Thursday, July 20, 2006

Busch Whacked

Thirty people were injured and five were taken to the hospital Wednesday night as a storm ripped through Busch Stadium in St. Louis, delaying the start of the Cardinals/Braves game by more than two hours. Winds topping out at 84 mph blew through the new ballpark just before the first pitch, tearing parts of the field tarp and ripping sheeting in the press box. According to a report on the Cardinals' Web site, a FOX studio was tipped over by and demolished by the wind. Tornado warnings were given for three St. Louis-area counties and more than 450,000 residents lost power, a report in Thursday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. The metropolitan's utility provider is working to restore power to residents' as quickly as possible if for no other reason than to allow residents to crank up their air conditioners. The heat index is expected to hit 100 degrees there Thursday.

Check out the St. Louis Post Dispatch's storm gallery.

Rain Drains A-Rod

It was exactly what Alex Rodriquez did not need: nearly two hours of sitting through a rain delay to think about an a plate appearance at Yankee Stadium where boos have poured down on him this season harder than the showers that halted action in the Bombers' game against Seattle Tuesday night. We all know that A-Rod doesn't need more time to think. As Rodriquez stood at the plate with a 3-1 count against the Mariners' Julio Mateo, umpire crew chief Mike Reilly stopped play and the Stadium grounds crew covered the field. After the 1-hour and 58-minute delay, Rodriquez returned to the plate and promptly struck out in a clutch situation when the Yankees needed a big hit from their pricey star. Melky Cabrera, not a big money guy, later ended the game in the 11th inning with a walk-off home run that gave the Yankees a 5-4 victory.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Rain in Maine Doesn't Stop Game

When you're 15, a little rain isn't going to stop you and your buddies from finishing the game. Heck, a torrential downpour falling from thundering skies and near-tornadic conditions most likely won't get you inside unless your mom braves the weather and pulls you inside by your shirt collar. Good luck facing your buddies again if that happens. Well, a little rain, ok, a downpour as you can see in the photo at left, didn't stop these 15-year-olds in Worcester, Maine, from completing the first game of a Babe Ruth tournament regional championship Wednesday. According to this story in the Thursday Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the game was stopped twice, once in the second inning because of lightening and again in the third when rain drenched the field. The grounds crew, according to the article, quickly repaired the pitcher's mound after the second delay and the game resumed. No word on how many worried moms had to be restrained from entering the field as the rains fell.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

No Fire, Just Rain for Taylor at Fenway

It wasn't a baseball game, but rain did delay action at Fenway Park Tuesday night. Here's a brief from the Associated Press:

James Taylor poses for a photograph during a rain delay of the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, July 12, 2006. The concert features Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein playing guitar with the band Buffalo Tom, along with Kay Hanley, Howie Day, American Idol contestant Ayla Brown and Taylor. The concert is the main fundraiser for the Foundation to be Named Later charity which was established by Theo Epstein and his brother Paul. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Rain in the Forecast for All-Star Game

Not that I’m hoping for it, but there is a good chance of rain in Pittsburgh tonight for the Major League Baseball All-Star game. According to this nifty blog on the USA Today Web site, folks in the Steel City may get a little wet as the chance of rain increases to about 70 percent at game time. I don’t want anyone to get too wet tonight, but a little rain never hurt anyone and the precipitation would provide me, the guy who for some reason maintains a blog about baseball rain delays, a nice photo of rain falling on the Mid-Summer Classic. Could it get any better? I’ll have to check my history because I’m not sure there has ever been a rain delay or a rain out of an MLB All- Star game. While, I do the research, you can read the USA Today story that also provides some interesting nuggets about baseball physics. I’m such a nerd. By the way, the cool weather graphic above is from Bob Swanson and Julie Snider of USA Today.

