Flushing, NY – As cities in the Northeast prepared Friday for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, Major League Baseball teams were scrambling to reschedule weekend games that could be affected by the strong storm.
The New York Mets postponed two games against the Atlanta Braves, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Citi Field, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced emergency plans that included the shutdown of the city's mass transit system at noon on Saturday.
The mayor also called on residents of low-lying areas of the country's largest city to evacuate ahead of the storm.
The hurricane, a potential category 2 storm, could begin to hit New York City by late Saturday afternoon and enter the area at full force on Sunday.
"This is very serious," Bloomberg said Friday. "Do not be fooled by the sun outside. That is the calm before the storm."
The Mets-Braves games were rescheduled as a single-admission doubleheader on Thursday, September 8 -- a scheduled off day for both teams. Friday's series opener was unaffected by the plans.
Further south, the Philadelphia region was also bracing for the hurricane, forcing the Phillies to postpone their Saturday night game against the Florida Marlins.
"Given the deteriorating forecast for Saturday night's game, as well as the evening shut down of public transportation and the concern about conditions our fans might face leaving our game late Saturday night, the decision was made to postpone the 7:05 p.m. game," said Phillies senior vice president Mike Stiles.
The game will be played on September 15 at a time yet to be determined.
Saturday afternoon's contest against Florida -- which had already been moved up from Sunday afternoon due to Irene -- will still be played as scheduled at 1:05 p.m. ET.
Elsewhere, the PGA Tour event in Edison, New Jersey, was shortened to 54 holes because of the hurricane. The second round of The Barclays was expected to be completed Friday, with the third and now final round set to be played Saturday in threesomes off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees.
"We weighed all the options available to us, and under normal circumstances, we would obviously prefer to complete 72 holes," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem. "That's even more true here at The Barclays, considering that this is such an important event to our players as they look to advance through the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup.
"But these aren't normal circumstances. We realize that 'waiting it out' until Hurricane Irene passes and trying to play golf on Monday or Tuesday would only add unnecessary strain to those who will be trying to help the community recover from whatever potential damage this storm causes. The safety of the community, our fans, players, sponsor guests, television partners and staff is of the utmost importance."
In the event that extreme weather prevents the completion of play on Saturday, the tournament will be cut to 36 holes.