By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The postponement of Game 4 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and Nationals on Tuesday will be remembered as a classic case of television dictating when games are played.
MLB vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre made it clear that TBS, the exclusive television network for the NLDS games, had the final vote in what time Tuesday’s games would be scheduled for.
“They have to be a part of the decision because they pay a significant amount of money for the rights to televise our games,” Torre said Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field. “It is really naive to say they shouldn’t have input on when the games are.”
Game 4 was postponed due to rain and a bad forecast for the evening. The game that was supposed to start at 4:38 p.m. CT was called off at 5:15 p.m. as rain arrived in the area. Game 4 will now be played 3:08 p.m. Wednesday.
The Cubs and Nationals had wanted a start time of 1:08 p.m. Tuesday, a source said, after they saw Monday that rain was in the forecast.
“That was never going to be an option,” MLB spokesman John Blundell said. “The only times that were discussed was 4:38 and 7:08. The game time was going to be determined in correlation with possible Game 4 of the other National League series between L.A. and Arizona.”
With rain in the forecast, MLB and the teams decided Monday night on the 4:38 p.m. start time for Tuesday — even though the Dodgers were well on their way to sweeping the Diamondbacks, opening the primetime television spot Tuesday, a night in which no American League teams were playing.
“This is something that has happened over time,” Torre said. “Our sport is pretty popular. The fact is that a number of networks are involved in that. MLB not only has to be aware of dealing with each team (but also the networks) and make them help you decide what to do. We all have to understand who pays the freight.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.