I’m on my way to Chicago for tonight’s Star Wars Night game, and then for Thursday’s Social Media Night. Stop by the right field bleachers, down the LED board and say hey.
As usual, you’ll see normal posting today, but probably less activity from me in the comments and on Twitter. Be good.
- The big story this morning, obviously, was the Cubs’ rain/tarp-shortened win overnight. In essence, what happened was this: the short, but violent rain that fell and delayed the game was unexpected, and made it difficult for the Cubs’ grounds crew to get the tarp out quickly and correctly. There were issues with covering the field, which led to significant pooling of water in both the infield and outfield, despite only 10 to 15 minutes of rain. The crew worked for over four hours to make the field playable – which the infield was – but the outfield was still soft, and the game was eventually called, as the Cubs had the lead after four and a half innings. The Giants, like Carlos Zambrano after a bad at bat, were very unhappy.
- As Jed Hoyer told the media after the game (Cubs.com): “We tried to wait as long as we possibly could because the Giants were in a pennant race and because we felt an obligation to do that. I was talking to the umpires a lot tonight and [president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] was talking to MLB, trying to make it so we can play this game the way it should be played. Obviously that didn’t happen and it’s unfortunate.” The Cubs undoubtedly feel bad about what happened, even as it’s understandable that the Giants would be angry.
- What happens now? Well, the Giants reportedly plan to protest the conclusion of the game. According to CSN, the Cubs were willing to suspend the game and complete it later (even though it was official at the point of the delay), but the rules wouldn’t allow it. So the Giants will hope the Commissioner goes to extraordinary lengths to change things and treat this as a suspended game to be completed at a later date. As you might expect, the Giants were P.O.’d at what happened after the game, given their playoff race. Read that CSN piece to see just how irate Giants manager Bruce Bochy was.
- Let’s dispense with something right away: this was not intentional. Not only is that suspicion insane on a baseball level (you really think the Cubs have concocted a strategy to win an otherwise meaningless (to them) late August game over a contender? And if so, why did they offer to suspend?), but also on a human level. Even if it wasn’t their fault, how do you think the grounds crew is feeling today? Probably pretty terrible. You think they wanted that to happen? To look ineffective at their jobs? To work like made for over four hours to try and make the field playable again? I feel horrible for what they’re probably going to face in the coming days, and saying that this was some kind of planned conspiracy only makes it worse. An unfortunate thing happened, and it wound up ending a game prematurely. As The Wife said this morning when I told her about the game, “Well, hey, the Giants could have scored more runs.”
- Something else to keep in mind: when the game was called, the Cubs had about an 80% chance of winning, according to FanGraphs. The Giants didn’t lose the game because of the tarp issue. What they lost was a 20% chance at coming back to win.
- Ray Ratto, with the hilarious take on Giants fan reactions to the game being called:
To those of you unhappy about Giants development this evening, let me just say in the Cubs defense that they don’t care about you in any way
— Ray Ratto (@RattoCSN) August 20, 2014
- Writing for The Game, Sahadev Sharma has a long take on Mike Olt’s return to Iowa, and how he’s been working to correct his swing-and-miss issues. It’s a great, deep read on an interesting player, and the struggles that all guys face as they adjust to a very difficult game.
- Patrick Mooney on the conspicuous absence of Sammy Sosa from the 1990s homestand.
- John Baker singing and playing the guitar during the delay? Of course.
- For your viewing and listening pleasure, here’s Episode 2 of BNTV, which gets into the Cubs’ relationship with Sammy Sosa, the problems behind the problems with Travis Wood’s down season, the importance of scarves, and much more: