This past Sunday, the Chicago Cubs were forced to play in weather conditions that 30 years ago would not have been tolerated by the players or the fans. The final game between the Colorado Rockies and the Cubs started after a rain delay lasting more than two hours. The tarp was finally pulled from the field and play began, as rain started falling again. Anyone with a Smart Phone and access to radar could tell that very heavy rain was on the way. No one wanted to sit in the rain and many fans left during the delay.
Those who stayed were treated to extremely soggy conditions. It rained the entire time, but as the rain became heavier, the umpires made no move to call another delay. It is true that it is usually up to the team before a game starts to determine whether a game should be called, and all Cubs fans know that the Cubs will do anything they can to have a game played. But once the first pitch has been thrown, the game is in the hands of the umpires, who do consult with the home team. Consider the game against the Diamondbacks in July that started at 5pm, but in that case the rain did finally end. But when does a player’s well being come into the picture? What has to happen for the Cubs, and MLB in general, to understand how dangerous the conditions were in Sunday’s game? Will it take a career ending injury to a super star for someone to take notice?
“Playing in these conditions is a travesty and risks injury to all,” said fan John Nolan as he watched the game from the comfort of his dry home.
Players’ hands were wet and bats were hard to hold. Errors were made, many due to the wetness of the ball and the inability to grasp it. But what if David DeJesus’ bat had flown in to the Cubs dugout and hit and seriously injured one of his teammates? What if it had seriously injured a fan? What if Tyler Colvin had not only not been able to grasp the ball in center field, but had slid and gotten is leg caught up under him and had suffered a severe injury like the one Eli Marrero suffered in a game at Wrigley in May of 2003? Would MLB have taken notice?
The Cubs are almost assured of a reprise of Sunday’s weather this Saturday, as forecasts call for the remnants of Hurricane Isaac to reach the Chicago area with heavy rains, thunderstorms and gusty winds. It will be interesting to see what happens and whether the Cubs will take into consideration the well being of the players and comfort of the fans or whether they will consider only their bottom line.