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Suspended Game Brings out the Worst in Some of Us

By sstorm Published: July 21, 2007

This email arrived Friday morning and it made me wonder what you all thought about the subject. My reponse to the gentleman who wrote the angry email can be seen after the text of his rant.

I do not want to come off like I'm always sticking up for the team (trust me, they tend to often feel otherwise). However, while rather misinformed, I believe the man who wrote the email might have views shared by others.

Perhaps it will help the casual fan understand all that goes into a game on nights when weather is a problem and learn more about the process the team goes through when it has to deal with unexpected weather like it did Thursday.

Here's the email:

I attended the 7:05pm Akron Aeros game Thursday night, July 19th. It was a cloudy evening, but the Weather Channel called for no rain until after 10pm. The first two innings went by quickly, but it started sprinkling at the top of the 3rd inning. The game was stopped

The rain lasted 10-15 minutes, and rained fairly hard during some of that time. After the rain stopped, they announced the game would resume in 30 minutes, which left all
the fans asking "Why so long?" The ushers dried the seats for the fans, and we waited for the game to resume.

The grounds crew removed the tarp off the infield, and dumped gallons of water right onto the edge of the outfield. They then spent the next 90 minutes rolling water off the grass, blowing the grass dry, and finally coming out with sponges and BLOTTING the grass dry.
They even spent time blow drying the safety track along the walls.

By this point we had clear skies for the last hour. Rarely was the grounds crew all working
at the same time. Usually a third of them were talking to one another while the others worked hard.

Around 8:55pm the players went back into the locker room. At 9pm someone came out and pulled the bases. The grounds crew, having just got some bad news, dropped their tools, and
left the field as well. About a minute after that, they made an announcement that due to inclement weather (it had been dry for the past hour and a half) and a wet field the game was cancelled, and would be replayed as a double-header Friday night.

I would love to know what the heck is wrong with that organization. Why would they not call the game during the rain storm, or even right after, rather than stating the game would resume in 30 minutes? Why would they make the grounds crew work for 90 minutes sponge-drying a field that wouldn't be used until the next night? Why would they leave the players in
the dug-out for 90 minutes waiting to start back up?

The Aeros organization obviously had little respect for the fans or the time they gave to support local baseball. We were told we could trade in our stubs for another game at the box
office. That would have been satisfactory if the game was called immediately.

The Aeros organization needs to come up with a better compensation for the 90 minutes they wasted for all fans, players, and workers on Thursday night. I've never had a bad time at the field before, but last night got me so angry that I'd be very hesitant to give another dime
to that organization in the future.

Here's my response:
First, the 30-minute announcement you refer to actually said the rain would last approximately a half hour, not that the game would resume in a half hour. Aeros officials made the announcement in an attempt to help the fans gauge the length of the actual rain delay.

Secondly, once the game is suspended in the middle of action, it is in the hands of the umpires, not the team. Both managers, the grounds crew and umpires were in constant communication throughout the process and did all they could to try and get the field ready to resume play. For the safety of the players, it was deemed that despite all the hard work, the field was unplayable and unsafe.

Lastly, no one made the players stay in the dugout. A lot of times, they'll head down into the lockeroom and eat, watch TV, play cards, etc. My guess is they stayed in the dugout because they had been told the rain wasn't supposed to last long - as it didn't. But honestly, no one could have known that it would rain so hard it would take that long to try to get the field in shape. Turns out that part of the reason it took so long to clear the warning track is because of the recent drought, the rain didn't didn't soak in as much as it usually does, leading to more standing water around the field than usual.


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