New York Yankees

Struck down, but not out

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caldwell-newspaperRemember the one about Cleveland Indians pitcher Ray Caldwell getting struck by lightning?

He was standing on the mound, needing one more out to finish the game when…

BOOM!

Caldwell and the Indians were leading the visiting Philadelphia Athletics 2-1 on a warm August day when a storm rolled off Lake Erie and approached League Park. As rain fell, Caldwell quickly recorded two outs on the A’s and was facing Joe Dugan when lightning flashed down on the ballpark.

It sent spectators scurrying for safety. It put Caldwell on his keister.

“It felt just like somebody came up with a board and hit me on the head and knocked me down,” Caldwell told the Cleveland Press after the game.

Some accounts say the lightning bolt knocked Caldwell out for five minutes. Other reports say the pitcher got up, brushed himself off and recorded the last out. It seems the latter is the more prevalent story.

Players rushed to Caldwell’s aid. Some, such as teammate Ray Chapman, said they felt the “juice” run through their bodies.

When I first began delving into the details of this game back in the spring – I’m writing a story about the contest for the SABR Games Project – I emailed lightning researcher Joseph Dwyer, asking for his thoughts about the players’ claim of felling lightning in their bodies and the subsequent numbness.

“When lightning strikes the ground, the current flows across the surface creating a step voltage. Someone standing with their feet apart can have current go up one leg and down the other,” wrote Dwyer, a professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire. “I would think such a large current through the legs could explain the numbness afterwards.”

One of the players who complained of numbness was Chapman, who nearly a year later was killed after being hit by a pitch thrown from Yankees hurler Carl Mays.

Newspaper reports say lighting danced along the rails of the ballpark.

“Lightning certainly can travel along metal railing,” Dwyer said, a phenomenon he called side flashes.

“When lightning strikes, there is often tens of thousands of amps of current and very large voltages,” the professor said. “If some of this current goes into a metal conductor such as fences or railings, the current can travel long distances, causing sparks to other objects along the way.”

One interesting side note from newspaper accounts says that Indians’ catcher Steve O’Neill tossed his metal mask as far away as possible to avoid being struck by subsequent bolts.

I asked Dwyer if O’Neill’s mask toss was a necessary move.

“It is a very good idea to take lightning seriously, but the approach was wrong,” Dwyer wrote. “The only way to be relatively safe from lightening is to go inside an enclosed structure like a house or a building.”

But “not a dugout,” Dwyer stressed.

***

Speaking of the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) Games Project, I recently had story published there about Joe DiMaggio tying the Yankees’ consecutive game hitting streak at 29. It happened on June 16, 1941 when DiMaggio lined a double to left field shortly after rain had delayed the contest for more than an hour at Yankee Stadium. (Of course rain was involved, right?)

You can read my story here. Plus, there are tons of other extensively researched, well-written essays by numerous SABR members posted on the Games Project website.

Buck wouldn’t do that, would he?

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Associated Press

Buck Showalter insists he has more important things to do than dream up nefarious field tarp schemes to one-up his competition.

Hours ahead of Tuesday’s game with the Yankees at Camden Yards, Showalter’s Orioles took their cuts in batting practice and promptly left the field. Before the Yankees could get in their much-need pre-game swings, the Orioles grounds crew stretched the tarp over the infield dirt.

Yankees skipper Joe Girardi cried foul. “They hit and they’re covering the field,’’ Girardi said, according the New York Post.

In an interview with the Michael Kay Show the following day, Showalter laughed off the gamesmanship accusation and explained the reasons the field was covered.

“Basically, we got a weather report that it was going to start raining at 5 o’clock, so we started our BP, actually, early and got off the field early so they would have an opportunity,” the Orioles manager said. “And they [the Baltimore grounds crew] came up and said it was going to start raining in five minutes and they had to cover the field in order to keep the field from getting, you know, too wet to play.”

Rainy, yucky weather has plagued the Orioles the first this season, but on this Tuesday, not one noticeable drop fell from the sky. However, the tarp remained and the Yankees, who can’t seem to hit anything these and were swept in three games in Boston, were robbed of their opportunity to hit on the field.

In the seemingly lighthearted interview, Kay asked Showalter, “You didn’t dream this up to affect the Yankees?”

Still chuckling a bit, Showalter said, “Mike, come on,” and went on to say he didn’t think Girardi “insinuated anything” with is comments.

Showalter, however, seemed unhappy that the accusations had upset the Orioles’ head groundskeeper. “I know one thing. Somebody complained, because they called and our groundskeeper, who I think is the best in the business and one of the fairest going – she is really good – probably as good as I’ve ever seen… and she was upset today that someone had insinuated that,” Showalter said. “And she said, ‘why would anybody insinuate that?’ I said, ‘well, that’s the world we live in.’”

Bad weather hit the Orioles again Friday. Rain postponed the team’s series opener that night with the Oakland Athletics. The postponement was announced 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch, and the two teams made up the game Saturday with the A’s taking an 8-4 victory. Baltimore claimed a 5-2 win in the regularly scheduled night game.

The postponement was the Orioles’ second at Camden Yards this season and third overall. A road game with the Texas Rangers in Arlington was postponed on April 17.

