Philadelphia Phillies

You may say I got what I deserved. I agree

Posted on Updated on

pano

Sitting in Section 136 at Nationals Park Sunday night, I felt a bit hypocritical.

As the skies darkened over the ballpark and my wife examined the approaching green blob on her weather radar phone app, I was quietly hoping for the rain to pass us by.

Yeah, the guy who has been writing The Rainout Blog for the past 13 years, was rooting for a dry evening at the ballpark.

Not for selfish reasons, though.

It was the very first major league game for my wife and two kids. We were in the fourth inning, and I didn’t want to risk the game being called because of rain and spoiling their first big league experience, especially as they were munching Curly W pretzles on Max Scherzer eye patch night.

The Nationals trailed 2-0, but were rallying as a steady drizzle began. Anthony Rendon led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to left field, slicing the deficit to 2-1. Then, three consecutive Washington singles from Juan Soto, Daniel Murphy and my guy, Michael A. Taylor, tied the game at 2-2.

Pano-2
This panoramic shot got a little funky in the middle. I couldn’t get those guys to stay still while I took the picture. Sheesh!

Rain continued, just enough to get the park wet. It seemed like no big deal to me, but several fans hustled toward the exits as if a tornado were about to barrel through.

We stuck it out there in Row T, seats 1,2,3 and 4.

As the rain intensity increased, I suddenly began rooting for it to continue. This could be fun, I thought. This could be a blog post. Perhaps, I simply knew my previous wishes were no match against those dark, ominous clouds hanging above our heads.

Then the drizzle turned into a downpour. I got out my phone to take photos and a few videos. I’m sure I was the only person trying to capture images of rain pelting the ballpark.

IMG-2401

Umpires suddenly ushered the players off the field. Out came the grounds crew, stretching the Skittles tarp across the infield.

We, too, then headed for the concourse. I tried to get into a good position to photograph the tarp, but my angle was bad.

We didn’t need to wait long for the rain to move on. It stopped minutes later, the grounds crew dumped water from the tarp and prepped the field with what I’m told is glorified kitty litter.

In the meantime, my wife, armed with napkins she had stuffed in her pockets earlier at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop on 3rd Street SW – she’s always prepared – wiped dry our wet seats. I broke down and bought everyone $7 sodas.

tarp

The game resumed after a 38-minute weather delay. The Nats had runners on first and second with no outs. And just as I pessimistically suspected, the rain killed the rally. Phillies’ pitcher Nick Pivetta had something to do with it, too. He struck out the next three batters he faced. The bottom of the order, mind you.

Rain over. Rally over. Breathing a sigh of relief, the Phillies quickly moved to close out the hometown club in the fifth.

Nats’ starter Jefry Rodriguez began the inning walking Cesar Hernandez, and then he hit Rhys Hoskins to put runners at first and second with no one out. Hard-throwing Sammy Solis relieved Rodriguez and immediately gave up a bases-clearing triple to Odubel Herrera. It was 4-2 Phillies.

Two batters later Nick Williams slammed a Solis pitch 421 feet to center field. The ball just cleared the wall, but hearing the collision between the bat and ball you knew it was a goner. Williams’ ninth homer of the year gave the Phillies a 6-2 lead.

The four-run deficit was a bit deflating for the four of us and the few others who had stuck around after the rain. I’m sure a lot of folks had to work the next day. I’m sure I saw a lot of them bleary-eyed on the Metro the next morning.

But as the night cleared and the game wore on, the Nationals clawed their way back.

In the bottom of the sixth, Adam Eaton entered the game as a pinch hitter and spanked a two-out single to center. Trea Turner put some life into the ballpark when he smoked a liner to left that zipped by a diving Hoskins and rolled to the wall. Eaton easily scored, and Turner had a triple. The score was 6-3 Philadelphia.

IMG-2399

I was sure Turner had an inside-the-park homer – I was waving him around – but he held up at third with Bryce Harper coming to bat.

Austin Davis came in to pitch. With the count 2-0, Harper drove the next pitch high and far. I stood up and shouted, “There it goes!” thinking it was as a good as gone.

