Fifteen yards

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NFLKickerSnowYep, fifteen yards.

That’s how far back the NFL last week agreed to move extra-point kicks, resulting in what will be 33-yard point-after-touchdowns beginning with the 2015 season.

The league hopes this extra distance for extra points makes the ho-hum play a little more exciting, keeping your eyes glued to the TV and delaying your trip to the ‘fridge and/or the bathroom just a few more seconds.
NFL kickers are deadly accurate, and an extra 15 yards shouldn’t make a difference, right?


Unless until you consider games in November, December and January for cold weather teams like the Giants, Jets, Packers, Bills, Bears and Steelers. And don’t forget the Vikings, who have one more season of outdoor home games before moving into a new dome.

Giants’ kicker Josh Brown talked last week about the rule change and potential problems caused by bad weather, particularly wind.

I asked Brown through Twitter if wind, rain or snow provided the most challenge for NFL kickers. He replied:

Brown responded quickly, which gave me the confidence to poll a few other NFL kickers through Twitter. This will be great, I thought, to get thought from the pros about kicking extra points from an increase distance in bad weather conditions.

As Phil Collins once sang, “No reply at all.”

But Alex Marvez at FOX Sports – he somehow is better connected than The Rainout Blog – spoke Brown and Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, getting their perspectives on kicking, in general and longer PATs, in adverse weather conditions. Below are quotes from the kickers about various conditions.

Brown on kicking in rain and wind:

“Rain makes the ball heavier. If you hit the ball well, it flies perfectly straight. Wind causes the biggest amount of changes.”

Walsh on kicking in frigid temperatures:

“If the ball is overly cold or overly inflated it does not go as far in cold weather. It’s sort of a running joke that once you hit below about 32 degrees as a kicker expect to hit it five or six yards less on anything whether it’s a kickoff or deep field goal.

“If you have two specialists who are used to kicking outside in those conditions, those late-game, 33-yard extra points to tie (the score) at 21 are going to be a positive for us and a disadvantage for a team like Atlanta or Indianapolis who play in a dome.”


Rain king for the day

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Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera smacked the 400th home run of his career Saturday through pouring rain in St. Louis. Cabrera deposited a full-count fastball from Cardinals lefty Tyler Lyons an estimated 428 feet away in the first inning.

Miggy is all smiles as he rounds the bases.

See the home run here

Shortly after Cabrera’s home run, the game was suspended an hour and 20 minutes for rain. The Tigers went on to win 4-3 in 10 innings.

American Pharaoh is one tough mudder

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The Kentucky Derby winner slogged through the mud today to take the Preakness Stakes and the second leg of the Triple Crown races.

Check out some of the best tweets from Pimilico.

The weather ‘what-ifs’ for today’s Preakness Stakes

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If a hard thunderstorm hits Baltimore today an hour or two before post time at the 2015 Preakness Stakes, it could create a wet, sloppy mess on the Pimilco Race Course.

If that’s the case, I pity the fool who doesn’t take Mr. Z.

Yep, he’s a longshot, but one horse racing expert I spoke with today is saying there’s a chance.

“Mr. Z, who is 30-1 today, has had a good race in the mud. He could jump out there, get in the lead and not look back,” said Jerry “T,” the host of “Talking Horses with Jerry ‘T’ on 640 AM WXSM in east Tennessee.

A quick check of the forecast shows a 100 percent chance of thunderstorms before the race.

A combination of having good bloodlines for racing in sloppy conditions and his post position could make Mr. Z a surprise winner today.

“Because of the post position – he’s No. 3 – he could jump out to the lead if it got real muddy,” Jerry “T” explained. “Even though American Pharaoh has a good mud race, he’s in the No. 1 hole, and it is never good to come out of the No. 1 hole. So, there’s a little disadvantage there, rain or shine.”

That “good mud race” for American Pharaoh Jerry “T” referred to was a Rebel Stakes win in muddy conditions at Oaklawn Park in March. “It was very sloppy that day. He went to the front and won by six lengths,” Jerry “T” said. “He ran a great race.”

(You watch the race here:

“T” also likes American Pharaoh, the Kentucky Derby winner and favorite in any track condition, today if there’s a muddy track, or to use horse racing vernacular, an off-track.

