Weather

Heavy rains threaten Kansas City Royals’ opening day but officials still hope to play

Pack rain gear along with your peanuts and Cracker Jacks if you’re headed to Kauffman Stadium for the Royals’ season opener against the Chicago White Sox Thursday afternoon.

A slow-moving cold front is expected to cross into the Kansas City area Thursday, bringing the possibility of several rounds of heavy rain that could persist on-and-off through Friday.

But Royals officials said they hope to play the game Thursday even if that means rain delays.

“The long and the short of it is that we’ll be doing everything we can to get the game in,” said Toby Cook, a spokesman for the Royals. “If it means a delay, we will do that. Our first priority is to play tomorrow.”

Between 1.5 and 2 inches of rain could fall in the Kansas City area Thursday through Friday. Some areas could see higher rainfall totals, especially if storms develop and follow a similar path through the area, according to the National Weather Service in Pleasant Hill.

Complicating the matter is that the storms on Thursday are expected to be isolated in nature rather than widespread at the time of the 3:15 p.m. game.

“We are hoping for a scenario where we get a long enough window to play,” Cook said.

Rain delays are possible. Typically, the shortest delays are a half hour. There have been delays of 2 1/2 hours before, Cook said.

If the game has to be postponed, the Royals hope to be able to announce Thursday when the game would be made up.

“The directive from Major League Baseball is to play the game when it is scheduled,” Cook said. If that’s not possible, the Royals have to go through the MLB commissioner’s office and work with the Chicago White Sox to find an alternate day.

Friday is left open on the Royals schedule before the series continues, but it may not be suitable for a make-up game because the forecast calls for rain that day, too.

“In this case, the next day looks worse than Thursday,” Cooks said.

Other options include a doubleheader over the weekend or rescheduling the game for later in the year.

Because of the forecast, fans headed to the game Thursday are advised to bring rain gear. Standard-sized umbrellas are allowed in the stadium, but fans are urged to hold them low enough to keep from blocking others’ view.

Oversized umbrellas are not allowed in the stadium, Cook said. And if the rains do come, people can seek cover in the concourses or other stadium amenities.

“The good news is that we have a fair amount of space under cover,” Cook said.

With the possibility of rain, the Royals plan to communicate with fans if the game looks threatened.

Fans should look for information on Twitter at twitter.com/Royals, on Facebook at facebook.com/Royals and the Royals website at mlb.com/royals.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.
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