Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Anyone Else Missing Football?

Would You Wear This On the Course?

Have you seen the new helmet umbrella? Nope? Well, that's it in the photo at right. It's designed for the busy street commuter who has too many thinks to juggle – cell phone, coffee, keys, whatever – to hold an umbrella on a rainy day. I know this isn't sports related, but you may see these things popping up at ballparks or golf course or wherever. Can you imagine Tiger Woods putting at Augusta wearing that thing? Oh, the helmet umbrella was invented by a former tennis player. That fact makes this post sports related, right?

Schmidt A Hit With Seminoles

Rain washed out Florida State's opportunity to challenge the National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night at an exhibition in Clearwater, Fla. Heavy rains hit Bright House Networks Field at approximately 6 p.m. and poured for an hour and a half before the game was called at 7:45 p.m. The Seminoles, however, did get a chance to visit with Phillies players in the clubhouse and spoke with former Phillie and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

The photo above is of Schmidt – he's the fella with the jacket over his head – back in 2003 when he along with Gary Maddox, John Kruk, Bobby Abreu and Larry Bowa were recognized for being voted by fans to the All-Vet team.

Mr. Tony Was Not Here

What? Mr. Tony doesn't read The Rainout Blog? I'm shocked. Totally shocked!

You Already Know This...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I haven't updated The Rainout Blog since last Friday and I totally missed the biggest sports rain out story of the year so far. Why didn't I write anything over the past several days about the Auto Club 500 rain delay and postponement, you ask? (I'm sure you've been scratching your head for days over this one.) The reason is because A) I was away from my computer, by choice, over the weekend, B) I've been busy, so suck it, and C) maybe I've been a bit lazy.

Anyway, you already know all the details that the Cup race was delayed over and over Sunday and ultimately postponed until Monday. So, there's no need for me to rehash the details.

Besides, you already know about the Nationwide race being postponed until Monday and that it was run right after the Auto Club 500. You already know that practices and qualifying sessions were delayed and postponed. You already know that water was seeping from the track. (Did you see the cool footage of the guys making saw cuts into the track?) You already know that standing water on the track caused a crash in the first 25 laps that involved Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin. You already know that those guys fussed and complained about the track not being ready. You already know that Jeff Gordon remained classy through it all, as usual. (What's up with that guy?) You already know that Tony Stewart began building an ark during the second rain delay Sunday. Ok, maybe you didn’t know that, but now you do.

Friday, February 22, 2008

We're Talkin' 'Bout Practice

NASCAR Cup Series practice is being delayed by rain at the California Speedway in Fontana. The Auto Club 500 practice is being televised on Speed. I wonder if Speed is showing reruns of The Andy Griffith Show during the rain delay.

This isn't sports related, but you have to see the photo that accompanies this story about a snow storm in the Northeast.

Happy Friday to ya!

Another Day, Another Cricket Delay

From AFP: Sri Lankan batsmen Chamara Silva (left) and Tillakaratne Dilshan walk off as heavy rain stops play in Melbourne on February 22, 2008. Sri Lanka's chances of reaching the tri-series finals were dealt a serious blow when Australia beat them by 24 runs in a rain-shortened one-day match.

MLB Gets Rain Out Insurance

Major League Baseball has teamed up with Storm Exchange, Inc. for a pretty good insurance plan to protect teams financially against rain outs, snow outs and other weather-related risks. The newly-announced Weather Hedging Program for Major League Baseball provides teams with a way to offset the financial impact of rain and unseasonably cold temperatures. Read more about the plan at

Jackets Hoops Called Because of Rain

I've told you before that I really don't pay much attention to basketball, and here's proof: I totally missed the news last night about Virginia's game at Georgia Tech being rained out.

Well, technically, the game was called off because of a leaky roof at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Initially, tipoff was postponed for 20 minutes, but then the game was called off when maintenance crews at the arena could not guarantee the leaks would stop. The court was wet in the lane near the Yellow Jackets' bench.