The Orioles have also endured 3 hours and 35 minutes worth of weather delays this season in games that have been played. On Opening Day, rain pushed back the first pitch of the season by 110 minutes. More inclement weather delayed the contest an additional 70 minutes after the completion of the second inning.

In the radio interview, Kay asked Showalter if the rain, snow and cold most affected the pitchers or the hitters.

“You know, I think you got to split it down the middle,” the manger said. “We’ve had games were the guys had no feel for the breaking ball because they couldn’t feel the ball.”

Showalter showed sympathy for the Baltimore fans as well, noting the weather’s effect on filling seats in the ballpark.

“I feel bad about the fans. You know, it’s really hurt our attendance because the weather has been so bad,” Showalter said. “We’re playing the Yankees, which are usually a good draw. Nobody will come out in it, yet we’re playing in it.”

….

Fans wanting to see the Reds and Brewers play at Great American Ball Park Sunday had to wait nearly two hours for the rain to move out and the field to be prepped before the game could begin Sunday. After the 1 hour and 55 minute delay, Milwaukee beat the home town Reds 5-4.

The Brewers have sat through a little more than four hours of weather delays in the season’s first month.

A-Rod: Master of his domain

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Alex Rodriquez pushed the Yankees’ struggling offense out of a slump, if only temporarily, Sunday night as rain drenched Fenway Park.

With the Yanks in a 1-1 tie with the Boston Red Sox, Rodriguez drilled a 93-mph David Price fastball deep to center field for his fifth home run of the season. The blast gave the visitors a 3-1 lead.

In the fifth, A-Rod doubled to left, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.
That hit put the Yankees ahead once again, this time by a 5-4 score.

Rodriguez, hitting just a few ticks above .200, was 2-for-4 on the rainy night.

In his post-game comments, Rodriguez credited his hot hitting partially to Manager Joe Girardi giving him a couple days off in Texas. A-Rod got both his hits while rain peppered the field. Perhaps we could suggests the slugger, who now is eight homers shy of 700, likes to hit in the rain.

Nah. That’s silly. I think the secret is in the unique way A-Rod dries his bats on rainy nights at the ballpark.

Press play on the video below and see for yourself.

Yep! Maybe that’s his secret.

But other members of the light-hitting Yankees found their stroke – did I really need to write that? – Sunday night, banging out – this is getting ridiculous – seven runs on nine hits.

However, it was the Yankees’ pitching that threw a wet napkin on the club’s chances of avoiding a sweep to their American League East rivals. Boston won 8-7 and socked 14 hits off the Yankees’ pitching staff, including a Christian Vazquez game-winning homer in the seventh inning that, I swear, hit and damaged one Saturn’s rings.

David Ortiz said after the game, “That ****er ended up on the moon.” However, we here at The Rainout Blog world headquarters have confirmed the ball traveled much farther.

Hi, Buster

Excluding A-Rod’s bat-drying antics, one of my favorite images of the ESPN Sunday Night broadcast was of reporter Buster Olney hiding from the rain underneath a large umbrella in the bottom of the third inning.

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In other rain out news, the Cubs’ afternoon game with the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field Saturday was postponed by inclement weather. No make-up date has been announced.

More socks news

Paul Lukas, author of Uni-watch.com – one of my favorite sports blogs, by the way – wrote today about folks at Citi Field using their Curtis Granderson giveaway socks as gloves on a chilly, drizzly day at the ballpark.

It’s too bad you can’t swipe your phone or grab your beer while wearing those Granderson socks, eh?

Eye on the storms

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Strong thunderstorms, some of which may be severe according to weather forecasts, are expected to sweep through Arlington, Texas this evening just as the hometown Rangers will be hosting the New York Yankees at Globe Life Park.

The first pitch from Rangers’ right-hander A.J. Griffin is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. local time.

However, for Arlington tonight the National Weather Service is warning: “Damaging winds and very large hail will be the main threats with the storms this afternoon and tonight. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible with the storms that develop first.”

With downpours, large hail and possible tornadoes, the Rangers are monitoring the weather and could postpone the game if they deem it unsafe for folks to be in the ballpark, according to a story on a local TV station’s website.

“We carefully monitor the weather in any situation that could potentially be dangerous and affect both the game and the safety of our fans,” Rangers Executive Vice President of Communications John Blake said in a story posted on NBCDFW.com. “That will go on throughout the day.” And we consult with several weather experts to see what we can expect and the timing of any events.”

Spring storms, as we all know, can be terribly unpredictable.

Let’s say the game goes on as scheduled, it’s in the bottom of the second and the Rangers have runners on the corners with no outs and Adrian Beltre at the plate, and radar shows strong storms – you know, lightning, hail, all the works – are barreling down on the ballpark where 31,000 people are hootin’ and hollerin’ for the Rangers.

“If serious weather is approaching during the game or with fans in the stands, we will take the necessary precautions, first with warnings over the public address system and through the Rangers ushers and staff in the park,” Blake said. “Then, if it is necessary, we will clear the upper deck and potentially the seating bowl depending on the severity.”