It thumped off the top of the wall, just above the out-of-town scoreboard.

I’m an idiot.

Harper just missed his 20th home run of the season by inches, but he rolled into second with a double and Turner scored. Rendon next drove home Harper with a double, closing the Nats to within a run.

Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk, and Harper moved him to third with his third double of the contest.

The Phils next chose to walk Juan Soto, with Daniel Murphy on deck. You can understand the reasoning. Soto has been a hitting machine since arriving from the minors a few weeks ago, and Murphy has been slow to get his swing back since joining the lineup after surgery.

But, man, with Murphy’s penchant for slugging big hits in clutch situations, I thought it was gutsy move from Phillies’ manager Gabe Kapler.

“Murph is going to make them pay,” I said to anyone who was listening… which was no one.

Anyway, unlike my Harper homer prediction earlier in the game, I was right this time. Murphy swung at a low pitch and clubbed it just over the second baseman’s head. Goodwin scored. Harper scored. And the Nats had a 7-6 lead.

If you were watching on ESPN, you can see in the background as Murphy stands on first, my wife and daughter clapping and my son giving me a double high five.

Us

Michael A. gave the home team an insurance run with a single to center that scored Soto.

As the eighth inning ended, I ran over to the wall, which was near the Nationals bullpen, just in time to snap a couple of photos of closer Sean Doolittle running out on to the field. An ESPN cameraman tried to keep up behind him as the crowd droned “Doooooooooooo!”

Doolittle recorded the save. The Nats won 8-6.

As I’ve been telling everyone since, the game had just about everything you could ask for: A comeback win for the home team, home runs – although two of those were by the wrong team – doubles, a triple, stolen bases, diving catches – Difo!!! – and, or course, a rain delay.

Advertisements

Bomber cyclone

Posted on Updated on

 

YankeesStadium-01-04-2018
New York Yankees Twitter

 

As we look ahead to the 2018 MLB season – and wonder why the offseason is moving slower than Justin Smoak – we are reminded that no matter how hard we wish it were spring, winter is just getting into its windup, man. This week’s “bomb cyclone” exploding on the East Coast, including Yankee Stadium as seen above, is our latest evidence.

Yeah, pitchers and catchers report to warmer environs in Florida and Arizona in about six weeks, but we still have a long way to go before Opening Day.

Below are more images from East Coast ballparks that likely will make you wish spring could get here faster than Trea Turner stealing third.

Boston

 

RedSoxIce
Red Sox Twitter

 

 

RedSox
Red Sox Twitter


Washington

 

 

Nationals
Nationals Twitter

 

Baltimore

 

Orioles
Orioles Twitter

 

Philadelphia

 

Phillies
Phillies Twitter

 

And one more from the Bronx

 

YankeesStadium-01-04-2018-seats
Yankees Twitter

 

You need Suzyn Waldman’s weather app

Posted on

This Week (or two) in Baseball Weather

aptopix-tigers-yankees-baseball
Associated Press

The Yankees, Tigers and everyone hanging around Yankee Stadium Wednesday afternoon waited through a remarkable 4 hours and 37 minutes in rain weather delays.

To many, including the Yanks radio broadcast crew – I love those two – the first 90 minutes were a complete waste of time.

An “immediate threat of inclement weather,” according to the Yankees on Twitter, forced officials to delay the series finale. However, according to many folks on radio and social media, only a drizzle peppered the ballpark.


Michael Kay, the Yankees TV play-by-play guy on the YES Network said, “It rained a little bit, but [it was] certainly not a rain to where you could not play the game.”

Masahiro Tanaka tossed out the first pitch around 2:30 p.m., Bronx time.

While we waited, I tuned into the Yankees flagship station, WFAN, for Rain Delay Theater and got, mixed in with some Mets talk, a lively discussion about whether or not any rain fell at Yankee Stadium.

Going into the game broadcast, Yankees radio color commentator Suzyn Waldman said there were a few sprinkles and encouraged MLB officials to use the same weather app she uses. “My app told the right thing,” she said.

Moments later, play-by-play man John Sterling burst on the air saying, “We have just wasted an hour and a half doing nothing.”

