Rain, Rain Go Away!
Sigh! I was excited to see this Tampa Bay Rays versus New York Yankees contest this afternoon. Mother Nature for some odd reason had a different game plan in mind. This deluge of liquid sunshine has now pushed the Rays into a possible day/night double trouble matchup on September 21st against the Bronx Bombers.
If there is the one thing the Rays Republic have grown to love over the past 14 seasons, it is that rarely is there ever a rain out at home. The pure fantastic fact that you will always be dry and a comfortable 72 degrees when you venture into the Teflon dome of Tropicana Field.
It is is one of the greatest things that endears me to this domed stadium. The pure fact that only twice during the Rays existence has a game ever been canceled or postponed due to torrid Summer Florida weather patterns is a true testament to building a domed roof over any and every Major League Baseball playing field.
The most memorable postponement came because of the mild-mannered threat of Hurricane Frances back on September 4-5, 2004. It might have made the Rays and the Tigers take a few extra days off because of the impending weather, but it also developed into the Rays only doubleheader in team history played on September 30,2004.
The only time a game has been postponed due to weather in Tropicana Field history stamped a permanent mark as the Rays first and only chance at playing a doubleheader under the dome.
What is more surprising is that the Rays then flew to New York to play the Yankees for a previously re-rescheduled double header that had been reconfigured twice before the two teams finally played their postponed two games on September 9,2004. Ironic to today’s rain out event, but true.
Because of the Teflon-coated dome above their heads, the Rays have only had to re-schedule one set of game for a doubleheader in their existence, which most teams would envy in a heartbeat. But the Rays/Yankees cancellation is not unique as delays are happening all over the country due to weather, even postponing the Philadelphia Phillies versus Washington Nationals finale in Nationals Park.
It is the one constant that a fan of a team with an open air stadium can guarantee at least once during the MLB season, that rain will end up ruining your parade to the ballpark.
But at Tropicana Field, it has been a sure thing or a “given” that the Rays will play out their 81-game home game slate in its entirety without rain delays, field prep after a sudden downpour, or even postponing of a contest after waiting around at the stadium for 90 minutes.
When you hit Tropicana Field, you know you are going to see the entire baseball game that night. And that is a distinctive advantage that the Rays fans can embrace and find as a beautiful constant to attending and enjoying Rays games compared to some who get bogged down in rainy situations elsewhere in the MLB.
Because of its warm and dry comfort, the aspect of having a field tarp on the sidelines of Tropicana Field to cover the playing surface has never even been an item of concern for the Rays groundskeepers. Sure there are a few slits in the roofing where moisture can dribble down on you within the Trop (Centerfield), but the ability to keep the fans and players dry when the winds are howling outside, and the rain is beating upon the roof like the Indian’s famous kettle drum, makes the Trop a needed necessity for professional baseball in Florida.
Even if the Rays home, Tropicana Field is the last dome of its kind still playing games under its illuminated white roof in the Major Leagues, it is still home, and an always dry home to the Rays Republic.
That is a great assurance to have in a state where the weather can change every five minutes…or less. Amazingly enough, the Florida Marlins, our MLB brethren to the Southeast, have constantly been on daily alert worrying about the threat of a band of late afternoon or evening showers raining down on any of its 81 scheduled games. The Marlins have only had to re-schedule 2 games so far in 2011 due to the weather. Amazingly, none of those contests have been at their home stadium. Both re-scheduled contests have come against the Phillies( 4/16) and Mets (5/17) on the road.
Rays fans and players know confidently that they are going to be dry except for the game time sweat they produce on the turf at every Rays home game. I agree that totally that baseball was designed to be played under the sun and stars, to let the elements of this Earth wreck havoc and mayhem upon the game,and I can respect that thinking.
But in a humid and unstable moisture-based climate like Florida, having a roof over your head can be a beautiful thing. Especially with the Summertime storms that turn rain sideways and can produce wind gusts beyond 50 mph in an instant.
I have experienced only one rain delay while going to a Rays away series in Cleveland back on May 15,2004. I had a grand time just being within the wet droplets and experiencing a rain delay and all its aspects personally. It was a once in a lifetime adventure for someone who’s team plays their games within a dome.
I love the pure fact that when I go to a Rays game, there is a constant that I will see a baseball game that night, and even with the inner fabric of the Trop swirling from the wind gusts outside, I will be dry and comfortable up until the last out of the ballgame.
Rain delays can wreck havoc on the mood and demeanor of a home crowd, but with a roof like the Trop over our heads for at least the next 10 years, we can be confident to see great games without a hint of delay or impromptu rain that sends both players and fans scurrying into the overhanging stands.
But I do miss a little rain on my face. The fun and special moments that a rain delay can produce…like meeting new friends at another ballpark and learning something new in a visiting town.
I will leave you with a great quote from “Bull Durham” by Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, “This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Think about that for a while.”