There’s about a 55 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms about an hour before the game, and about a 50 percent chance in what would be the early innings.

If the game is postponed, it possibly could be rescheduled as a day game on Wednesday ahead of the regularly scheduled 7:05 p.m. game that night. That seems to make the most sense given this is the Yankees only trip to the Rangers’ home park this season. The Yankees already have a rescheduling conundrum resulting from that April 10 Sunday night rainout in Detroit.

Both teams have Thursday off, but it’s a travel day to Boston for the Yankees. The Rangers stay home Friday to host the Angels that night.

New York won the first game of the series Monday night 3-1 as Yankees’ hurler Nathan Eovaldi flirted with a no-hitter.

Elsewhere around the Majors, rain and thunderstorms may be what’s needed to cool off the red hot Mets. There’s a chance of thunderstorms before the game and a 30 percent chance of rain halfway through the contest. A moderate wind may be blowing in from right field. Overall, it looks pretty good for the Mets to play and keep rolling.

In Washington, wind will be pushing out around 11 mph toward right field. That could mean another blast or two (let’s hope for three) from Bryce Harper before potential thunderstorms move in late in the game.

Rain delayed Monday night’s Pirates vs. Rockies game in Denver for about 30 minutes. Precipitation is expected before Tuesday night’s game, but that should give way to a cool overcast night at Coors Field with the wind blowing in from left field.

There’s little chance of rain in Chicago, but it will be a cool night at Wrigley Field for the Cubbies/Brewers game. Temperatures will be around 45 degrees for the game and feel like the high 30s with wind coming in from left-center field.

A man walks into a bar

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Actually, the man – yep, it was me – walked in an Olive Garden Saturday evening with his family. But just through the glass double doors was a bar, and just above the bar was a behemoth 70-inch TV. And showing on that behemoth was the Baltimore Orioles pre-game show.

So, of course my mind began racing to figure out how I could convince my beautiful wife that she, my two kids and I, should sit at the bar to eat dinner and watch the Orioles.

Seats for four at the bar. Sounds great, right?

Yep.

“Pass the breadsticks!”

“Did you see Manny grab that liner down the third base line?”

Ahhhhh. Is this heaven?

No. It’s Olive Garden…

OK, you’re right. I’ve been with my wife for 26 years now, so it didn’t take me long to realize any persuasive attempts to sit at the bar would be futile and would only end up with her giving me the stink eye. She’s so good at the stink eye.

So, I sucked it up, waited for the black round buzzer with the dancing red lights to fire off and we took a table far, far away from the TV.

I didn’t think too much more about the game for a few minutes until I realized something had been strange about the pregame show. There were no fans in the seats at Camden Yards.

Now, you don’t need to be any sort of sleuth to know something’s up. Could this be a rain out?!?!?!

Wiggling my fingers with excitement like Homer Simpson reaching for a sprinkled doughnut, I reached for my phone to check Twitter. Nothing. I checked my At Bat app. Nothing. And then back to Twitter. Ahhhhhh, there it is: Game called because of inclement weather.

“I’ll have the eggplant parmigiana. And water with no lemon, please!”

 

They’re never, ever, ever getting back together

Well, never say never, but the Yankees and Tigers are finding it difficult to reschedule their April 10 nationally-televised Sunday night game that was postponed by a nasty wintry mix in Detroit.

The difficulty stems from the fact the Yankees are scheduled make no more trips to Detroit this season. According to the Detroit Free Press, the teams have only six mutual off days: April 18, May 2, June 2, July 28, Sept. 1 and Sept. 19.

Yes, that was ice on the Yankee Stadium field this moring

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Wait! There’s more…

Opening Day is here! (with exceptions)

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The New York Yankees have waited since October to get another crack at Houston Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.

The rematch of last year’s American League Wild Card game, in which Kuechel dominated Yankees hitters and won 3-0, was scheduled to happen today in the Bronx, Opening Day for the two clubs and most of Major League Baseball.

However, a slight rain was falling in New York this morning and there is about 75 percent chance it would continue at 1 p.m. when Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled to toss the first pitch for the Yankees. Weather projections have the chance of rain up to 100 percent at 3 p.m.

The game has been postponed until 1:05 p.m. Tuesday, giving the Yankees one more day to figure out that baffling Kuechel fella. The New York batters failed to score a run off the lefty in the 22 innings they faced him in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland…

Snow could be flying around Progressive Field today when the Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox at 4:10 p.m. Temperatures will be around 33 but feel like 23 at game time.

It could be worse. The game could be in Boston…

Orioles fans may want to pack ponchos for today’s opener against the Twins at Camden Yards. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. That’s also about the time rain could hit the area, about an 80 percent chance. That goes up to near 100 percent at 4 p.m.

Everything else, weather wise, looks nice around the league. Sunday marked the official start of the 2016 MLB season with three games. No weather problems, but Pirates fans at PNC Park welcomed the new season with 39 degree temperatures at the ballpark.

UPDATE: As snow blows around the ballpark and temperatures feel like December at a Browns game, the game between the Indians and Red Sox today in Cleveland has been postponed. The game is scheduled to be made up Tuesday at 1:10 p.m.