I often feel there is no such thing as a bad day or night to cover a baseball game. I will make the exception to extremely cold nights. And while I might not enjoy them, I can handle cold nights. Rainy nights — especially those like last Thursday when Crestview High School played Navarre High School in baseball — should be forbidden
I often feel there is no such thing as a bad day or night to cover a baseball game.
I will make the exception to extremely cold nights. And while I might not enjoy them, I can handle cold nights.
Rainy nights — especially those like last Thursday when Crestview High School played Navarre High School in baseball — should be forbidden. Games are rarely, if ever, played when conditions deteriorate so much that the game can't be played and still look like baseball.
The handful of fans who attended the Bulldog-Raiders game will probably tell you that by the middle of the game the field had reached the point of no return, but the teams sloshed on. I was lucky to be in Crestview's dugout, but with the rain blowing, I still managed to get sufficiently wet.
By rule, the home team decides to start the game. Once a game starts, the umpires can call it at any time.
Umps almost called Thursday's game in the top of the seventh inning after the Bulldogs pushed five runs across the plate, taking a 6-1. Fortunately for Crestview, they decided to play on and the Bulldogs took a 6-3 win.
If the game had been called in the seventh inning, the score would have reverted to the last completed inning when the game was tied 1-1. The game's completion probably would have been played when Navarre visits Crestview on April 8.
I would have called the game long before the seventh inning, but I'm not paid to make that decision. Crestview center fielder Matt Gillis told me he couldn't see home plate when scoring.
If Matt couldn't see the plate to score, I can only ask how the umpire could see it to call balls and strikes.
Rain and nasty field conditions also forced the teams to use an extraordinary amount of baseballs. In an average game, teams might go through 15 or 20 baseballs supplied by the home team. I would guess at least 60 or 70 baseballs, maybe more, were needed Thursday night.
I've covered games where the rain came and the teams were pulled from the field until the storm blew over. I've covered other games that Mother Nature won and the game was postponed.
It's been 20 years since I covered a district baseball tournament in Loudon, Tenn. during a torrential downpour. Once the teams were pulled from the field, the water was so high, ducks came out of a stream next to the park and started swimming around the bases.
Once the storm passed, about an hour later, the host team applied a drying solvent to the infield. The outfield was wet with standing water in places, but the remainder of the game was played in such a fashion that fans knew they were watching baseball.
There were humorous moments during and after the game. Anyone who has been a teenage boy, or had a son, knows boys will be boys.
Devin Wimmer was on third base when Hunter Willis delivered a single to left. Wimmer would have easily scored standing up, but his teammates in the dugout yelled for him to get down and slide. Listening to his teammates, Wimmer obliged, adding another layer of mud to his already dirty uniform.
Players were seen after the game taking group photos of themselves in all their mud and grime.
I only wish I had the sale of the laundry detergent that both teams used.
When all was said and done, the Bulldogs picked up a district win and nobody was hurt. Things could have been different, though, and a player could have been seriously injured playing a game in conditions that were unplayable.
We look to the coaches and umpires to make decisions that look out for the safety of the players and preserve the game's integrity. The players were fortunate Thursday night, but the powers that had the option to shut things down seemed to fail when they let the game continue.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.