Los Angeles Dodgers

Fahrenheit 103

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There’s not much time for writing The Rainout Blog these days – maybe soon – but I did want to make a quick post to 1) Note how hot it was in Los Angeles for Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night, and 2) Bump the previous post from the top spot. No one wants to see a black and white photo from the 1918 at the top of the blog, right?

The game-time temperature was 103 degrees when Clayton Kershaw threw the Fall Classic’s first pitch at about 5:08 p.m. L.A. time, and it’s going to be toasty again tonight for Game 2. I wish I had more time to write about Kershaw’s thoughts on pitching in such extreme temps or that Justin Turner thinks his game-deciding homer would not have left the park on a cooler evening. Maybe I’ll get to all of that at a later time.

Enjoy the Series everyone. I’m hoping it goes seven games, but I’m picking the Dodgers in 6.


This Week in Baseball Weather

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In a week of rain events and long delays in Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis, the most dramatic and spectacular developed in Cleveland Saturday night as thunder crashed the summer night and rain drops drummed steadily on Progressive Field.

Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning with his team tied 1-1 with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays. As rain fell around him, Lindor sent a pitch soaring high and deep into the night, spinning through rain drops toward the Cleveland skyline. Four-hundred and thirty-eight feet later, the ball splashed into the right field bleachers where hundreds of Tribe fans, a few clad in rain gear, celebrated their team’s much-needed walk off win.

The scene was set in the top half of inning as thunder roared through downtown and around the ballpark, but the rain held off until two pitches into Lindor’s at bat.

“Believe it or not, my first reaction when it started raining was like ‘Oh, the ball is going to go nowhere now,’” Lindor said after the game. “Then I stepped out and thought if I hit it hard on the ground, it will go through. And it went up and it carried.'”

The game-winner was Lindor’s first-ever walk-off homer in the rain… OK, it was first ever walk-off home run, period.

The Reds and Marlins began their three-game series Friday night with an hour and 47-minute delayed start at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. After things got going, Christian Yelich drove in two runs to help the Marlins to 3-1 win. It was the Reds’ fourth rain delay of the season.

Rain struck hard and fast in Chicago Wednesday night, leading to the game between the White Sox and Dodgers to be called after seven innings. It was as good as over anyway as the Dodgers held an eight-run lead at the time of the delay.

Umpires sent the players off the field and called for the tarp at 10:09 p.m. Chicago time with the Dodgers batting in the top of the eighth. Thirty-seven minutes later, the game was called at 10:46 p.m. with the ballpark mostly empty of spectators.

Los Angeles won 9-1 and went on to sweep the brief two-game series.

[Photo of White Sox head groundskeepers Roger Bossard covering the field in the eighth inning as rain began to fall.]

Atlanta Braves Twitter

If there was moaning coming from SunTrust Park early Monday evening, it wasn’t the usual incessant sound coming Braves fans performing that annoying Tomahawk Chop. The sound more likely was grumbling from Atlanta fans having to wait out an hour-long rain delay before watching their team lose to the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubbies, who are climbing back into the National League Central race, slapped the Braves 4-3.

Also on Monday, the Twins finished off the Yankees 4-2 just before a heavy rain zeroed in on Target Field. Twins’ closer Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth inning as rain began soaking the ballpark.

First-pitch temperature hit 88 degrees and may have caused some difficulty for Minnesota starter Aldaberto Mejia as he battled six innings effectively through the humid night.

“I was throwing hard overall,” the Dominican pitcher said. “I think the temperature got to me a little bit. Other than that, it was a good outing.”


Twins’ meteorologist Mace Michaels posted the above photo showing a soaked Target Field moments after the game. Michaels, by the way, is a great Twitter follow for all your Twins weather news and updates.

About those clouds over Wrigley

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Twitter: @CubsWhen I first saw the images of those scary-yet-pretty mammatus clouds hanging over Wrigley Field Monday night, I of course thought, “Wow, I have to write about this for The Rainout Blog.”

But, wait. What do I write? I’m no cloud scientist.

But you know who is? Dr. Robert Houze, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

I asked Houze Wednesday, via email, to describe mammatus clouds and tell us what non-experts, like you and me, can interpret from those clouds.

I lofted a few softball questions at Houze, such as: Do mammatus clouds mean sever weather is imminent? Or, perhaps, can we determine from their presence that the threat of bad weather has passed?

“It could be either, but more commonly they precede the severe weather,” said Houze, recipient of the 2014 Symons Gold Medal of the Royal Meteorological Society. “They occur on the underside of upper level clouds extending out from the thicker raining cloud. The upper level clouds on the leading side of the storm are more extensive, so it is more likely that the storm is approaching.”

Severe storms had swept through Chicago earlier in the day, which caused flooding in some parts. According to reports, those mammatus clouds – which often are “emanating from a strong nearby thunderstorm,” Houze said – appeared in the Windy City between 8 and 10 p.m.

As Houze suggested, fans watching the Cubs and Dodgers at Wrigley could have determined from the clouds that more storms were approaching.

They could have used that sign in the sky to grab their umbrellas and practice draping themselves with ponchos because, sure enough, another round of storms swept over the city and rain doused the ballpark.

Chicago was under a tornado watch much of Monday as strong storms swept through the Midwest. Nine tornados were confirmed by the National Weather Service to have touched down in Illinois that evening.

The sight of mammatus clouds lead many to believe there is a strong chance of a tornado.

“The clouds that produce strong tornadoes are called supercell thunderstorms, and supercells often feature very pronounced mammatus,” Houze explained. “Of the supercell storms that occur, only a few actually generate a tornado whereas many produce mammatus. Therefore it is possible that a tornado may be in the vicinity but not certain.”

