The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves played Game 4 (ATL 10, L.A. 2) of the best-of-seven National League Championship Series on Thursday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Almost immediately, there was a noticeable issue with strong winds. Considering the two clubs are playing at the Rangers' Globe Life Field, which features a retractable roof, the conditions were particularly peculiar.
So why was the roof open? The explanation that Major League Baseball officials have given for keeping Globe Life's roof open despite the powerful winds has to do with the fans in attendance, as Jorge Castillo of the LA Times notes.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, up to 11,500 fans are allowed to attend games in Texas throughout the NLCS and World Series rounds. The league said it prefers to keep the ballpark's roof open, weather permitting, to limit any potential spread of the coronavirus among fans.
The coronavirus is spread through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying the infectious virus. According to the CDC, respiratory droplets are produced during exhalation (like breathing, speaking, singing, coughing, sneezing) and vary in larger droplets to smaller droplets and particles.
During his first at-bat of the game, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman struck out on a 89.1 mph curveball from Clayton Kershaw. He came back out for the second inning sporting protective goggles. On the FOX broadcast, they said that Freeman struggled to see the ball during his at-bat because the wind was so intense. Later in the game, Kershaw stated he was having similar issues from the mound. According to the National Weather Service, winds in Arlington reached 21 miles per hour on Thursday night.
Closing the roof at Globe Life takes about 10 to 15 minutes. So even if officials decided to close midway through the game, there would have to be a delay of play in order to do so.