Saturday, August 2, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!

Unbelievable. Somebody here must have done something to tick off the Big Guy upstairs. (OK, truth be told, if you know this group, just about everyone here has done something to tick off the Big Guy upstairs, but still.)

It seems like every single night we have a game, it rains. Or there's the threat of rain. Or it's just about to rain.

Every. Single. Game.

I think I have pulled the tarp more times this season than in any of my previous seven seasons. Maybe more than all seven combined!

It's gotten to the point that when Al Roker and Chris Cimino give me the 10-day forecast, I can tell which days are game days by the ones that have the dark thundercloud and crackling lightning on them.

I'm really starting to hate the weathermen.

Now, here's the amazing thing. We still haven't had a rainout! When you play 76 games in 82 days -- and three of those off days are travel/All-Star Game days, a rainout can throw everything into turmoil. And so, our staff attacks the post-rain field like no other. You've probably seen us if you've been to any game with a delay. We're raking, squeegeeing, dumping, pumping, dragging, and doing just about everything we can to get the field ready to go. I've ruined countless pairs of pants and shoes, and have that unmistakable brown hue at the bottom of just about every pair of frayed gameday khakis I own.

I've seen guys with their hands down the drain up to their shoulders. I've even seen -- no exagerration -- a colleague hold his breath, and go fully submerged into the muck to pull off a clogged drain cover (Steve Gresh, 2002).

When it rains, it's all hands on deck, and everyone from the GM to the interns becomes an immediate and eternal member of the Grounds Crew.

Players will often look outside, see end-of-the-world type of rain, and say something like "no way we play tonight, right?" Without fail, I'll tell them to be ready, because I've seen worse, and we've still played.

Even in the driving rain, a couple of thousand people will undoubtedly still show up (that's the other comment players always make..."these are the most loyal fans I've ever seen"), and that means we have a responsibility to try everything we can to get the game in.

So, next time you're thinking about skipping a game because it rained earlier in the day, think again. We're all probably outside, putting the finishing touches on the field and getting ready to play ball!

It's a bonding experience of sorts...a fraternity that all minor league baseball employees belong to (and are forced into). It's kind of like being in a foxhole. You really see what people are made of.

But I can think of lots of other ways to bond that don't involve dirt, mud, and me getting soaking wet while doing backbreaking manual labor in front of thousands of angry and anxious fans. So pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease -- pretty please -- no more rain. Please.

-- Dave

1 comment:

Lisa Gav said...

The only time I've seen anything close to what you guys go through is working at Shakespeare in the Park when "the R-word" happens. I was a low-level Production Asst on "Othello" as Christopher Walken stood in the rain with his hand over his body mic to prevent it from shorting out. I've squeegeed a stage dry and gotten on my hands and knees with wiping rags, only to see the heavens open again. All with audience members sitting there watching with their umbrellas open. Biggest difference though, NO TARP!