Weather forecasts had called for between two and three inches of rain in the Atlanta area Thursday night. The two schools are working on a make-up date.

The Jackets and Cavs stink this year, so I'm not sure anyone really cares if the game is ever played. However, there is one postponement at the University of Virginia that I'm sure will tick off a lot of folks on this Friday night. The Van Halen concert has been postponed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Gotta Get To Bed Now

I linked to this Boston Globe photo below, but it’s too cool of a shot not to post here. Plus, when photos are posted on this page, they eventually show up in the galley at the top right. Anyway, the pic is of Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and his interpreter, Jeff Yamaguchi, walking under an umbrella from the team’s indoor batting cages to the clubhouse. No big deal, just a cool photo. Good night everybody. It's 2:42 in the morning. I gotta get some sleep.

Writing In The Rain

What do baseball players do during rain delays? One player, journeyman catcher Chris Coste of the Phillies, has taken time to work on his book during rain showers at the ol’ ballyard.

"When I officially sat down to begin writing, it was kind of intimidating, because I was wondering, 'How could I possibly find time to do this?'" Coste says. "But honestly, there's tons of down time during the season. There were times during rain delays that I'd pop open my laptop and get going. And it was easy to get in the baseball mindset. I was able to almost recapture the same emotions because it was during the season."

Coste’s book is about his journey through the minor leaguers that eventually landed him in the major leagues in 2006 as “The 33-Year-Old Rookie.” Read more here.

Cold, Wet Sox

Think it’s always sunny, cozy and warm in Florida during spring training? Think again. Temperatures were in the mid-40s and Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Bowden could see his breath during a workout at the team’s training facility in Fort Myers when Boston Globe photographer Jim Davis snapped this photo. But don’t feel bad for the champs; temperatures climbed to near by mid-day.

Here’s another neat pic from Davis catching Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima and his interpreter, Jeff Yamaguchi, under an umbrella walking from the team’s indoor batting cages to the clubhouse.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicago Wants Hockey At Soldier Field

The Chicago Blackhawks, like a lot of NHL teams and the cities that call those teams home, really, really want to host an outdoor hockey in Soldier Field next year. Why wouldn't they? The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins packed 71,000 fans into Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan. 1 and attracted a decent TV rating on a day that's long been reserved for college football bowl games. According to this story, those involved, and those who could potentially be involved, would also like to include a college hockey game on the docket and a way to allow the public to skate on the outdoor rink during the week leading up to those games. The NHL has not yet announced whether an outdoor game will be played next season.

Leafs Skate Outdoors

The Toronto Maple Leafs held an outdoor practice Monday for about 250 school kids at a refurbished rink in East Toronto. According to this story, the wind chill dipped to near minus 20, and, as you can see in this photo gallery, there was leftover snow all around the rink and neighborhood.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rain Ks Matsuzaka Workout

Yippe! We have our first sight of rain at spring training. In this Associated Press photo, Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is seen darting off the field at the World Series Champs' Fort Myers, Fla., complex during a driving rain storm this morning. The second-year Japanese pitcher was in the middle of a workout – no doubt tossing a few gyroballs – when the rain began to pour.

Speaking of major league hurlers, Roger Clemens is getting hit pretty hard on Capitol Hill at the moment.

Update: This is from Amalie Benjamin's blog on
Right around 9:30 a.m., the clouds started looking a little ominous. The thunder and lightning were clearly indicating rain was coming. And, yet, Daisuke Matsuzaka remained out on a far bullpen mound without a golf car in sight.

About 15 minutes later, after much of the media had taken refuge in the locker room as the gusts of rain started soaking the facility, Matsuzaka burst through the door, rain dripping off his mullet, his shirt dark red with rain, and his breath short. He had sprinted from the far mound, clearly demonstrating his speed -- Masa Hoshino, his interpreter, plus a group of other personnel. He laughed as he walked in.