You tell ‘em, John!

It didn’t end there. In the eighth inning, heavy rain began to pelt the ballpark.

“There is a thunderclap,” Waldman said. “NOW, it’s raining. They’re going to bring out the tarp.”

sterling-waldman.jpg

Sterling jumped in with a little biting sarcasm aimed at Major League Baseball officials, who decided to delay the start of the game rather than play through the early afternoon drizzle.

“Well, it certainly worked out very well. We waited an hour and a half at the beginning of the game when it barely rained,” Sterling said. “Well, now it’s raining. So, there’re going to cover the field, and we will sit here and schmooze and say nothing and then we’ll throw it back to the station.”

Waldman quickly suggested she could tell listeners about games scheduled around the league. But first…

“Now, it is really raining,” she said, interrupting herself. “Wow! This is like the skies opened up. If they had listened to my app – Major League Baseball – we would be done and on our way to Cleveland.”

OK, back to those scores. While reporting details of the Blue Jays vs. White Sox matinee game, Waldman again stopped to comment on the rain pelting the park. “Boy, now this is rain. This is rain!”

Refocusing, she went to tell us about Kansas City playing at Baltimore later that night and then “Cleveland at Boston at 7 [o’clock],” she said. “By the way, Boston, this rain is coming to you. It should get there around 7 [o’clock].”

Man she’s good!

Boston later was hit with about three inches of rain and the Red Sox and Indians, after a lengthy delay, were postponed.

Back comes Sterling, and this, I think, was my favorite part of the conversation.

“You know what it looks like right now?” he asked. “It looks like ‘The Rains of Ranchipur.’” (I had to look that up) “I mean IT IS POURING. This is a monsoon. I wish we had that hour and half back.”

Meanwhile, in Boston

The aforementioned rained-out Red Sox vs. Indians game has been rescheduled for Aug. 14 at Fenway Park. The teams waited on the rain for about two hours before the postponement was announced. Here’s how some of the Red Sox players spent their idle time.

Catching heat
Clouds dropped rain and emptied Camden Yards for a brief moment Wednesday night, causing a 35-minute delay in the third.

Before the rain, the Orioles TV play-by-play announcer Jim Hunter talked about the high temperatures the O’s have played in recently, and specifically, how skipper Buck Showalter has managed his catchers through the summer heat.

“Caleb and [Welington] Castillo, there not exactly alternating, but because it’s been so hot, Buck Showalter is taking advantage of two catchers who right now are both red hot. So, neither of them wares down. They’re each getting quite a bit of playing time,” Hunter said as Joseph, at the plate, took ball two from Royals pitcher Jason Vargas.

“Caleb saw Castillo catch on Sunday in that oppressive heat in Texas,” Hunter continued, referring to the 99, 92 and 92-degree start-time temperatures the O’s played through in a three-game weekend series with the Rangers.

“Caleb caught Monday. Castillo caught last night. Caleb’s in there tonight. So, there’re both staying fresh and they’re both playing very well,” Hunter said.

Seconds later, the lefty Joseph showed his freshness as he slapped a Vargas fastball just over the left field wall for a two-run home run that gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead. Baltimore went on to win 6-0.

The Orioles suffered through two rain delays the following night, Thursday, while hosting the Tigers in Camden Yards. Weather pushed back the start of the game by 43 minutes. Once the game began, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton smacked homers in the top of the first. But then more rain, along with lightning, rolled in, stopping the contest, this time for 59 minutes.

Earlier in Chicago on Thursday, rain pressed pause on the Cubs and Diamondbacks three times. The first pitch was pushed back 90 minutes. Another storm passed over Wrigley Field in the top of the second, causing a 35-minute play stoppage.

Once players were back on the field, a Cubs radio broadcaster – I’m not sure who, but it was not Pat Hughes – described the second storm. “It just really got dark. Fog rolled in and it just cut lose raining… And the skies opened up and it poured in buckets here at Wrigley.”

And during that second delay, there was a bullpen dance off.

More weather drama ensued in the top of the ninth inning with the score tied 8-8.

