"We're going to play baseball tonight," commissioner Bud Selig said at 8 p.m., about a half-hour before Tampa Bay and Philadelphia had been scheduled to begin. The Rays and Phillies were tied at one game each.
"The front is going through. We have three different weather services, and we've been talking to them all day," he said.
The National Weather Service said the rain was to taper off after midnight.
At about 9:20 p.m., the grounds crew removed the tarp, but rain was still falling. Phillies starter Jamie Moyer walked across the field to the bullpen a few minutes later, and the start time was announced at about 9:40 p.m.
A postponement would result in games at Philadelphia on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. If the Series went to a sixth game, it would be played Wednesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the teams would lose the off day.
Fans at Citizens Bank Park huddled under the overhangs and crowded the concourses during the delay to watch No. 3 Penn State play No. 10 Ohio State on television. A few hardy souls sat in seats behind the dugout, covered by plastic sheeting that whipped wildly.
"People have been out tailgating here since 3 o'clock this afternoon," Selig said. "If you called a game off every day starting April 6 because it rained sometime during the game, you'd play till Feb. 8. So people are used to it. And by the way, the parking lots are jammed, and people are here."
Colors from the ceremonial World Series logos bled onto the crushed brick warning track behind home plate. Puddles formed on the warning track around the outfield and pools collected on top of the tarp before the Phillies' first home World Series game since 1993.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was happy the delay was in a ballpark that opened in 2004 and has modern facilities and space.
"If you're in Fenway, in that clubhouse, it gets kind of annoying," he said. "The clubhouse is, what, maybe half this size. And when you have all the amenities and you get yourself a nice cheesesteak while you're waiting or watch a game on the tube -- J.P. Howell is up there watching Texas versus Oklahoma State right now -- this kind of facility ameliorates that situation a bit and permits you to get through the moment."
His use of "ameliorates" brought laughter from a room of baseball reporters.
Maddon wondered how Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza would spend the time.
"Matt Garza is a different story. I don't know what he's going to do. If there's a padded room around here, I'd really like to know about, so he can go there and bounce around for a bit," he said.