And speaking of Matsuzaka, the pitcher has been parking his monster white Hummer in a prime parking spot right by the locker room door, while Hoshino has been driving around in ... a Kia. Not everyone can be a star starter, I guess.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wrigley Ice

It sure looks cold outside Wrigley Field right now. Check out the Web cam and see for yourself. I could go for a hot cup of coffee inside the McDonald's across the street.

The photo featured to the right is not from today, but from a snowed-out Cubs game with the Astros on April 11.

Don't forget: Only two more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Heinz To Remain Natural

Yesterday I promised to post about the Pittsburgh Steelers decision to stick with natural grass at Heinz Field. After some quick research today, I notice that story has been reported… everywhere!!! Anyway, the quickie version is the Steelers organization talked with its players and with the University of Pittsburgh, which shares Heinz Field with the Steelers, and found that overwhelmingly those groups support keeping natural grass. If you want to read mainstream media accounts of this story, here's a long list Google-y good of links. Enjoy!

Twins New Open-Air Ballyard Promises Fun Aprils Ahead

Every time I check the Minnesota Twins ballpark construction cam, there is snow on the ground. And I do mean every time. As of 10:14 a.m. local time, snow was scattered about and the temperature was 6 degrees in Minneapolis. When the Twinkies begin play in the ballpark in 2010, there may be some interesting Aprils in that place. You can view the construction cam here.

Here is a video report from KARE 11 showing construction workers pouring the ballpark's first concrete on a cold late January day. The temperature was minus 4 degrees when the crews began the process at 6 a.m.

Promises Are Made To Be Broken

I made a promise here sometime last year that I would never again write about cricket rain delays. I'm breaking the promise today. I have nothing against cricket; I just know nothing about the sport. But we are experiencing a bit of downtime on The Rainout Blog as we are caught between football and baseball seasons. Plus, I love this Reuters photo. The pic was taken Tuesday from behind a window at a soggy Seddon Park during the second one-day match between New Zealand and England. The cricket park is located in Hamilton, New Zealand. There's a great photo of a sunny day at Seddon Park on the facility's web site.

If you're still jonesing for more cricket rain delay information, check this photo and cutline.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rain delays start Cricket Contest

If ever a sport needed to be played indoors...

Foggy Conditions Cancel Hockey Game

Speaking of fog(see below)check out this video from about two college hockey seasons ago.

Skiing and Wind Don't Mix, I'm Told

While we're on the subject of wind (see below), I should mention that the competitors at the women's super-G felt a bitter, biting cold breeze in Sestriere, Italy on Sunday. Andrea Fischbacher of Austria and Fabienne Suter of Switzerland shared victory in the event that, as the Associated Press wrote, "was shaped by varying wind and several crashes."

Fog was the culprit (as you can see in the photo here) at the World Cup Freestyle Skiing Moguls in West Vancouver, British Columbia Saturday. The event was suspended as fog grew heavier. Speaking of heavy fog, check out this photo of a man laboring near the National Olympic Stadium in fog in Beijing, China. The photo was taken in December.

Breaking Wind, Not Records

This is a bizarre story: Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele was looking to add to his numerous world records Saturday at an event in Valencia, Spain. Bekele missed the world mark by 11 seconds. The cause for Bekele's turtle-like pace? He blamed the wind. Oh, did I mention this was on indoor event? You really can't make up this stuff. Here's a quote from the slow-as-molasses runner.

"The weather conditions were very difficult. It was windy. I could feel it while running on one side of the track. Maybe there was a window open?"

To be fair to Bekele, other runners in the 3,000m race said they also felt a bit of a breeze.

Tennessee School Faking It On The Field

The Dobyns-Bennett High School baseball team may have to move a handful of its scheduled early-season home games to the road. The Kingsport, Tenn., school is, for some reason, installing an artificial surface to its home ballyard, J. Fred Johnson Stadium. However, lots of January rain has delayed the project, forcing construction crews to work overtime in an attempt to meet deadlines. If you have two minutes to kill, you can watch a short B-roll video about the project here.

