Cloudy with No Chance of Baseball

I was really looking forward to today. When the Cactus League schedule was released there were two days that stood out above all others – March 1st and March 3rd. Those two days included doubleheaders for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

With the Diamondbacks opening the season in Australia their Spring Training schedule became somewhat condensed necessitating them trying to get in as many games as they could before leaving March 17th to head down under.

IMG_2804Any day with a Diamondbacks game is a good day. Any day with two Diamondbacks game is a gift from the Baseball Gods; or so I thought. I mean what could possibly dampen the thoughts of two games at Salt River Fields?

When I moved to Arizona many years ago there were two major drawing cards – baseball (at that time it was only Spring Training but now includes regular season and hopefully post season too) and weather.

I remember when we first arrived in Arizona. It was early March and the sun was shining and flowers were blooming. It seemed like paradise since we left Idaho where the temperature the day we left was 20 below zero.

IMG_2808We were told that the sun shined over 240 days a year and that Arizona received approximately 10 inches of rain a year. No one happened to mention that the 10 inches of rain all occurred in one day.

This morning I awoke to overcast skies and swirling wind. Despite the forecast for rain I remained positive. If there really is a Baseball God there is no way he would rain out two games in one day. And I am confident God is a baseball fan, how else can you explain that the bible starts out with “in the big inning”?

When I arrived at Salt River Fields I quickly understood that the operative word for today was going to be “River”. Rain began falling from the sky and the scoreboard announced that the game would be delayed 45 minutes until hopefully the rain would stop.

The infield was covered with a tarp and the fans all stood huddled under the overhang of the concourse trying to stay dry and warm. As predicted the rain did let up and the tarp was removed from the field. I now testify that prayer does work.

IMG_2809The first game against the Milwaukee Brewers went from rain to sun to clouds to rain. Finally in the bottom of the fifth inning when the rain began falling harder did the umpires call the game making it official with the Diamondbacks winning 2-1 in a rain-shortened 5 innings.

Ironically right after the umpires called the game the rain stopped and by the time the fans left the stadium the sun was shining again. I remember thinking that this sunshine was somehow an omen for what we could expect at the second game some 3 hours later.

I’m not sure but maybe “omen” was the wrong word or maybe that word doesn’t mean what I think it means. When I returned to the stadium the clouds had returned and were looking even more menacing than they did in the afternoon.

Ninety minutes before first pitch the skies opened up and I don’t mean in a good way. Rain started to fall. Not the “raindrops keep falling on my head” sprinkles that you sing about but instead it was the “did I just see animal pairs walking side-by-side towards that big boat” kind of rain.

IMG_2811As if the rain wasn’t bad enough it was accompanied by lightning and thunder. You know it’s about to get bad when the public address announcer warns all the fans to seek shelter and please stay away from all metal railings.

For 30 minutes we sat and watched the rain fall in sheets. The tarp covering the infield looked like a giant slip-n-slide lit by flashes of white light. Soon the public address announcer came back on with perhaps the worst five words in the English language, “Today’s game has been canceled”.

The fans walked out of the stadium looking like wet homeless dogs. There is no way to express the disappointing end to what seemed like a perfect day. Instead of getting two Diamondbacks games I instead sat huddled under a jacket watching 4 ½ short innings.

I guess the good news is that I think we have gotten our 10 inches of rain so we should be safe for the rest of the year of getting a game in on time.

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