Notes: Decision to be made at the top?
MLB likely to have final say whether roof is open or closed
HOUSTON -- It's always the hope that umpires, often the center of attention during heated games, do not become "the story" during the World Series. But this week, it appears the Minute Maid Park roof has trumped the men in blue, as most of the talk at Monday's workout centered around whether the lid will be open or shut this week.
The Astros and Major League Baseball, according to general manager Tim Purpura, have not made a final decision regarding the roof's status for Game 3 of the World Series on Tuesday night.
But it sounds as if Major League Baseball may have the final say.
"We're going to look at what's best for the fans," Purpura said. "It's a cooperative effort for Major League Baseball and its clubs. We're looking to put on the best show possible for the fans and for the people watching the World Series.
"It's being made out to be somewhat of a bigger deal than it is. When you have an opportunity to open it, you try to open it."
The roof stayed closed for much of the season, because of extreme heat and humidity that plagues Houston from May until September. Astros players are accustomed to playing under a closed roof, and prefer to do so. They got what they wanted in the first two rounds. The World Series may be a different story.
The roof status will be decided on a daily basis. The Astros and MLB will make a decision about Game 3 early in the day.
The temperature is expected to hit 73 degrees for a high on Tuesday, but it will drop to mid-40s overnight. At 9 p.m. CT, the temperature will be somewhere around 57 degrees (game time is slated for 7 p.m).
That raises another question: We know how hot is too hot, but what's the benchmark for too cold?
"That's part of the flip side of the 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity," Purpura said. "You have to deal with the other point of view. The fans' comfort is so important to us and that will certainly be part of the equation."
A closed roof means more crowd noise, which the Astros feel gave them an edge this season. In those terms, they hope the roof will stay shut -- for Game 3, Game 4 on Wednesday night and, if necessary, Game 5 on Thursday night..
"I don't expect the roof to be open," Morgan Ensberg said. "I know Major League Baseball has a say in it, but I think what brings excitement to our game and what really shows the intensity is when that roof is closed."
"You ask any player, they'll say they want it closed," Jeff Bagwell said. "It keeps the game pretty normal. There's no wind blowing or anything like that. You can't blame anything on that. That being said, we have beautiful weather, and if Major League Baseball and our organization wants it opened, it will be open.
"It'll be loud anyway. Our fans have learned how to be loud."
Lance Berkman is guessing the roof will be open, but for a different reason.
"Money drives everything," he said. "It'll drive the roof open. For TV, they want a certain look for their commercials or pregame or something. They drive this sport with TV contracts. Looks like they'll get their way."
Berkman insisted he won't care either way.
"We've played well with it closed, but it doesn't mean if you open it that somehow we're going to let our good baseball out the top," he said. "We're still capable of playing well with the roof open."
Altercation: Craig and Patty Biggio decided not to press charges against a fan who apparently took a swipe at the second baseman's wife toward the end of Game 2 of the World Series at U.S. Cellular Field.
The fan, standing behind Patty Biggio and her brother, acted belligerently throughout much of the game, according to an Astros official. When the game ended, the fan reportedly smacked her on the back of her head as she got up to leave.
Security immediately apprehended the fan, but the Biggios did not press charges, citing it as an isolated incident.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen apologized to Biggio on behalf of the White Sox organization, and several Astros officials said Sunday's incident in no way tarnished what was a very hospitable welcome from Chicago fans during their stay.
"It was one stupid fan that I know of," manager Phil Garner said. "My wife told me we had a lot of fans around where she was sitting that enjoyed in the festivities and didn't get rowdy to any of our people.
"I did not hear about any other incidents. I heard good things from other people. This is one incident that I'm aware of where one fan was stupid."
The razor's edge: The Astros left Chicago with an 2-0 deficit in the World Series, and in an effort to reverse the fortunes, their thick beards were replaced by well-trimmed goatees.
Some players said the decision was Bagwell's. Bagwell said it was Brad Ausmus who made the final call. Ensberg said it was a collective decision made by all bearded teammates.
The only problem is that if the Series goes back to Chicago for a Game 6, they won't have the extra fuzz to keep them warm during the cold night games.
"It was great," Ensberg said of having the beard for Games 1 and 2. "That wind chill, I didn't feel any of it."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.