After a quick rain storm apparently took them by surprise Tuesday night, the Wrigley Field grounds crew sadly and hilariously struggled for six or seven minutes to get a soaked tarp to fully cover the infield during the fifth inning. In true Chicago form, many in the crowd booed the grounds crew's feeble execution. "Pull, pull, pull!" others shouted.
The problematic coverage didn't take as long to play out as a similar debacle at Yankee Stadium that lasted 14 minutes in July, or a nine-minute affair happening in the Bronx a season before, but it seemed even more absurd. And even though it rained on Chicago's North Side only for about 15 minutes, the ensuing delay because of unplayable conditions lasted 4 hours, 34 minutes. Umpires finally called the game at 1:16 a.m. and, because five innings had been played, the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 2-0.
Unlike most everyone else, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy wasn't laughing. Bochy said he probably would file a protest with Major League Baseball as his last recourse. The best he can hope for, probably, is a rules change for the 2015 season.
Few had sympathy for the grounds crew, especially video mashers on the internet who gave tarp footage a new soundtrack which you can hear above: "Yakety Sax," also known as the "Benny Hill" theme. Hey, at least the speeded-up visuals cut the coverage time by a more than a third.
It was bad, but it wasn't on purpose, as Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said. He went beyond the pale in accusing the home team of conspiring to deprive his guys of a chance to have a comeback.
Via Bay Area Sports Guy:
“Well, it looks to me like they’re just kind of taking their sweet time, knowing that they do have a 2-0 lead and it’s a complete game right now,” Krukow said in the delay’s early stages, as the crew moved at a snail’s pace.
“They’re usually pretty good. I think this was staged. I think if the Giants had a 2-0 lead, they’d have had it on right now. They’d be sitting back in their little room and having a cup of coffee,” said Krukow.
“This is absolutely brutal. You would think by now in August these guys would’ve done this … They know what they’re doing. And this is exactly what they’re doing.
“You can hear the Giants fans at this ballpark, they’re booing. This is unbelievable. And you cannot tell me this is not premeditated. This is absurd.”
While it's not unfair to complain, Krukow's charge that the Cubs did this on purpose is no less embarrassing than not getting the tarp on the field promptly in the first place. What is Krukow, some kind of conspiratorial Tarp Truther? Generally speaking, the Giants broadcasts with Krukow, along with Duane Kuiper on play by play, are among the best in the majors. Krukow frequently great offers funny and relevant analysis. But what he suggests — and he wasn't kidding — was looney tunes. Krukow played for the Cubs a long time ago, but it's doubtful he still has any sources on the ground's crew informing him of shenanigans. It's all his hunch, and it's bad.
Also looney: Trying to play in these conditions.
Workers used dozens, hundreds, perhaps billions of bags of Diamond Dry. But chemicals, plus time, couldn't make the field playable. Players on both sides tried to pass the time with unconventional behavior, such as Cubs catcher John Baker playing the guitar in the dugout:
Pablo Sandoval also took selfies with fans near the Giants dugout. He also appeared to lead a sing-along.
The fans might have been harsh on the crew at first, but folks gave them some love when they finally got the field covered:
Big BLS H/N: The Deadspin
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