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The Longest Rain Delays

I'd promised yesterday to investigate whether yesterday's 5:26er was the longest-ever rain delay, but that query runs direct into a serious problem: Major League Baseball doesn't keep track of rain delay statistics. Nor do many others, evidently. Thus, all curious parties are left to cobble together some old newspaper clips, some possibly-apocryphal stories, etc. But I think we can safely guess that this was among the five longest delays in MLB history.

For sure, it's not the longest.

Even the AP game story from last night's contest mentioned a 1999 game between Cincinnati and Milwaukee that was delayed 5:47.

Then, today, I came across this Web page -- really, just a PDF document somehow provided by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) that details all epic rain delays, with no concern for obscurity. (!) We know (or at least somebody tells us), for instance, that on June 17, 1970, in a Midwest League game in Danville, Ill., a game between the Quad City Angels the home Danville Warriors was delayed three hours, 16 minutes, finishing at 1:42 a.m. as 175 fans sat in the stands.

A few of the rain delays mentioned here have an element of grandfatherly magic/embellishment, so who really knows if a November 6, 1993 Roy Hobbs Senior League game in Fort Myers, Fla., was delayed 5:20. Who really knows if a Little Falls, N.J., Little League game was once delayed 7:06. (My parents woulda been angry.)

But some of this stuff, I can say, is confirmable.

Consider this entry, which, as far as the research goes, denotes the longest rain delay in recorded MLB history:

7:23 - Comiskey Park (I), Chicago, Illinois - 8/12-1990 - American League - rain delay 7:23 at start on 8/12, game finally called off and rescheduled for 8/17 in Arlington.

So, just to confirm the fantastic, I went into the limitless nexis.com library and retrieved the day-after (Aug. 13, 1990) account from The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan, who reported:

Players, coaches, vendors, ushers, reporters and about 500 staunch fans waited for hours and hours at Comiskey Park Sunday, as the game between the White Sox and Texas was delayed due to the all-day downpour. The game was eventually called at 9 p.m. after a 7 1/2 -hour delay. Since the lineup cards were never sent out, the game was in the hands of the White Sox, not the umpires.

"We just had to try it," said owner Jerry Reinsdorf of the long wait. "The weather man kept saying it'd stop."

Some six hours after the scheduled 1:35 p.m. start, White Sox General Manager Larry Himes held a press briefing in which he informed the media that the wait would go on until the rain stopped.

Both teams have an off-day scheduled for next Thursday, but the player's union contract stipulates that teams have to vote on whether to give up an off-day.

...

And later, from the same article:

"This was the first time we were able to watch two complete ballgames during a rain delay," said Texas manager Bobby Valentine.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 19, 2009; 11:58 AM ET
 
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Next: Tonight's Lineups

Comments

OK, maybe it's just the euphoria of an actual winning streak that prompted me to do this, but in response to a post a day or so ago wondering what the Nats' record would be if games only lasted 6 innings, I crunched some numbers. I looked at the scores of each game after the 5th, 6th and 7th innings, and calculated the Nats' W-L-T record after each. I included the "suspended" Astros game, but also note that there were 2 games that were called due to rain after 5 (so the "records" for the 6th and 7th innings appear a little short).

So here goes:

AFTER 5 INNINGS: 19-33, 13 ties (.365 winning %)
AFTER 6 INNINGS: 23-30, 10 ties (.434 winning %)
AFTER 7 INNINGS: 18-37, 8 ties (.327 winning %)

Given our overall record (.281 winning %), these numbers clearly show what we all know -- the bullpen (especially earlier this season) was atrocious. If games ended earlier, we'd obviously be a better team. But anecdotally, I thought there would be even more disparity -- I am surprised that after 5 and 7 innings, we're not all that much better than we are with full games. Maybe others will see more in these #s...

Anyway, on a related note, I also took a look at our offense since May 20 -- a stretch of 26 games in which we won only 7 (though, to be fair, that winning % is not all that far off the season-long figure). Anyway, as a dividing line, May 20 has the twin virtues of being the first game after our incredible stretch of scoring at least 5 every game AND the date generally considered (by me anyway) to be a turning point toward improvement for the pitching staff -- bullpen especially. While the pitching got better, the run support dried up dramatically. Over those 26 games, the Nats have averaged 3.16 runs per game. We've scored exactly 3 in 6 of the last 7 games. Over this stretch, we've also been shut out once and scored only 1 run 6 times (only 2 runs an additional 5 times). Take out the two breakout games (against the O's a few Sundays ago and against the Giants early this month), and we'd be even worse off.

