The smog that lingered over the Philadelphia area on Thursday didn’t stop the Phillies from entering the field.
After Wednesday’s game was postponed, the Phillies’ game against the Detroit Tigers started on time Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park. MLB closely monitored the air quality situation during the day, but as air quality improved in Philadelphia, league officials decided to continue the game.
“It’s always sunny in Philadelphia,” NBC Sports Philadelphia anchor John Kroc said at the start of Thursday’s broadcast.
MLB postponed one game Thursday – a game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks, which was scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. at Nationals Park. Air quality continued to deteriorate in Washington, D.C., which issued its first “red” air quality alert since 2011.
The Nationals-Diamondbacks game will now take place on June 22nd.
In addition to postponing the Phillies game, the league on Wednesday postponed a game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox that was scheduled to be played at Yankee Stadium, with the orange sky looking like a sci-fi movie.
Read more: Philadelphia Air Quality: Maps, forecasts, and latest updates on cancellations
Air quality in Philadelphia on Thursday morning was worse than on Wednesday, though smoke from the Canadian wildfires dissipated as the day went on.
Before Wednesday’s game was postponed, Phillies player Brandon Marsh told The Inquirer that the hazy air wasn’t having much of an effect on his bats or his ability to track balls. But he wasn’t able to see the top floor of Citizens Bank Park as he strolled outside.
“It was a markedly different situation,” Marsh said. “I felt like Gotham. It was dark. The lights really couldn’t do their job.”
» READ MORE: Phillies on playing in a smoke-filled football field: ‘It started to smell like fire’
In addition to speaking with medical and weather experts, MLB has also been in touch with clubs affected by smoke from the Canadian wildfires. On Wednesday, Phillies baseball operations chief Dave Dombrowski sided with health experts.
“I don’t know anything about air quality,” Dombrowski said. I’m not an expert on that. So I have to look at how other people are guiding us, and it’s been a situation where the MLB and experts feel it’s now reached a point where it’s unhealthy for people to be outside. So we’ll agree with what they say.”
If MLB decides to postpone Thursday’s game, the Phillies won’t have room in their upcoming schedule to make up. On Friday they are set to start a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, followed immediately by a four-game road trip against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The next scheduled Phillies day off is not until June 19.
The first game of the Yankees-White Sox doubleheader at Yankees Stadium kicked off at 4:05 p.m. The air quality in New York City was better than Philadelphia for most Thursdays, but it was still listed in the “unhealthy” range.