Rain Delay Moments

I have to be honest here. I am very uneducated on the actions and reactions of true rain delays in a baseball game. I do have experience on the field as a player with them, but I have a very limited set of mental resources to remind me of what happens during rain delays with my own team. I mean, we play in an enclosed dome that leaks, but only in centerfield right in front of B J Upton’s position. And even then, the Tampa Bay Rays fans have no real idea of the time involved, or the actions that need to be made for a rain delay.

We do not know about the hustle and bustle of the grounds crew to position and then unroll a massive plastic tarp to cover the infield and keep it from furhter water damage. We do not have a clue on the elements of dictating a rain delay, or even the planning and the execises in boredom that can overtake the moments waiting for a team to “call a game” and send us all home.
Maybe I should consider myself lucky that the three times in my baseball travels that had rain delays, we ended up playing within a few hours and concluded all three games.

But the thing that humors me about rain delays is the simple act it throws the in-stadium video and game crews into an instant panic for a few moments before chaos becomes order. I mean I have been to Progressive Field/Jacobs Field twice for 3-game series in the past, and always the Sat afternoon games have been delayed by liquid sunshine. One game was in the middle of May (5/14/2004) and the other was at the end of the regular season in September (9/30/2006), so the time of the year might not have had a huge impact in the droplets of water. 

And I had a ball during both of those delays. During the first one,I learned a new drinking game a few bartenders who were attending the games as a group, and during the second delay I learned a lot about the Indians teams history while also sitting in the sprinkles just beyond the stadium overhang.  And I relished sitting there during the last half hour of the delay loving the rain and missing it sometimes on my skin during games in Tampa Bay. For it is a special part of the game where the fans can commune and talk about the team, life or just the weather.

 And the only other rain situation I have ever been involved in was on June 3,2005 when I was in Seattle for the Rays 3-game series. During the Sat. night game the rain began to lightly fall, and they began to close that massive steel roof while the game was still in progress below. What truly amazed me was the fact that no one besides me even acknowledged the fact the roof was closing during the inning. It was such a common thing to them only slight glances went skyward during its closure. I was mesmerized watching the huges pieces of metal above me moving with those giant wheels churning towards a closed point. It seemed to only take a few minutes, but for that entire time I was just in total awe of the spectacle.

But what do “normal” fans do during rain delays? For this I have no real information or even knowledge. For I live in a baseball region that employs a domed stadium where the only delays we have is for the electircal situation that come with mega thunderstorms or the odd lightning strike on a nearby substation that flips the breakers and turns off the large lights. Bu that is rare, and only takes 15-20 minutes before the stadium is again aglow with luminated lighting. So what experience do I have in the rain? Well, not much, but I am also someone who could have fun all by himself, and I did have fun.

While in Cleveland, with the rain lightly falling, I went down on the rail by the field taking pictures of the ground crew putting the tarp out on the field. I tried to get the attention of one of the ground crew members to ask about their job, but no one seemed to want to bother with the “Away team” guy. But I stayed down there in that section of seats and let the raindrops hit me again and again. And I decided to sit down by the Visitor’s dugout during the delay and one of my favorite guys on the Rays in 2005, Damian Rolls was out watching the rain fall.

We chatted for a few minutes on why I was there ( personal B-day present to myself), and about the great game of baseball. It was a great moment for me to get to know another one of the Rays, and I did not even notice it was raining harder at the time. As I was getting soaked in my Rays white jersey, Rolls slipped me a Rays green warm up jacket and told me to try and stay warm for they needed to hear my screams during the game. I told him I was seated actually right next to the roof area of the Rays Bullpen in rightfield, and it might take a bit to hear my voice that day.

Rays Manager Lou Pinella then strolled out and predicted it would be two hours before they took the tarp off. I chuckled and he looked my way and acknowledged the Pepsi man. Rolls and I talked for a few more minutes before he said he wanted to go hit in the under stands batting cages and stretch out again for the game. After Rolls left, I wandered around the stadium taking in the sights before meeting a few older gentleman who gave me a short but entertaining history of the Indians franchise.

And at about the 2 hour and 3 minute mark into the rain delay, the grounds crew came out and started to throw down kitty litter or field dry to prepare the field. I laughed that Pinella was only off by a few minutes, but we were again going to see baseball that day in Cleveland. And that is my total, but short history of rain-related adventures. But I know there are scores of other people who read this blog, and who also have had entertaining adventures during rain delays.

Rain is an element some find disturbing, while others love the simple feel of it on their skin. Rain can be romantic or ruin your simple plans. But the rain can also open opportunities for you to explore and even meet new and exciting people while attending a baseball game. I hate to admit it, but every game I go to outside of Tropicana Field I hope for rain. Not to be difficult, but so I can walk around the stadium complex and see things I would not notice if I sat in my seat. Maybe even meet some new friends who will tell me the “hot spot” to hit in the Warehouse District in Cleveland, or a small food vendor I have to see in Seattle before I leave town.

Baseball might be about the game, but for me baseball is also about the experience. And the games that have given me the total experience have been the one that developed into rain delayed contests. I do not get this luxury that much at home. the stadium is not know for their electircal backouts or long delays. So when I travel to other stadiums, I hope and pray that these delays do happen so I can partake in all the oddities and great features of each stadium I visit. And if a little rain must fall……..so be it!

17 Comments

Cliff:

Wonderful post.

It does rain alot in Cleveland, and it is shocking how the groundscrew come back and battle the rain til they get the job done.