After the skies cleared Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run, his third homer of the game, to give the Diamondbacks the lead for good and a 10-8 victory. The three rain delays totaled 2 hours and 35 minutes.

We’re not done with Hump Day
Before the Rangers thumped Seattle 5-1 Wednesday night, the two squads sat through a 40-minute rain delay at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The halt in action came in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs.

“Caleb caught Monday. Castillo caught last night. Caleb’s in there tonight. So, there’re both staying fresh and they’re both playing very well,” Hunter said.

Seconds later, the lefty Joseph showed his freshness as he slapped a Vargas fastball just over the left field wall for a two-run home run that gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead. Baltimore went on to win 6-0.

On Tuesday in Miami
There was no delay under the retractable roof at Marlins Park Tuesday – Oh, wait. That’s not always a given – but heavy rains flooded the Miami area that day. Opening the Washington Nationals MASN TV broadcast that night was Dave Jageler, who alluded to the weather issues as he talked over video of fans walking to the ballpark.

“For Marlins Park in Miami, it’s better served to arrive here by boat or by ark. I don’t know how these fans got here; the streets of Miami are flooded today thanks to a tropical depression,” said Jagelar, filling in for Bob Carpenter on TV play-by-play duties.

Heavy afternoon thunderstorms dropped about six inches of rain on Miami Tuesday, according to news reports.

About last week…

Lightning, thunder halts Phillies, Brewers

Untitled-1
Before the Brewers and Phillies could get going on July 22, a strong thunderstorm rolled into Philadelphia and over Citizens Bank Bark. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain delayed the start of the contest for 26 minutes.

Milwaukee edged the Phillies 9-8.

More inclement weather followed Monday night at the Philadelphia ballpark. Rain paused the game – and Phillies fans’ misery – for an hour and 52 minutes beginning in the top of the fourth inning. Those among the reported 17,567 in attendance who hung around witnessed the Astros spank the Phillies 13-4.

What’s up, Buck?
Judging from Buck Showalter’s post-game comments following the Orioles’ 9-7 win over Houston on July 23, the Baltimore skipper was pressured to move the game along quickly in the late innings before rain was scheduled to arrive. (Seriously, who pressures Buck Showalter?)

Turns out, there was no delay, and I’m not sure rain ever fell on Camden Yards while the game was being played or soon thereafter, as Showalter alludes to, I think, in the press conference.

Reporters asked Showalter if he felt pressed to finish the game before the impending rain.

Pressure “is when they come in and say it’s going to storm like heck, forever, at 5 o’clock,” he said.

So, yes, I guess so.

Showalter then asked someone in the room what time the game ended. There was an inaudible response. According to the box score, the contest ended a few minutes past 5 p.m.

Showalter then asked “is it raining now?” like he knew the answer was no.

He then looked around, shook his head and pierced his lips together like he was back dealing with Mike Rizzo in Washington.

Buck just can’t catch a break when rain is threatening.

Speaking of which…

This time, Nats make quick call on weather postponement
With a little help from Major League Baseball, the Washington Nationals made a speedy decision to postpone their series opener with the Colorado Rockies on Friday, July 22, reported The Washington Post.

If you’ve been following along, you know the Nats’ decisions on weather delays have been about as accurate as their bullpen this year.

The Post’s Chelsea Janes explains:

“The timing of Friday’s decision could not have been more different from the timing of the Nationals’ last rain delay decision — a much-criticized move earlier this month when a game was called three hours after the scheduled first pitch following only a passing drizzle. Because of schedule concerns, the Commissioner’s office made the decision with the help of Nationals staff. Ultimately, the decision fell to the league, which made it in accordance with a bleak forecast that called for five inches of rain in some places. Flash flood warnings blared over Dusty Baker’s pregame media session.”

Friday’s postponed game was rescheduled for 7:05 p.m. the following Sunday, creating a day-night doubleheader for the clubs. The Rockies were off Monday, but the Nats had to fly overnight to Miami following the second game for a Monday night date with the Marlins.

Perhaps exhausted from the quick turnaround, the Nationals’ offense managed only three hits. That also was the night Gio Gonzalez pitched a gem, taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning before allowing a lead-off single to Dee Gordon.