So, my take-away: A) I've got way too much time on my hands; and B) imagine if we could just put it all together...

Posted by: cdstej | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

And we complain about the NATS' ownership! Reinsdorf makes Stan/Lerners look like the Mark Cuban of benevolence!!

Posted by: TheBorg | June 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Is this the same guy they were talking about to replace Manny Acta?

"This was the first time we were able to watch two complete ballgames during a rain delay," said Texas manager Bobby Valentine.

Myself, I think it was a PLOT. Someone leaks the news Manny's gonna be fired, frightening the players to DEATH that they might get ABCD to manage them, and they SHAPE UP for a manager who treats them like adults.

Still, Manny needs to get them to work on some fundamentals, bunting, base-running (we all know about defense, but there have been a couple of really sparkling defensive games 7-0, 3-0, so they do know HOW to defend. Just wake up and do it).

Was so much fun reading the NY predictions about this series...

Posted by: ingbermr | June 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Little league games last just 6 innings, if I recall correctly.

I'm just pointing that out...

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 19, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

OK, so we have a small winning streak built on pitching and defense, an upcoming home stand, and two new food options at Nationals Park. We are officially one Ryan Zimmerman game-winning walkoff homer on Father's Day away from turning this season around.

Posted by: BobLHead | June 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Report from the new Yankee stadium.

My son and I attended the game Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium. We got there for 4:00 when the gates opened and toured monument park and the yankee museum. there were no lines since we did both as soon as we got in. The museum was something else with sections titles "Ruth Era, Mantle era and Jeter era" They have sighed balls from virtually every yankee going back to the 20's. They also have Munson's locker there. Being a Jersey kid (though I was a Met's not Yankee fan) it was very nostalgic.

We weren't overly impressed with the stadium given its 1.5 billion dollar price tag.

Our seats were in the first row of the first upper deck in right field (just behind the Utz sign and right above where Damon's 9th inning homer landed).

Obviously a great game, BUT I also caught a Dunn BP home run. It hit off of a yankee fan's glove standing next to me and went right into my hands. Sweet!

I felt more at ease at this stadium that at the old yankee stadium. I think the $9 beers have greatly cut down on drunken fans.

Virtually all 45,000 fans stayed until the end of the game (we exited at the top of the ninth) and they cheered for the Stankees the whole game. Reminded me of RFK in 2005 when the crowd was into the game (and we were winning, at least through June).

The only problem we had was with street closures outside our parking garage that caused us to get lost for 30 minutes instead of getting right back on the Major Degan.

We are going to tonights game so I am hoping for another win!

Go Nats!

Posted by: alm1000 | June 19, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The big win was achieved with Austin Kearns in RF, hitting .196, Corey Patterson in CF, hitting .077 and with a lifetime OBP under .300, and Willie Harris LF at .217.

To go up to NY against the Bronx Bombers with an outfield like that and come away with the series is a nice achievement.

Posted by: EdDC | June 19, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

> The big win was achieved with Austin Kearns in RF, hitting .196, Corey Patterson in CF, hitting .077 and with a lifetime OBP under .300, and Willie Harris LF at .217.

Maybe if they hadn't DFAed Alexander The Great Cintron a few weeks ago they would've swept the whole series.

Posted by: section417 | June 19, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

From the Yankees comments section on yesterday's game...hmmm..sounds...familiar, somehow, I can't think why...:

IzzyLoC wrote:
Girardi is not the problem, why does everybody blames Girardi, does Girardi bats everytime?? is the players not him. The players are the ones that bat everytime, Pitch and go out there n produce the runs. Girardi is the one in the back making the decisions because he has faith in the players but if the players don't perform is not his fault is the players. Girardi doesnt bat and scores runs the players do. The yankee lineup needs to get on track all Girardi is give them the confidence n support besides that he doesn't have the ability to make them hit at every at bat or something.

SingYank169 wrote:
Izzy - thats the problem, Giradi is not giving them confidence and not able to motivate them. That is his job. If something is not right, fixed it. And he is unable to fixed the problem. He needs a meeting after this game to shake up the team....if he doesnt do it, well, I say find someone who can motivate this team, who can jumpstart the engine again.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | June 19, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Well done, atomic.

Thanks for the rain delay info, Chico. Re. the point on confirming data, I may be biased but I would tend to trust it if it was compiled by a SABR member.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

EdDC: "To go up to NY against the Bronx Bombers with an outfield like that and come away with the series is a nice achievement."

No, to go up to NY against the Bronx Bombers with an outfield like that and come away with the series is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 19, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Also, after reading the relevant Bog entry, I have lost all respect for Ken Rosenthal. I didn't actually have any to begin with, though, so no loss there.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Go Nats! Great series against the Yanks! Go get 'em this weekend against Toronto.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | June 19, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"No, to go up to NY against the Bronx Bombers with an outfield like that and come away with the series is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes."

And we didn't even have Jesus with us...

Posted by: joebleux | June 19, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

BRETT FAVRE once played in New York.

Posted by: trezmartin | June 19, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it Nexus/Lexus not Nexis Chico?

Posted by: periculum | June 19, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

LexisNexis

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 19, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Clearly the right mix of defense, pitching AND hitting.

Rewinding things a bit one can see why management did everything in their power to convince ownership to bring Mark Texiera in. Probably used the potential local appeal etc. as a way of selling tickets and Nats merchandise ... still ...

Their LOGIC now SEEMS SOUND! Texiera at 1st base, trading Nick Johnson for prospect[s]. RF Dukes, LF Willingham, CF Bernardina, Millege, and Harris.

The outfield improves defensively. Hitting remains the same or better. Infield defense remains the same or better.

Given the record, and what has transpired to this point one can see why they pulled out every stop (very UN-NATS like) to get Texiera.

Posted by: periculum | June 19, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of rain delays (and the MLB schedule):

http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spken1912897783jun18,0,5841996.column

That's nice and all, NY media, but where's the backtracking on the "inexcusable loss" claptrap before the series? That's okay, I have a feeling that it served nicely as bulletin board material for our Nats. Now if they can just keep their heads up as they face other teams.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Are there any OF in the farm system who could start and play well in the majors eventually? Burgess at Potomac is hitting just .232 withn 67 SO, though he shows power. Maxwell is 25 already and hitting .224. The only other one I can think of is Milledge, who was hitting .253 at AAA.

Posted by: EdDC | June 19, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

periculum,

I think the Lerner's pulled out all the stops because they knew through Boras, that they had no chance. They bumped up the salary offer needed for the Yankees to get him and they made themselves look not cheap, at least for a little while.

That is my theory. Tex was never coming here and the Lerner's had advanced notice of that from the horses mouth, so to speak.

I think if Uncle Teddy had to write a nearly 200 million check for 1 player, he would grab his chest Fred Sanford style.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 19, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

> And we didn't even have Jesus with us...

Colome was there, buttocks and all. Although I don't know about his family...

Posted by: section417 | June 19, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

"No, to go up to NY against the Bronx Bombers with an outfield like that and come away with the series is a miracle on the order of the loaves and the fishes."

"Posted by: gilbertbp | June 19, 2009"

The pitching has suddenly become for want of a better term "gritty". I think it starts there. And the extra effort defensively behind the young starters. Lannan looks again like a legitimate ace. Martis right behind. And now instead of competition to see who can get sent back to the minors first ... it appears that Zimmerman, Stammen, and Detwiler are dueling to prove each deserves a permanent starters slot in the rotation. And just as suddenly, Colin Balester has suddenly decided to start following JD Martin's and attempt to create a new wedge in the starting lineup.

Posted by: periculum | June 19, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

> I think if Uncle Teddy had to write a nearly 200 million check for 1 player, he would grab his chest Fred Sanford style.

But he'd be sure to give you a swift kick you-know-where right before he did it.

Posted by: section417 | June 19, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I figured that the reference was to Flores rather than Colome.

Speaking of Colome, though, how awesome would it be to have MASN track each of his mound appearances with the Super Slow Mo camera? The mind boggles.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to believe that Boras told Uncle Teddy that the Nationals had no chance in the Texeira sweepstakes. Even if Boras' sole purpose for negotiating with the Nationals was to drive up the bid from the Yankees, he probably led the Nationals to believe their bid would be considered. I don't have any difficulty believing Boras can easily talk out of bothh sides of his mouth.

