"Hazardous" air quality postpones series finale in D.C.

With smoke from Canadian wild fires getting worse in the region, Major League Baseball postponed today’s scheduled series finale between the Nationals and Diamondbacks, citing the health risks current conditions pose for players, fans and stadium workers alike.

The teams were able to play Tuesday and Wednesday night as planned under a hazy sky that wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in Philadelphia and New York, where games were postponed Wednesday. They were supposed to finish the three-game series at 1:05 p.m., but the air quality is considerably worse today, with Washington officially categorized as “Code Purple.”

The decision whether to play or not was made by MLB, with consultation with both teams and the MLB Players Association, and was announced about 90 minutes before first pitch.

“This postponement was determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and the two impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in Washington, D.C.,” the league said in a press release.

This was to be the last time the Nationals and Diamondbacks faced each other this season, but Arizona will now be forced to come back to Washington for a June 22 makeup game at 1:05 p.m., a common off-day for both teams. The Nats begin a West Coast trip to San Diego and Seattle the following day. The D-backs will make a side trip to D.C. in between series at Milwaukee and San Francisco.

Tickets and parking passes for today’s postponed game will be honored at the June 22 makeup game.

Players, staffers and media members reported to Nationals Park this morning with reduced visibility and a thick haze enveloping the ballpark. Most agreed it was unlikely they would play today, but all had no choice but to prepare as if they were going to play until MLB made the official decision.

Manager Davey Martinez, meeting with reporters only a few minutes before the announcement was made, noted how bad things were this morning when he took his dogs for a walk and suggested it wouldn’t be safe to attempt to play the game.

“I saw the warning come out this morning,” Martinez said shortly after 11 a.m. “We’ll see what MLB figures out here. Hopefully we’re going to do what’s best for the players and the fans and everybody here.”

With the postponement, the Nationals will just give everyone in their rotation an extra day of rest before they return to the mound. Josiah Gray, who was supposed to start today, will now pitch Friday’s series opener in Atlanta. MacKenzie Gore and Trevor Williams will follow on Saturday and Sunday.

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