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Rain Delays in Baseball

Rain Delay in Baseball

Tarps do not stop some players from staying on the field

“Rain is a good thing.” – Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan wasn’t referring to a baseball game when he wrote the lyrics to his hit song. The only good thing about a rain delay in a baseball game is if a team is losing and needs it to stop the momentum of the other team. But that’s a stretch to call it “a good thing.”

A rain delay itself is also kind of a bummer if you’re a fan in the stands. There’s not much to do until the game gets going again. Sure, you can eat food and grab some extra beer, but hopefully you came with some friends or can make them while you wait. Entertainment at the game is scheduled for in-between innings and possibly extras, but not for Mother Nature’s interruptions.

Having lived in Tampa for a few years, and being a Rays’ fan, I went to a couple of games at Tropicana Field. Two things: 1) Tropicana Field is in Saint Petersburg and not Tampa. 2) It is a dome, so there are no rain delays.

The Trop has its fair share of haters who would like to see it torn down and a new home found for the Rays. However, with as much rain as there is in central Florida, a dome isn’t the worst idea in the world. A retractable roof would be a better option to allow for the nice sunny days as well, but it’s the Rays we’re talking about.

I have only been to a game or two where there was a rain delay. Luckily for my buddy and I, it was Thirsty Thursday at a Double-A game in Jacksonville so we were able to stay cool and hydrated at the same time. But like I said, there isn’t much going on during a rain delay since the field is probably tarped, and no employees want to get wet entertaining the fans. Microphones usually don’t work as well when they are wet either.

One exception to this rule is if the two teams stay in the dugouts rather than go inside to a clubhouse. They may begin to keep themselves entertained by dancing to the music being played over the PA speakers. This could lead to a dance-off between the two teams as they battle it out in front of the dugouts and possibly face-to-face behind home plate. It has happened on more than one occasion.

Rain Delay in Baseball

Baseball 302: Choreographed Dancing

A dance-off is most likely to happen during the rain delay of a college baseball game rather than the pros. Professional managers don’t want their players getting hurt goofing off. College coaches don’t either, but it’s college; good luck getting 35 bored baseball players to not dance to music while they wait two hours for rain clouds to disappear.

There in lies the one difference of a rain delay for fans versus a rain delay for players. Players can do whatever they want on the field and have their own fun and games in the dugouts. While nobody wants to wait too long for the tarps to get pulled and play to resume, there are definitely fun times that happen during rain delays. Players chat, tape bats, lace gloves, and make paper boats to put in puddles. It’s like a bunch of kids playing outside, because it is.

One of my favorite things to do during a rain delay was play the Name Game or the Travel Game. They take a while to play and pass the time pretty easily. There’s also stopwatch baseball, bat tricks to be learned, and seeing who is in the stands. It’s kind of the same experience as when you have a class and the teacher steps out of the room. It’s just fun.

The worst outcome of a rain delay is if the game has to be called. Depending on the level of baseball, the game will be cancelled and everything that has happened will not count if it was not an official games by the number of innings played. In Major League Baseball, games are rescheduled for a later date.

Rain Delays = Postponed Games

In the 2008 World Series though, Game 5 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays was postponed after the top of the sixth inning. The game was resumed the following day, which is a worst-case scenario for a game as critical as any in the World Series. I’m sure fans in Philadelphia were drinking and celebrating both nights, but players certainly were not happy. When they have routines and schedules that have been going on all year to reach the pinnacle event of baseball, and to have something like a postponed game because of a rain delay, then to have redo everything the next day to finish the game is not on any player’s to-do list.

Rain happens, and it can’t be prevented. Rain can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on if you are on the winning side of a game or not. Rain delays themselves are typically not as fun for fans though. Football and soccer will play through rain, and even Luke Bryan may keep singing as he gets soaked, but baseball is a delicate game that requires dry weather to played the right way. If you’re at a game with a rain delay, you may get lucky enough to see something like this.

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