UPDATE: Apparently a little rain did fall Tuesday night just before the All-Star game in Pittsburgh. Why else would MLB Commissioner Bud Selig be wearing a Pirates poncho? (No, commish. That’s not rain. Manny Ramirez is peeing from the upper deck.) Anyway, after a little research, I did learn that the 1952 All-Star game was called because of rain after five innings at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park. Jackie Robinson hit a two-run homer in the first inning, but the American League came away with a 3-2 victory.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Get Babe A Tissue Before He Floods Fenway

The June 25 rainout between the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies was the Sox’ sixth this season, with five of those gushers nixing games at Fenway Park. It marked the most home rainouts for the BoSox since 1989, when the team had five games washed out the entire season. The Sox have now tied their home rainout mark just three months into the 2006 season. Could it be the Babe has been holding back and is just now starting to cry down tears from Heaven after his curse was broken a year and half ago? Maybe. The Red Sox only had four rainouts all of last year. If you planning a trip to Fenway this season, you may want to get familiar with the team’s Rainout Policy. Compare the Sox’ brief policy with the lengthy rainout policy the Yankees have posted on their Web site, which includes something about games being called because of an “act of God.” Is that a reference to Steinbrenner?
(Photo above by Matthew West of the Boston Herald.)

Rain Not A Pain at These Games

Rain was more than welcome; it was celebrated this week at the North American Indigenous Games in Denver. The area had been dry and virtually rain-free in June, but as Native Americans arrived in the city, precipitation followed as Deborah Frazier wrote in Wednesday's Rocky Mountain News. And bringing the rain, is as much competition as the games themselves, Frazier writes. Here's a snippet from the article:

"It's part of the relationship between Mother Earth and Father Sky," said Sara Stanley, who teaches art and culture at the Monument Valley High School on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

At an athletic event, there's always tribal competition that extended to who gets credit for the rain.
"We brought the rain from Saskatchewan," said Vernon Lewis, a broadcaster covering the games from a Cree radio station in west central Canada.

But no one grumped about the rain, not even athletes who had to hustle to finish competitions under darkening skies.

"It's always a blessing. It's a cleansing," said Lisa Wayne, a Navajo who managed the games' sports and venues.

You can read Frazier's article in its entirety at the Rocky Mountain News Web site.
The above photo is from Keith Smiley of the Rocky Mountain News.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rocky Mountain Rain

Colorado Rockies’ fans sat in wet seats and used umbrellas for cover at Coors Field Tuesday as San Francisco Giants' Jason Ellison stands in the batter's box in the sixth inning against the Rockies as a heavy rain pour down in Denver. The 1-hour, 47-minute rain delay was the second of the game. The first delay pushed the game’s first pitch back 13 minutes. By the way, the Rockies went on to win 6-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two Braves who inspired a rain dance

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain were dominating pitchers for the Boston Braves in the 40s and early 50s. So good, the duo inspired Boston Post columnist Gerald V. Hern to pen the following in his Sept. 14, 1948 column:

First we'll use Spahn
then we'll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

I have read, but can’t confirm, that the poem came about after Spahn and Sain started consecutive games for the Braves. Subsequently, there were several days of rain that forced postponement of a couple more Boston games. Those rain outs allowed the Braves to skip through the rotation and start Spahn and Sain when the team resumed play. Were the other Braves' hurlers that bad? I don’t know if the above account is true, but it makes for interesting baseball lore.

Seaver's SNL skit all wet

Tom Seaver starred on a Saturday Night Live skit way back in 1983 in which the former big league pitcher played a commentator during a rain-delayed SNL show. The showed opened with rain pouring down in the studio and a scroll across the TV screen that read: "Saturday Night Live… Rain Delay… Please Stay Tuned…" Major league ump Ron Luciano was involved in the bland skit as the arbiter who would make a decision on whether the show would go on as scheduled. As the skit progressed, Seaver made his way around the stage, interviewing the show's stars and guests, including the Smothers Brothers, Joe Piscapo and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. A really awkward moment in skit occurred when Seaver referred to Jim Belushi as the Belush-man. What? Anyway, the skit mercifully ends when the rain lets up and Luciano looks to camera and says "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night." Good grief. Maybe this was one show that should have been called because of lame. If you have a moment, you can read the transcript at this link. But let me warn you, it will be three minutes of your life you won’t get back.