That reminds me, I think I saw over the weekend a story about the Steelers electing to stick with natural grass at Heinz Field. Did I really see that story or was it just a dream? I'll check into it. If it's true, good for the Steelers.

By the way, this is post No. 250 on The Rainout Blog. Does that call for a celebration. You bet it does!!!

Raindrops and Curveballs

We've officially hit a dry spell here at The Rainout Blog since football season came to an end. Good news, however, is on the way. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just a few days and soon there will be potential rainouts during those March exhibition games. And in April, when the first pitch is fired to open the regular season (Actually the season opens March 31 this year), there will be great potential for scenes like this. Last April was hectic with rain and snow hitting Major League ballparks at a maddening pace. I made more posts in April 2007 than any other month during the brief history of this blog.

By the way, the headline to this post – "Raindrops and Curveballs" – was the original name of this blog, which initially was intended to chronicle baseball rainouts and delays. And you think the current format is narrowly focused.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'll Take The AFC And Lei The Points

Boston Globe writer Pat Bigold wrote Wednesday that the weather for the AFC’s first Pro Bowl practice in Honolulu was, like the New England Patriots, slightly less than perfect. Here’s an excerpt from Bigold’s column:

Like the Patriots' offensive line last Sunday, the Hawaiian weather was not at its best as the AFC held its first practice for the Pro Bowl yesterday.

The sky above the Kapolei High School football field, 24 miles west of Waikiki Beach on Oahu's leeward coast, was thick with gray clouds. There wasn't a hint of the subtropical sun that has earned Hawaii the nickname "paradise."

But it didn't rain, and temperatures did hover in the mid 70s.
But the shirt-sleeve climate was no consolation for the several Patriots who are now in Hawaii.

The forecast for Sunday’s Pro Bowl calls for mostly sunny skies with a high a 79 and a 20 percent chance of rain. Darn near perfect, if you ask me.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Wet Women Delayed In Australia

The start of the Australian Ladies Masters has been pushed back a day and the event has been reduced to 54 holes because of heavy rain at the Royal Pines Resort Course. Nearly two inches of rain fell on the course Wednesday during a 15-minute period. The course already had been saturated by four days of rain in Gold Coast. The 16 inches of rain that fell over those four days canceled practice rounds Monday and Tuesday. Australia’s Karrie Webb is one of the tournament favorites.

We're Talkin' About Practice

The Reuters photo above was taken at a soggy practice pitch in Kumasi Wednesday just before Egypt’s national soccer team had its practice session by heavy rain. Here is another cool shot of the wet practice.

Preds Stop Hurricanes, Wait Out Tornado

The Predators whacked the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night, but players, fans and everyone inside Nashville's Sommet Center had to sit tight until tornado warnings passed. I have no time to write today, but you can read the full story here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rain On Giants Parade

Rain was forecasted for New York today, but the Giants parade through the Canyon of Heroes was a spared from the wet stuff… until now. Umbrellas began popping up around 1:45 p.m., local time. You can watch the rally live here.

Today I Proclaim Belly Dancing To Be A Sport

Is belly dancing a sport? Let's say it is for the sake of posting this video on my sports-weather blog. It's a clip from the new Fit TV series, Shimmy. Included are a few dancing scenes in snow, which, if belly dancing is indeed a sport, justifies posting it here, right? Right!

Busby Babes Video Tribute

Busby Babes Remembered

I like to keep things light here on The Rainout Blog, but it should be mentioned that Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed 23 of the 44 passengers aboard British European Airways Flight 609 on Feb. 6, 1958. The Manchester United football team along with supporters and journalists were aboard the plane when it crashed on its third attempt to take off a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany.

Numerous newspapers are running stories this week – here's one – to remember the tragedy in which eight Man U players lost their lives, as did eight sports journalists who covered the team and, through their writings, brought to life the matches for their readers.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Leatherheads And NFL Draft in April

"Leatherheads" looks like a must-see flick for us football guys. In addition to featuring some big-name Hollywood stars, the trailer promises some nasty gridiron mud action. The only problem is the movie hits the big screen in April, the first month of baseball season. On the other hand, you could argue that April also is the time of the NFL Draft. Speaking of the NFL, have I mentioned 18-1* lately?