I love Cle and couldn’t imagine being anywhere else to watch a ballgame.

I bet you had fun with those guys you talked too,

there are alot of knowledgable Tribe fans who a regular attendees at the game.

I have fun with all of them, especially those who seat in my row.

I normally start chants like “CHOOOO” and it sounds like we are “booo” ing but we are actually chanting Choo’s name.

and then the wave, great fun.

The upperdeck really keeps it going.

love Progressive Field! WOn’t change my mind about it.

–Ted “TTW/T”

http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

Ted,
Cleveland is one of my favorite ballparks. That is why I have been there twice. And the ride on the subway from the airport is kind of cool.
I actually was planiing on writing another blog on favorite staidums, and Progressive/Jacob’s Field is on that list.
The city backdrop to me is impressive along with the scoreboards above the outfielders head in leftfield and left-center.
And Stadium Mustard and Great Lakes beer..enough said.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

When the kids were younger, the few times we were able to go to a game, the last thing we wanted was a rain delay! That meant more $$$ for the babysitter!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Great post, I love progressive field.
PNC is another beautiful stadium.
The one rain delay moment that sticks out to me is Mark Burehle, i found it funny with him sliding across the tarp. Thats my favorite.
http://clevelandbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Sue,
How soon I forget about the parents trying to get out for a game without the underlings.
I could understand the financial freak out when the game can get into the wee hours of the night/morning.
Guess I am lucky to not have that responsibility since my two daughters are above 16 and keep telling me they can take care of themselves.
But my room mate brood cost me a perfect season when i had to watch them on Thursday afternoon, and the game was not on TV lol

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cleveland,
Progressive is one of my favorite fields.
Actually, you know where the bricks are in centerfield.
Well, I have one out there that I bought for $150 when I was there a few years ago and they were advertising the space on the brick face.
Never saw the Buehrle video, but I heard about it through gossip.
I also saw some video of a nut both in Philly and Boston jumping out onto the tarp during a rain delay and having a fun time unitl some unfun security guys took them away.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Cliff – I loved the videos! This season seems to have had more then it’s fair share of rain – but today? it is BEAUTIFUL in Boston!! Let’s play some ball!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Here’s what I do in a rain delay…last year, during the All-Star push, I filled out over 100 ballots and made a “snowman” with the loose chads. Kids wandered over to see what I was doing…so, entertain your fellow fans! What else is there to do, really?

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Julia,
We have no choice but play two..Ernie Banks-style.
Just wish this series could have been done like a normal 3-game series.
More for the fatigue factor than for the elements.
Puts a huge amount of pressure on the Rays since they do not have a 11-man bench like the Red Sox.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Jenn,
You had to use the “hanging Chad” line (lol)
I am glad you did some fantastic for your team like fill out All Star ballot.
I did the same between innings for game during the voting process.
then in the final vote I was on my laptop in the stadium voting until my battery went dead.
I agree, got to entertain the masses during a rain delay.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

What a great post. The newer Stadiums are so packed with incredible fan friendly areas, if you don’t explore you really miss that “baseball experience”. Rain delays give you that opportunity without fearing you’ve missed the big hit or the big play. Imagine spending a few hours just roaming around Fenway… .then, settling back in your seat to see the Rays take both games on Sunday ; )

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Buz,
I actually think the best things around Fenway are right outsdie before you get into the stadium. The whole surrounding area is poised and anxious for baseball.
It is always a WILD time searching and walking around a new stdium.
But I know what you mean about the new stadiums. The Rays have an older stadium, but both outfield sections breezeways have thing for all ages.
And the Ted Williams Hitters Museum.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Awesome entry! Loved the dance off video, how funny! As a former hip hop dance instructor, I must say some of those boys got moves! hehe :) And I love that you mention us Seattleites not acknowledging the roof starting to close! It’s so true, rain is second nature to us! The M’s had rain issues this series with the Rangers and we had a double-header today. I think the M’s won the series because they’re so used to the rain!!! :) Oh and I LOVE the profile picture! Lucky! xoxo http://diamondgirl55.mlblogs.com

Diamondgirl,
Got to be honest with you.
Seattle is my second home, so to speak.
I love not only the climate and the scenery, but also the attitude and the friendliness of the folks out west.
The dance video are amazing, and one of them was done in Clearwater, Florida not even three miles from mt house.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rain Delays can be fun and more.. love the vids… the rain delay that sticks in my mind is the one where the Phillies players ran on to the field to help the grounds crew put the tarp on cause the wind was too much for just the grounds crew…and the Phillies were the visiting team…
~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Peter,
I have hard stories of the hijinks that have gone on at both CBP and Veteran’s Stadium in the past.
Heck, there are even some videos running around the Net that even show some fans trying to upll off rain delays wild times, but of course, the security force had other plans.
But one of my favorites from 2009 was the poor woman in Cincy who got gobbled up by the tarp during a Reds rain delay.
She tripped and got swallowed up by the tarp. She had some good humor towards the episode, even getting ribbed by Brandon Phillips on-air about the adventure.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

Rains alot here in Cleveland,

but right now it doesnt’ matter, cuz we suck either way. =)

I am trying not to lose hope. And my new title to my blog is

Ted’s Take.

I didn’t dig TTW/T as much so I changed it.

=) I love rain delays, even though you don’t see baseball, you get to see the many funny things players do in the midst of it.

It brings out the inner fan.

Ted’s Take

http://tribewithted.mlblogs.com/

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