By Mike Rush
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Friday's bad weather is brewing a small storm of controversy over how the St. Louis Cardinals organization handled the cancellation of the game against the San Francisco Giants.
The Cardinals organization has been accused of waiting too long to announce the cancellation of the game and even forcing fans out of the stadium as dangerous weather loomed.
5 on Your Side's Mike Rush went to one of the decision-makers to sort out the story.
When about 31,000 fans walked away Friday without watching a game, the reaction seemed mixed.
"We got a hotel room for the night, we're going to make an evening of it," said one fan.
"They booed hissed. Yeah. It wasn't good," said another.
For Tricia Stout and her group of about 10, it seemed really bad. She lives in St. Peters and the radar showed they would be heading into a mess right around the time the game was called.
"Well, I was scared," said Stout. "I certainly didn't want to be on the highway while tornadoes were in the area and didn't know if anymore were going to pop up where we were."
Stout and her group wanted to ride out the storm in the designated shelter areas of the stadium, but she says the ushers twice told them they couldn't.
"The ushers were a little bit more voiceful that we needed to leave and really started to push everybody out of the area that we were in," she said.
"We made the best decision based on the information we had at the time," said Joe Abernathy, head of stadium operations.
He thought he and other decision-makers were doing well, cancelling the game before the bad weather arrived in downtown St. Louis.
"It's the first time we've done that, where we've used a forecast of weather to cancel a game after we've opened the gates," said Abernathy.
Abernathy says the decision was made to call the game at around 7:30 p.m. and announced to the fans at 7:45 p.m.
Reporter: "So, people will ask, why did you wait 15 minutes to announce it?"
"It's just the process of walking upstairs and formulating the message and typing it into the machine and working through the language," said Abernathy.
He says it was a mistake for the ushers to give Stout and her group the impression they could not stay at the stadium. They could have, and, in fact, other people did. He apologizes for that miscommunication and says he will work on making sure all the staff is up to speed on the policy so that does not happen again.