Washington’s bullpen held strong, and the Nats won, 1-0.

Further delays

Cardinals-KoltenWong-2017

St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong graciously signed autographs for a few soggy fans on Thursday night, July 27, as they waited out a rain shower that delayed the start of the game by 62 minutes. The visiting Arizona Diamondbacks won 4-0 behind a grand slam from J.D. Martinez.

Lee May’s cold blast in Detroit
1975-TRADED-LEE-MAY.jpgFormer major leaguer Lee May died of heart disease on Saturday, July 30, and the next day, a Baltimore Sun article relayed a story from Lee’s former teammate, Jim Palmer, about Opening Day in 1975 when the slugger hit a three-run home run on a near freezing evening at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.

Lee’s blast gave Palmer a comfortable lead and Baltimore went on to win 10-0.

“It got a lot warmer when ‘Mo’ hit that ball into the upper deck. I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame if we hadn’t had players like that,” Palmer said, subtly reminding us that he is enshrined in Cooperstown.

The game’s box score does not show the game-time temperature, but does indicate the game was played at night. A look at Detroit weather history shows that temperatures dipped to 33 degrees that night with a high of only 46 during the day.

And now, the history portion of This Week in Baseball Weather
Louis-K-Lou-Finney_artLou Finney had a rough go of things to begin the 1937 baseball campaign. While with his team for spring training in Mexico, the Philadelphia Athletics’ outfielder – sometimes first baseman – became sick. Lingering effects from the illness, along with a chronic sinus infection and handful of other ailments, forced Finney in and out of the A’s lineup throughout the season.

However, it was a wet July day in Detroit, playing in the mud and rain, that forced Finney off the field for much of the remainder of the season.

The Sporting News reported details in its July 29, 1937 issue:

“AT DETROIT – The Tigers defeated the Athletics, 12-9, in the first game of a scheduled twin bill, which was played through intermittent rain and finally called with one out in the last half of the sixth inning, because of the muddy condition at Navin Field. A heavy downpour held up the contest for 52 minutes after one and two-thirds innings had been played, then activity was resumed between the showers, only to be stopped when the players where no longer able to keep their footing on the slippery field. After Second Baseman Russell Peters of the A’s had poled a four bagger with a mate on base to make the score nine-all in the sixth, Gerald Walker singled Charley Gehringer home with the winning run in the Detroit half of the inning. Then both Hank Greenberg and Walker counted when George Turbeville, the third Mack hurler, twice pitched the slippery ball past catcher Earle Brucker. Walker, Peter Fox, Clif Bolton and Greenberg also connected for the circuit, Hank’s drive being his twenty-third of the season. George Gill, who relieved Boots Poffenberger in the fourth, received credit for his fourth win. The second game was postponed. Attendance totaled 23,000 spectators.”

Two weeks later, James C. Isaminger of The Sporting News reported that Finney had “suffered a relapse” during the contest and Philadelphia manager “Connie Mack, fearing about his [Finney’s] health, has decided not to use him any more this season, except in emergencies and double-headers.”

Isaminger wrote that Finney “caught a cold in Mexico and never fully recovered.”

In his SABR Bio Project story on Finney (recommended reading), Doug Skipper writes that Mack gave Finney permission to leave the team with 10 games to go in the season and return to Alabama for surgery on his sinuses. Skipper conveys that Finney “had a hernia repaired, had the inflamed appendix that had bothered him for months extracted, and had his tonsils removed.”

There you have it, two weeks’ worth of baseball weather stories, plus a trip back to 1937. I can guarantee posts in subsequent weeks will not be as lengthy… probably.

Playing it cool

Posted on Updated on

Charlie Brown 01

I’d love to see the route efficiency number on Stephen Drew’s circuitous pursuit of a Cesar Hernandez infield popup at Nationals Park on Thursday.

Drew, playing short for the Nats, positioned himself underneath the high flying ball, for a second, and then had to sprint to his right and in a bit to chase down the falling spheroid.

“There’s a lot of things going on right there, twilight, wind,” Nationals’ TV commentator F.P. Santangelo said.