Sliding in at No. 9

A couple of summers back, Jon Warech wrote on’s Page 3 about the 10 sports-related items every guy must do. Coming in at No. 9 was the rain game. I agree, of course, but I would rate it much higher – way ahead of going to Mardi Gras, which Warech ranks No. 5. Warech also talks about the field run and sliding across a wet tarp during a rain delay. Here’s the full list.

Rain douses fireworks in Atlanta

Fans at the Turner Field Tuesday night not only had to suffer through a nearly three-hour rain delay, but also had their Fourth of July fireworks canceled. Rain forced game stoppage as the Braves and Cardinals played with one out in the top of the sixth inning. Approximately 10,000 of the 47,524 sellout crowd stayed through the rain delay for the postgame fireworks. However, just before the rain stopped and the game resumed, fans were informed that the fireworks show would be postponed until Wednesday night because the Braves’ fireworks permit ran out at midnight and the team could not obtain a new permit, according to the Associated Press. I’m not sure how fireworks permits work, but could the Braves not get a permit to cover the 4th and the 5th just in case there was a delay, such as rain or even extra innings? I’ll need to do some research on this, but it seems I remember a Braves/Mets game back in the late 80s when the game went about 18 innings, lasted until about four in the morning, and featured fireworks at the end, on the 5th of July. I think Braves pitcher Rick Camp hit a home run in that game, but again, I’ll need to do some research.

Ok, I was close about the 80s July 4th game between the Mets and Braves. Here’s a brief recollection of the game from Wednesday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution:

On July 4, 1985, the Mets and Braves played a 19-inning game at old Fulton County Stadium that included two rain delays and ended just before 4 a.m. About 1,000 fans stuck around that night for a fireworks show that began at 4:01 a.m., waking many Atlantans who feared the city was under attack.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bucket head

Just before the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez thumped the Mets 16-7 Sunday night, Bomber fan Anthony Deblase of Long Branch, N.J. sported a poncho and a bucket on his head during a rain delay that help up the Interleague matchup 65 minutes.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Rain out in Baltimore gives fans a rare opportunity

Thursday’s Baltimore Sun ran a story about a rain out of an Orioles/Phillies Interleague game Tuesday that forced the two teams to play a doubleheader on Wednesday. A high school baseball team traveling to various major league parks as part of a senior trip decided to stay over in Baltimore and see the doubleheader. Some said they enjoyed staying over at Camden Yards better than their trip to Yankee Stadium. Other fans interviewed told Sun reporter Katie Carrera they were glad to see the day-night doubleheader simply because it allowed them the rare opportunity to see a day game on a weekday. "I actually prefer afternoon games. It's the way baseball should be played," Norm Sensinger of Baltimore said to the Sun." In the daylight." Follow this link to read the full story from Thursday’s Baltimore Sun.

I hate to cross blog, but the Bristol White Sox, the subject of another blog I write, were rained out of tonight’s Appalachian League game in Bristol with the rival Kingsport Mets.

Why a blog about baseball rain delays? Why not?

This may be the most meaningless blog in the blogosphere, but I’ve decided to combine two of my many interests – baseball and weather, specifically rain – into one blog. Why? I’m not sure, but it sounds like fun, to me, the only person who reads this nonsense. Baseball rain outs and rain delays have always fascinated me. When I worked as a sports information director, one of my favorite stories to write was the baseball rain out story. Maybe, too, rain on baseball diamonds subconsciously reminds of growing up in the 80s and watching re-runs of the Andy Griffith Show with my Papaw during rain delays of Atlanta Braves games on WTBS. Those were great times.