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Jays' Schneider: Rain delay handled ‘kind of poorly’

John Schneider Matt Quatraro Chris Guccione Toronto Blue Jays Kansas City Royals John Schneider Matt Quatraro Chris Guccione - The Canadian Press

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Schneider told reporters he felt Thursday's rain delay and eventual rain-shortened loss against the Kansas City Royals could have been handled better. 

“I think the entire day was handled kind of poorly, just from the start of the game,” he said after the 2-1 defeat. “What was said out there was the fact that the field was unplayable and they didn’t want to continue the game. In my opinion, the field was significantly better than it was in the third, fourth and fifth inning.”

Schneider said via's Keegan Matheson that umpiring crew chief Chris Guccione was respectful throughout the process and Schneider also added he did not want any player's safety compromised from a slick playing field, but was no fan of how things unfolded. 

The Blue Jays and Royals began their series-finale at 2:10 p.m. ET with significant rain in the forecast for the area around Kauffman Stadium. The Jays quickly fell into a 2-0 hole after a home run from Salvador Perez and then the rain started to fall, continuing without much letup from about the second inning until the fifth. The Royals grounds crew worked on the field several times and the game eventually went into a delay once five innings had been completed with Toronto trailing 2-1. The game was eventually called after a three hour and 38 minute rain delay, giving the Royals the win after the game had reached the minimum benchmark of five completed innings for a rain-shortened matchup to be official. 

Once the final out of the fifth was recorded, Guccione summoned the Royals' grounds crew to put the tarp on the field and initiate a delay to the apparent objection of Schneider. The game was paused after about 10 minutes of field work. 

“They tried to work their magic to try to scrape all that old dirt off, get new dirt on there, rake it as much as they could,” Guccione said. “It was just like, the whole shortstop area, the whole third base area, was so spongy and soft that I couldn’t imagine Bo Bichette or Bobby Witt Jr. trying to field the ball to their left or right and planting and trying to make a successful throw. That’s not good for the game, and for sure, the safety of the players is the No. 1 priority.”

Royals manager Matt Quatraro didn't seem to be a fan of the lengthy delay either.

“What was getting frustrating to me,” Quatraro said, "was just like, ‘All right. Let’s make the decision, one way or the other. Tell us to get out there and play or tell us to go home.”

Royals outfielder Kyle Isbel, who made an incredible catch in centre field on a deep drive from Isiah Kiner-Falefa earlier in the afternoon, agreed the field wasn't in good shape.

“It’s kind of an awkward state," Isbel said. "You obviously want to play, but it’s out of our control. The field was pretty messed up. I didn’t really go back down there after the rain stopped. It was just kind of a waiting game.”

The loss was the Blue Jays' third in a row and had them flying back to Toronto at 13-13, tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for last place in the American League East. The Jays will welcome Shohei Ohtani and the powerhouse Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game series at Rogers Centre beginning Friday evening.