Does MLB (Still) Have a Curfew?

It doesn’t come up often, but I recall late-night games being stopped short (and continued later, IIRC) due to curfew. Now, was/is this a MLB regulation? Or, perhaps, a local municipality regulation? And, is it still in place today? - Jinx


Rule 4.12 outlines the curfew guidelines.

Wow! Thanks, Jonathan! That was an impressive answer! I didn’t know it was so involved. By the way, as en extension to my question, do the minor leagues (i.e. AAA, AA, and A ball clubs) follow the same rule book as the MLB? Are they considered part of the MBL, such as if they are part of a MLB team’s farm system? How does that work?

Hats off to you,

  • Jinx

Hey, in my fantasy like I’m a high-OBP moderate slugger just going into Free Agency!

The minor leagues largely follow MLB rule book but there are exceptions for each league as they see hit. Things like double-headers being 2 7-inning games still pop up every now and again.

Also two umpires instead of four. That sort of thing. And I’d feel certain curfews, given the more small town locations of some of the stadiums, have a tighter control (or earlier limits).

With the 33 inning minor league game that set the record 25 years ago in Pawtucket they went until 4 AM. They couldn’t reach the International league president to get a ruling and there was no curfew rule. When they finally reached him at 4:00 AM he was upset that the umps didn’t suspend the game much earlier. The game was won in the next inning, which was played two months later.

The most common curfew in major league history was the American League curfew, which kicked in at 1:00 a.m. I believe this curfew is still in effect, but it comes into play far less often than it once did, for a variety of reasons:

  1. There has always been an exception if the teams were playing their last series of the season at the home club’s park. With expansion and interleague play, a far larger percentage of series fall under the exception.

  2. Night games now start at 7:00 instead of 8:00, and twi-night double-headers are all but unknown.

  3. Rain delays are less frequent than they once were, as umpires wait longer before halting play and the field is more quickly restored to playable condition with modern drainage.

In addition to the league curfew, one would occasionally encounter municipal curfews–I believe Baltimore at one time had one at midnight. I’m not aware of any city which has one today; I can’t remember the last time an MLB game was halted by a municipal curfew.