Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio

 

I'll say it again: MLB needs a fan 'opt out' rain delay policy

MLB's rain delay policy unfair to fans

Thursday night's Reds game started at 6:40.

The game lasted 2-hours 54-minutes. The rain delay lasted 2-hours 42-minutes. The game ended around 12:16 Friday morning.

That's a total of 5-hours 36-minutes from first pitch to last out.

Imagine planning your evening at the ballpark and having to block out nearly six hours? Who would do that?

I write this every season........

I don't think MLB shows enough consideration and compassion for fans inconvenienced by rain delays.

Extended rain delays at MLB games are an unfair hardship on fans. What are the chances that a fan and/or a family can stay until the end of a game impacted by a rain relay of 90 minutes or more?

Fans should not be forced to stick out a rain delay, just because they bought tickets and the game will eventually be played and/or completed.

I get that purchasing a ticket to an outdoor event comes with built in risk. There is not a clock in baseball, so there is no guarantee when the game will end. And MLB teams can't control Mother Nature. But times have changed. The pace of our lives have changed. Time is money. Our time is valuable. 

As is, fans have to suck it up and endure a rain delay to see completion of the game or walk away and forfeit their ticket purchase if the game hasn't started.

It's fair to ask a fan to block out three hours for the "game experience" (about the average length of MLB games). But it's above and beyond unfair to expect a fan to adjust on the fly and cover nearly six hours like Thursday at GABP. It impacts people that have to work the next morning and kids that have school.

It's just not a good business policy for MLB. MLB should announce a league wide policy aimed at showing compassion for fans.

MLB should implement a league wide "opt-out" policy for rain delays. If a rain delay lasts at least 90-minutes fans should have the option to leave and receive a a free ticket voucher for another game, based on availability. 

The move would be a win, win. MLB would come off as more fan friendly, rather than putting the screws to fans in a game of "gotcha". 

Under my plan, when a rain delay hits 90-minutes, either consecutively or in combination during a game, an in-stadium announcement would be made:

"Fans, the Reds and MLB thank you for attending tonight's game. Our rain delay has now hit 90-minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience and understand the value of your time. We hope to play baseball today and we hope you can stick around. If you cannot stick around, please feel free to head home safely at this point. As you depart, a stadium attendant positioned at the gates will present to you a free ticket voucher to come back and see us at a later date. Your voucher will be subject to availability. Thanks for supporting Reds baseball. Go Reds!" 

At that point fans get to make a choice. They are not forced by current policy to stick around in order to get value for the tickets they've purchased.

What does MLB have to lose? MLB has already made money off fans that night who have already paid for parking, purchased concessions, maybe even bought a souvenir. 

Think of how miserable fans had to be feeling last night as the rain delay approached three hours.

Imagine the change in mood for fans had they been handed free ticket vouchers to come back and try the experience another time.

Treat fans with understanding and compassion and they will come back and do it again. 

My idea can't be too crazy. The Kansas City Royals offered the following during their Opening Day rain delay this season:


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