Mammoth versus Groundhog

Everyone knows about Punxatawney Phil and the little groundhog's weather predicting abilities, but how many of you know about the forecasting of Saltville, Virginia's Woolly Mammoth? That's Wooly, the mascot for the Museum of the Middle Appalachians in located in Saltville, in the photo. You can read more about his winter prediction here.

Spoiler alert: Both Woolly and Punxatawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter this year. Woolly made his prediction a week before Phil's projection.

If you don't have time to read the full story, check out these quotes from the VP of the Phil's club. No, I'm not kidding!

"Who cares if it’s a week early?" Mike Johnston, vice president of the Inner Circle of the Punxatawney Groundhog Club, said of Woolly’s prediction. "Nobody knows about it.

"I really can’t say anything other than it sounds to me like just another impostor trying to take a ride on the coattails on the real weather forecasting animal in this country. That would be, of course, Punxatawney Phil."

Sounds like fighting words.

I tried to contact Woolly, but he could not be reached for comment and did not return my calls before press time. However, those close to the mammoth say Woolly often says that the groundhog performs a great service… and that groundhogs are best served with gravy. Ok, I'm made that last part.

For the actual exchange of words between the two camps, be sure to read the story linked above.

Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Long, Long Legs

Dude! I know this has nothing to do with sports, but here is an uber hot photo of Heidi Klum staving off rain drops during Fashion Week in New York a couple of days ago.

Hey, we may have a bit of drought in sports/weather content here until baseball season begins. And this photo could help drive up my page views.

FYI: Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 10 days.

What, No Roof To Close?

Football is over for several months, so we'll have no more talk for a while about muddy gridirons, frozen tundras or roof closings. Those topics have ruled this space over the past couple of months. So, let's throw a change up. Let's talk tennis. No, this is not an excuse to display another Maria Sharapova photo.

Rain put a wash on the Fed Cup matches between Germany and the United States in La Jolla, Calif., Sunday. The rain delay lasted four hours before officials postponed the matches until Monday. The wet stuff did let up and the, uh, court crew, tried to dry the playing surface for the matches to resume. Suckers! More rain began to fall an hour later, prompting the postponement.

Lindsay Davenport is the U.S. player of note competing in the Fed Cup. The winner of the U.S.–Germany match – that best-of-five match was tied at 1-1 when the rains began to fall Sunday – will move on to play the Russian team, led by, you guessed it, Maria Sharapova.

I ordinarily don't like to mix rainouts with politics, but this is a cool photo.

The caption on this photo says rain is falling, but I think I'm missing… oh, wait. I think I see where rain has landed. Yeah, there it is.

Giants Slay Pats In Controlled Conditions

It’s been fun this week tracking the University of Phoenix roof status for the Super Bowl. We heard the roof would be open for the game if weather permitted. However, the threat of rain proved to be enough to keep the lid closed. Oh, well. The important thing is the Giants won… and the Patriots lost. All is well with the world.

Congratulations to the G-Men.


J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Game-Time Decision

According to forecast, most of the rain could hit the University of Phoenix Stadium around the beginning of the second. However, officials may decide to close the roof for the game’s duration, from the beginning. It looks like the roof is going to be a game-time decision.

UPDATE: Goodell orders retractable roof closed for the Super Bowl

Friday, February 01, 2008

Roof Open At Super Bowl… Not So Fast

It has been reported all week that the retractable lid over University of Phoenix Stadium will be open for Sunday night’s Super Bowl, if weather permits. That “if” seems to have gotten much bigger. The Arizona Republic reported Friday that the Glendale area could be hit by a “cold wet storm that may last from late Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.” is reporting a 30 percent chance of rain with a high of 58 degrees at kickoff.

Go Giants!!!