ARLINGTON, Texas — Globe Life Field, the $1.2 billion facility that opened earlier this year, includes a retractable roof that was left open for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night, subjecting members of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves to gusts of wind that were blowing at 15 mph for the 7:08 p.m. CT first pitch.
Major League Baseball, which makes the final determination on whether the roof will be open or closed this postseason, has decided to keep the roof open unless there is a threat of rain in the forecast.
The decision stems from recommendations by the league’s health and safety experts, who have expressed the importance of ventilation in an effort to prevent the spread of an airborne virus such as COVID-19. An open roof is of even more importance this week, with about 11,000 fans attending each of the games.
The winds, blowing in from right field, undoubtedly made an impact. Los Angeles’ Joc Pederson hit a 100-mph line drive in the fourth that traveled 411 feet to straightaway center field — a home run in 20 of the 30 major league parks, including where the Dodgers and Braves play — that resulted in a routine fly out. In the seventh, with the Dodgers trailing 7-1, A.J. Pollock hit what appeared to be a three-run homer off the bat but which was knocked down by the wind and resulted in a fly out to the warning track.
Fox reported during the telecast Thursday night that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told umpire Cory Blaser between innings that starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and first baseman Max Muncy were having trouble seeing.
Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman was reaching for his eyes after striking out swinging in the first, and Fox reported he said, “I can’t see” upon returning to the dugout. The MVP candidate with two homers in the NLCS briefly tried glasses while in the field and also was shown getting eyedrops.
The Globe Life Field roof was open for only six of the Texas Rangers‘ 30 home games this season but all seven postseason games thus far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.