“When you have an off-track, the advantage always goes to the speed horses. Because, if you’re out front and it’s muddy, you’re throwing mud back on the other horses” Jerry “T” said. “When they start getting muddy, they could pick up three or four or five pounds of mud. And, the frontrunner will be completely clean. The other guys behind him will look like they’ve been thrown in a mud puddle.”

Examining the field, “T” said all of the eight horses racing today have bloodlines that can handle an off-track, with one exception.

“The only one in the race who might not like the mud is the No. 8 horse Firing Line,” Jerry “T” said. “He doesn’t really have a pedigree for racing in the mud. You might can say if it gets really muddy, he might not like the mud.”

Can’t always dodge the rain

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We don’t get many rain delays at Dodgers and Padres games, particularly on the same night. But when we do, we tend to go a little gaga.

That’s OK. Baseball-interrupting rain showers in those towns happen about as often you not findings an eggshell in your grandma’s potato salad. (Maybe I’m revealing too much family history.)

Anyway, let’s take a look at the goings-on from Dodger Stadium and Petco Park last night.

Let’s begin with this guy, the dancing Padre:

And here’s video of the rain happenings at Dodger Stadium. Bonus: You get to hear Vin Scully, who begins to talk about how “we used to go through this so much” in Brooklyn. The video cuts off there, and I’m not sure if there was more to the story from Vin. If so, I’d love to grab a drink and listen.

Rain Drops

A mayor of a tiny Texas town slammed by a tornado is getting some much-deserved flak for skipping out on community relief efforts. Where was he? Playing golf, of course. … In a salute to the Negro Leagues, the Kansas City Royals are wearing throwback uniforms Sunday, and so are the grounds crew. You know, the guys who roll out the tarp during a rain delay. Yeah, that’s how this relates to The Rainout Blog. … This seems a little fishy, but a cool, yet seemingly unrealistic, idea. … Interesting note: Dodger Stadium has experienced only 17 rainouts since the ballpark opened in 1962.

Mud in the spikes, but Timmy doesn’t balk

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Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum had a heck of a time with the mound at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Thursday night.

Andrew Baggarly of writes about the hurler’s struggles:

He threw 32 pitches to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park, most of them missing high or bouncing in the dirt or otherwise treating Buster Posey like the business end of a shooting gallery. He walked three, threw a wild pitch, had two bases swiped on his watch, slipped on the rubber as if someone slathered it with Crisco, used an honest-to-goodness dinner fork to clean out his muddy spikes and only walked back to the dugout courtesy of two wall-bumping catches in center field from Angel Pagan.

Baggarly also quote Lincecum about the muddy conditions, saying: “You’ve got 30 some-odd mounds out there. You’ve got to adjust and work with it and I didn’t. More mentally it got to me. That’s where I’ve got to tighten my focus.”

Here’s video of Lincecum’s troubles. Check out the 3-2 pitch to Marlon Byrd – there’s a runner on second – in which Lincecum displays some nifty athletic ability by getting the pitch to the plate as he stumbles to avoid a balk.


Harold’s rain delay story

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San Diego rain delay 05-14-2015
Associated Press

The clock is making its way toward 11:30 p.m. at The Rainout Blog world headquarters on the East Coast. I need to hop out of bed at 4:45 a.m. for work, but I was hoping to catch the first couple of innings of the Nationals at Padres game.

As luck would have it, there’s currently a rain delay at Petco, only the sixth one in the park’s history. Anyway, I’m flipping between MASN and the MLB Network and here Harold Reynolds talk about the importance of staying ready to play, physically and mentally, during a rain delay.

Here’s Reynolds talking to Al Leiter and Greg Amsinger:

“I was in Triple A, Salt Lake City… first time I had ever had a tarp in my life, right? It’s raining cats and dogs in Salt Lake. You can imagine, a lot like Colorado, right?” Reynolds said, pointing to Leiter on the set.

“And I’m like, ‘we’re not playing tonight! Let’s go to the movies. Let’s figure out what we’re doing,” he said excitedly.

“The next thing you know, they rip off the tarp, and I’m standing at the plate going ‘oh my.’ I wasn’t ready to play at all. That was a huge lesson in figuring out… uh oh, you better stay ready.”