If you think the government had TARP problems during the Bush Administration, they didn't compare what happened last night at Wrigley Field.
I was listening to the Cubs game over MLB Gameday and everything was going along just fine. Suddenly though, in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Cubs at home leading the visiting San Francisco GIants 2-0, at about 8:45 (Chicago time), it started to rain. But apparently that didn't do it justice, it was torrential. And it came so suddenly and so hard that it apparently caught not only the grounds crew but everyone unaware.
"When we watched the radar loop, Mother Nature was not raining," umpire crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt said. "No one had any facts that saw this coming." (Thereby given further proof that when they make the quip in Chicago, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute," they actually mean it. Longtime readers of these pages might recall the tale I told here about a bizarre torrent that hit a Wrigley Field game I was at -- and then passed by as quickly as it came. In fact, how much of an unexpected flash flood was this? Across town at U.S. Cellular Field where the White Sox play...they didn't even get any rain at all!)
And when the surprised ground crew quickly rushed to roll out the tarp to cover the infield as fast as they could...they got the angle wrong, and it didn't cover all the dirt. The crew tried to readjust the tarp, but because the rain was coming down so hard, that made it heavier and (despite the crowd chanting, "Pull!! Pull!!"), they couldn't move it. So, they were forced to try and use small tarps to patch the ground. It ended up turning the field into a swamp.
The rain only lasted about 10-15 minutes -- but it had come down so heavily that it caused massive damage, as the grounds crew tried to dry things out. Which, given how flooded things were, was maniacal. Yet they didn't give up, and the umpires refused to call the game, in large part because the Giants are in a pennant race, a game ahead in the Wild Card race in the National League, and so every game counts. If the umpires called the game over, enough had been played for the result to be official, and the Cubs would have won. And so on and on the delay went.
This passage from ESPN.com about the delay (which as I said had begun at 8:45 pm) hilariously speaks volumes of the circus--
"Cubs manager Rick Renteria and Giants manager Bruce Bochy met umpires near 10:30 p.m. and concluded that the field was not ready for play.
"The Wrigley P.A. announcer at 10:50 p.m. said that they still hope to resume play tonight. The game hadn't resumed by 12:55 a.m., Wednesday morning."
Yes, they waited over four hours until 12:55 in the morning! (At least until then, that's just when the story was filed.) Sometime later though the umpires made a decision -- and it was wonderful news (okay, for the Cubs...). They called the game, and the Cubs won. Hey, after 108 years of losing, we'll take any victory. Happy 100th anniversary Wrigley Field.
(The Giants have protested the game, which should be considered suspended and picked up where the rain started, though MLB doesn't have a big record for approving protests. However reports came in during the day that Major League Baseball recognized that this was an insane situation, and this afternoon they ruled in favor of the Giants. It's the first protest they've upheld since 1986. That's how outlandish this game was. The game will be continued tomorrow, Thursday, before the regularly scheduled game. It's the right decision -- but leave it to the Cubs to have a win taken away from them...)
Here's some of the telecast so you can see what was going on. The audio is from the Giants' feed, with Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller. This comes after around two hours of waiting. At the 31-seconds mark, they cut to footage from earlier in the evening when things were at their looniest worst.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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