The professor, who is a sports fan of “sadly the Mariners, but more happily the Seahawks,” said mammatus clouds are not always associated with supercell thunderstorms. However, “such storms provide the best examples of this type of cloud.”

Houze said mammatus can occur in many of places, “but supercell thunderstorms are most common over the central U.S.”

This week in poncho theater

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Note: If you’ve ever struggled with a poncho and embarrassed yourself silly at a sporting event, I’d like to hear from you for a fun story on The Rainout Blog – particularly if your epic struggles happened on national TV. Just click on the contact tab at the top and send me a message.

“It’s more important, at this point, to find the face hole.”

Truer words could not have been spoken Monday night when, once again, fans – yes, there were two this time – at a Major League ballpark struggled with the basics of donning a poncho.

I’m not making fun of the fans. Clearly, these poncho things are far more complicated than we might think.

Let’s set the scene of the most recent attack…

The Cubbies were batting against the visiting Dodgers in the top of the eighth inning when rain began to fall on Wrigley Field. The Dodgers’ TV crew spotted a couple of female Cubs fans quickly trying to protect themselves from the precipitation. Dodgers’ broadcaster Charlie Steiner, who gave us the “finding the face hole” quote above, describes the action.

Take it Charlie…

Watch the Video

(I have yet to confirm a rumor that Steiner jumped out of the press box to help the two fans, yelling “Follow me! Follow me to freedom!” )

This week’s poncho tussle is far less agonizing to watch than last week’s fight against death in Washington, D.C. We thought that guy was going to need medical assistance if he didn’t get air soon.

Also worth noting, the two Cubs fans received a helping hand from a friendly woman sitting behind them at the Friendly Confines. That didn’t happen last week in D.C.

Nope. “The two clowns behind him,” as Keith Olbermann called them, were too busy taking a selfie and one was chugging a beer.

Thankfully, each of the fans – the one at Nationals Park and the two in Wrigleyville – survived what could have been vicious poncho attacks.

I’m sure – although I haven’t checked – ponchos come equipped with safety instructions warning of potential suffocation. But after these two incidents and another way back in spring training, poncho labels should also read… Warning: May cause public humiliation at ballparks and on national TV.

Hail of a time in Denver Wednesday night

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Hail delayed the start of the Rockies-Dodgers game Wednesday night at Coors Field, and then rain briefly halted the game in the top of the second.

The Rockies’ grounds crew has had a lot of experience with the tarp this year, but this wasn’t their best moment.

Click to watch the MLB.com video.

MLB.com video
MLB.com video

Before the game, Jonathan Gonzalez of NBC Denver gave his Twitter followers insight, via video, into the hailish happenings at Coors Field.

Frosty Coors

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This is the new home for The Rainout Blog. To view the first nine years, go to rainout.blogspot.com

CoorsFieldsnow05-2015I played wiffle ball with a bunch of kids on Sunday, Mother’s Day.

The Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers played a game that day, too. At first pitch – mine was a curve in on the hands of a 9-year-old – the weather was beautiful at both places, in Denver and here at the Rainout Blog World Headquarters.

The big difference in those two games – we’re still talking weather here – is my crew ranging in age from 8 to 44 – didn’t need to shovel and plow snow from the field before we played.

It’s becoming an annual occurrence for the Rockies’ grounds crew to wake up on a game day, find several inches of snow on the ground and remove it so the boys of, uh, summer can play ball.

That’s what happened Sunday. More than four inches of snow fell on Coors Field and the team’s “grounds crew spent Sunday morning shoveling the outfield and taking the snow out of the stadium in small bulldozers,” said an Associated Press story.

The Rockies tweeted that the same thing happened last year, too, at nearly the same date.
Check out the MLB video, with a little time lapse thrown in, of the Rockies grounds crew making quick work of the snow removal process.


Slippery when wet

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This is the new home for The Rainout Blog. To view the first nine years, go to rainout.blogspot.com

What’s it like to try to pitch effectively in a pouring rain? To throw strikes with a wet ball? To not let the ball slip out of your hand and bean the batter? To not go down in a mud slide from the mound?

Ask Brett Anderson.

The Dodgers’ lefty had the unenviable task of trying to sit down Colorado Rockies’ hitters Friday night while also attempting to ignore pesky, steady rain drops. And yeah, he also had to maintain his footing and not slide of the slippery mound.

“You can’t really think about that, or you’ll be hesitant and you could hurt yourself worse,” Anderson said. “But it was weird circumstances.”

In this video (for some reason the video is not embedding on the blog), you can see Anderson struggle through the rain as he faced the Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon.
Anderson got off to a good start against Blackmon, tallying a no balls and two strikes count, but then threw four straight balls to walk the Rockies’s outfielder. Anderson, as you will see, slipped and almost fell as he threw ball four.

Give Blackmon credit; he also had to focus through the rain drops on some 91-mph heat from Anderson to draw the walk. And you know he had to be thinking about the possibility of a wet ball zipping toward his skull after slipping from Anderson’s hand.

Lousy weather conditions persisted and umpires called the game after five innings, shortly after Blackmon’s at-bat, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 win over the Rockies at Coors Field.

“It was difficult. Pretty poor conditions,” Anderson said. “I can’t believe we played through five innings of that. It’s probably the hardest rain I’ve played through on the field.”

Rain postponed the following night’s action, and then… then came the snow, which covered Coors Field Saturday, prompting Anderson to tweet:

This is the new home for The Rainout Blog. To view the first nine years, go to rainout.blogspot.com