine it is weather," he said. "We don't do things to give teams competitive advantages in anything."
White Sox outfielder Aaron Rowand cited his experiences in the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
"When it's packed, that place is loud. I'd doubt if it's louder than that," he said. "Close the damn thing, it doesn't matter to us. Everybody is making a big deal about the roof. I don't think anybody cares whether it's closed or open."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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