People don't really talk about it too often, but coming home on a Friday afternoon after a long week to watch a good game is one of the better perks of being a baseball fan. With the weekend staring you in the face, you're able to either crash on the couch and watch through half-shut eyelids or completely immerse yourself in the action without anything important hanging over your head. It's as pure a baseball experience as you can get without actually going to the park.
So that's what I was looking forward to all day while sitting through chemistry lectures and presentations. "I can't wait to unwind," I thought to myself, and Cleveland's a solid team, so I was expecting a fun game. Maybe not a win, necessarily, but something entertaining to fend off the 5 o'clock nap I usually end up taking on Friday afternoons. Basically something to take me from the post-lunch food coma to dinner time. Nothing too demanding, right?
Wrong. I spent two and a half hours in front of my computer watching an inning and a half on MLB.tv before saying "fuck it", giving up, and going out to dinner. You see, today wasn't any ordinary day; no, today it was snowing in Cleveland, and even though everybody knew way ahead of time that there'd be about eleven feet on the ground before it was all said and done, the fucking Einsteins in charge of the Jacobs Field meteorological department thought it'd be okay to go ahead with the game anyway. Because what fun is baseball without a little wind, ice, and severe ligament tear potential?
Every single aspect of this entire event was a God damn embarrassment. For one thing, if it's under 20 degrees and snowing in sheets, you're not playing baseball anymore; you're playing some fucked-up version of hit-the-pinata-while-blindfolded where the pinata is a spherical block of granite launched in your direction at 90 miles per hour by a guy who's also blindfolded and can't feel his hands. Playing through light rain is one thing, but snow? Thick, white snow? If you're the batter, you're pretty much trying to aim at the one white thing that's coming towards you through a field of white things falling perpendicularly towards the ground. It's practically impossible to see anything in that situation, so not only is it unfair for the batter, but it's also incredibly dangerous. Fortunately for everyone involved today's pitchers were topping out at a combined 27mph, but if there were a legitimate Major League arm or two on the mound, someone could've been seriously hurt.
It's not just the hitters who're in trouble, either. Think of the guys in the field. As soon as the ball's in play, then what? Judging by the images coming from the center field camera, it was impossible to see much of anything, so what happens if a line drive's hit directly at somebody's body? That's a potentially lethal hazard. Imagine Vlad Guerrero/Raffy Soriano in the snow, where Soriano can't see the ball and doesn't turn his head away from home plate. And the freezing, iced-over playing field? I know the guys have cleats and everything, but they can only do so much against the elements. When I was a kid I used to try and combine rollerblades with a ton of different sports, and as you can imagine, rollerblade baseball was among the least successful. Although a bit of an exaggeration, that's pretty much what the defenders were up against today. There're also the issues of the wet ball and the numbing extremities. Just ask Adrian Beltre what that's like.
Worst of all, though, was the top of the second, which captured the whole afternoon in a nutshell. After Raul Ibanez took a strike, the umpires met up and told everyone to go back into their respective dugouts to wait out another blizzard. 22 minutes later, everyone came back out, Ibanez took another strike, and the umpires sent both teams back to their dugouts again for another 17-minute delay. One pitch, 39 minutes. You think I'm joking, but I'm dead serious. What the flying fuck has to happen for you to think conditions are playable at one minute and then not the next after all of one pitch has been thrown? That indicates an unthinkably stunning lack of foresight, and right then you got the impression that no one in charge knew what the fuck they were doing.
I stuck around through the rest of the Ibanez at bat, but I officially gave up when they went to the radar in the second inning and showed us that it'd be about another hour before the next squall rolled in. I don't know what the fuck kind of baseball they thought they could squeeze into an hour, but it certainly couldn't have been any of the meaningful variety. Newsflash: baseball takes a while. Especially when Ho Ramirez is pitching. The whole afternoon just wasn't thought out at all, and in the end we're lucky it was only one of their All Stars that paid the price for the umpires' neglect.
Just unforgivably awful management of a game that never should've gotten as far as it did. I know this is oversimplifying things, but as a general rule of thumb, if the infielders are building fucking snowmen around second base minutes before the scheduled first pitch, it's probably not a good idea to try and play on the field. It's too bad this was the Indians' home opener, but it's Cleveland's own fault that Cleveland sucks, so they have no reason to complain. Kudos to Mike Hargrove for stepping in when he did and putting a stop to this nonsense before anything became official. Eric Wedge didn't like it too much, but that just speaks to a lack of confidence; pretty much any other manager in baseball would've been fine with postponing this embarrassment and taking his chances on beating the Mariners in a normal nine-inning game another day. Believe us, that's not hard to do.
In the end, everything worked out all right - game postponed, nothing made official - but it never should've gotten as far as it did, and both teams are lucky that nothing too serious happened to any of the players (or fans with field-level seats, for that matter). You hate to see a home opener get pushed back like this, but when a problem is so fucking obvious that Mike Hargrove is arguing against it, you know you've waited too long to make a decision. Alfonso Marquez and Rick Reed should thank their lucky stars for finally making the right call when they did, because had they waited one more strike, they would've gotten the full Mike Reilly treatment. And nobody wants that, because it's gotten to the point where I have to start eliminating people from my shit list by any means necessary because it's too full to add anyone else. If you know what I mean.
10:05am/4:05pm PDT Saturday doubleheader. In theory. But with a 60% chance of more snow, who the fuck knows? I sure as hell don't want Felix pitching in this. Fuck snow and fuck Cleveland. Either build a dome or make sure you shut the fuck up when baseball stops giving you home games in April.