PITTSBURGH -- Have a baseball game start at an unusual afternoon hour, and invariably questions will be raised about potential visibility problems.
The issue was doubly intriguing for the National League Division Series games at PNC Park. Game 3 began at 4:30 p.m. ET -- a time at which Monday's Game 4 -- which is, weather permitting, scheduled for a 3 p.m. first pitch (on TBS) -- would be in the middle innings.
Outfielders looking for fly balls and batters looking for spin of pitches could have issues early in the game. The Pittsburgh sun sets behind the first-base stands, and on a clear day at this time of the year, shadows bisect the infield at about 4 p.m.
Unlike in most ballparks, in which the sun field is right, left fielders Starling Marte of the Pirates and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals will be most challenged.
The home manager did not expect shadows to be a factor in either game.
"We were out there running around [during Saturday's workout] trying to figure out how you were going to play," Clint Hurdle said. "I don't think it's the same as earlier in the season. I think we're going to be fine. From an outfield standpoint, the shadows will not be too challenging."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.