From the looks of the play, it was mostly wind. You could see it rustling past Jonathan Papelbon’s sleeves as the cameras flashed back to the Nats’ closer. You could see it a few moments early when a strong breeze appeared to push a Cameron Rupp drive to right over the head of Bryce Harper.

(Can we also blame the wind for the Nationals scoring zero runs, getting only six base hits in two games and making the Phillies’ pitching staff look like the ’96 Atlanta Braves’ hurlers?)

It was a bit nasty in the district Thursday… both the baseball and the weather.

The temperature dipped to the low 50s, and the game’s first pitch was delayed 36 minutes by rain.

According to data from Weather Underground, wind speed was hitting around 15 mph at the time of Drew’s infield adventure. You can be a weather-no-nothing like me and still know that’s not a lot, but it was enough play havoc on balls hit toward the coulds in the top of the ninth inning.

Up the road a bit in Baltimore, where the hot-hitting Orioles cooled the first-place Chicago White Sox, temperatures fell to 48 degrees on an overcast night and Rich Dubroff of CSN Mid-Atlantic wondered if it would ever be warm again for baseball.

The game time temperature equaled April 6 for the Orioles’ “second coldest temperature at first pitch,” Dubroff wrote.

The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck wrote today that perhaps the cold weather in Baltimore is helping the AL East-leading O’s stay hot.

“I have an outlandish theory that the Orioles have shown more plate discipline at Camden Yards because it has been so cold most of the time they haven’t been in a hurry to swing the bat,” Schmuck wrote.

Of the six games played outdoors Thursday, five had temperatures of 55 or below. It was 45 in Detroit and at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, 55 at first pitch in Washington and 50 in Boston.

The Rockies and Pirates had the finale of their three-game series postponed by rain and snow and 38-degree temperatures at Coors Field Thursday. That seemed to be OK for Walt Weiss, skipper of the struggling Rockies.

“I’m not going to kick and scream if we don’t play,” he said before the game was called.

The cool trend continues Friday. It’ll be 47 for the Cubs’ game in Wrigley, 48 in Boston, 50 in Philadelphia, 53 at Citi Field in New York, 54 in Baltimore, 56 in Minneapolis, 58 in Pittsburgh and 68 with a chance of rain in St. Louis.

Slide, Billy, slide

Posted on Updated on

Phillies’ fans in Citizens Bank Park Tuesday probably thought Ben Revere had bopped a bloop single in the bottom of the first when the baseball snapped off his bat and glided toward center field.

Not so fast. Well, unless you’re Billy Hamilton.

The Reds’ speedy center fielder broke on the ball in a flash, made a diving catch and took a long slide on the wet grass on a rainy night in Philly.

Click to watch MLB.com video of Hamilton’s nifty catch.

Hamilton-slidingcatch

Today’s post… You won’t believe what happens next

Posted on Updated on

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

It’s Thursday and that means a handful of get-away games are happening in Major League Baseball. Several teams, including the Tigers, Rangers and Phillies paying day games and hosting weather education day for local youngsters. It looks like a lot of fun judging by some of the photos published by teams and participants on social media.

With that, here a few Rain Drops, or sports/weather related items from around the world.

It seems Mike Trout is a bit of a weather buff. I’m thinking Trout should do an interview with The Rainout Blog. What do you say, Mike? … I don’t delve much into college and high school baseball rain delays and postponements – I’d be constantly on the computer, and I need some time to spend with my family – but here’s an interesting situation were a rain delay, and a silly rule, cost a Florida high school baseball team a playoff victory. … Raise your hand if you want to see the Crown Princess Mary of Denmark playing soccer football with children in pouring rain. Actually, keep your hands down and click this link. … Using one of those annoying but effective headline formulas we loathe but can’t stay away from, a Deadspin writer told us a few weeks ago – yeah, I was hesitant about linking to this – why “Baseball rain delay hijinks are the best thing in sports.” Can you hear my eyes rolling from where you sit? The brief post does nothing to convince me the headline is correct. … Oh by the way, the Houston Astros plan to play with the Minute Maid Park roof open tonight against the Blue Jays.