Posted by: BrantAlyea | June 19, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The Yankees weren't even in the bidding initially. I believe that Boras was honest in stating that his client would give the Nats, a hometown team, every consideration. The exception came later: if and only if the pinstripes weren't bidding for his services. The Yankees waited until the end to "jump in". Knowing that the price would be too high for anyone (other than the lowly Nats) to outbid them. They were right.

Posted by: periculum | June 19, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it is Nexis. Nexis is the news database. Lexis is the legal database. I'm sure there wasn't anything in there.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 19, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

periculum: "The pitching has suddenly become for want of a better term 'gritty.'"

Funny, you read the NY press and there's nary a word there about how well the Nats were pitching this week. It was all about how lousy the Yankee hitters were.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 19, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

But here's where the rubber truly hits the road.

Consistency.

Can they keep the winning habit going? They have a closer now. Whether he can be consistent in that role has always been the question. They appear to have what should be serviceable setup and middle relief. Will they collapse or will it struggle and drive? The starters appear to be on a roll.

Posted by: periculum | June 19, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"I figured that the reference was to Flores rather than Colome."

Bingo, 1a.

"Speaking of Colome, though, how awesome would it be to have MASN track each of his mound appearances with the Super Slow Mo camera? The mind boggles."

I think the Super Slow Mo camera would realize the futility of trying to out Slow-Mo Colome, burst into tears, and quietly go into retirement, a hollow shell of its former self.

Posted by: joebleux | June 19, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Good call, joebleux.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Chico, Since we're diving into the somewhat obscure today - I wonder if Ron Villone knows that he is in rarified company. - see yesterdays Hochevar-related post at www.ranyontheroyals.com

Posted by: macman3 | June 19, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Proper Video Techniques For Analyzing Baseball

Batting, pitching, fielding - Super Slo-Mo.
Jesus Colome - Time lapse.

Posted by: wigi | June 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I would rather describe the bullpen pitchers as scrappy. Which is why they won't pitch this effectively for very long--they came here off the scrap heap, and wearing beer goggles at that, in at least one case.

They work hard, they're doing their level best, and sometimes that will be good enough, but more often it won't, because if they succeeded most of the time, they wouldn't be scrappy, or gritty--they'd be good. It's not like they have Rollie Fingers out there...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 19, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

MacDug could definitely be for real though.

Posted by: longterm | June 19, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Also a good call!

---

Proper Video Techniques For Analyzing Baseball

Batting, pitching, fielding - Super Slo-Mo.
Jesus Colome - Time lapse.

Posted by: wigi | June 19, 2009 2:22 PM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny stuff from Heyman today (although unintentional). The Nats are now supposedly pursuing trades of lots of people and asking for a lot. They'll name someone GM this year and it'll probably be Rizzo. Finally:

"3. Manny Acta's still not secure for the season, but he may be safe for a little while. His Nationals bosses wanted to see more fight, and they certainly saw it from Acta's team over the past few days. I am not sure if the Yankees series saved him, but that's the way it seems today. Kasten wouldn't comment on anything related to the manager, including whether the New York series might be his last "Acta." (Sorry for the bad pun.)"

Forget the bad pun, this is a total backtrack on his previous "report" that Acta was definitely going to be fired in the near future. Now he's "safe for a little while." Nice work, Jon.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 19, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I see "Nunof1" is going with the "Section417" monkier today, just to change it up a little.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 19, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I hope so, but I doubt it. He's been pitching in the bigs since 2001, granted in the American League, which probably hurts his stats compared to the NL.

********
MacDug could definitely be for real though.
Posted by: longterm | June 19, 2009 2:28 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Chico:

I coached the Dutch squad in the 1998 European Little League championships in Kutno, Poland. Our second game of the tourney, scheduled for 8AM, was delayed 11 hours. How's the for an epic rain delay? The Holland-Jordan tilt finally got under way at 7PM in a light mist. The kids from Jordan had never even SEEN rain, much less the effect it has on a baseball field.

Oh, and the game went extra innings! Final score: Holland 8, Jordan 7.

Posted by: outsider6 | June 19, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

good story, coach Jones. =)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 19, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Section505203 refuses to believe that there could possibly be more than one person around here who thinks he's full of it. Austin Kearns has more fans than he does, when it all comes down to it. But let him go along being in the dark as long as he wants, eh?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 19, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Now, now, boys...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 19, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Good to see that Storen hit 96mph in his first pro inning last night.....

Posted by: Barney001 | June 19, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

3peat!

Posted by: longterm | June 19, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

We may have to send each of them to their virtual rooms, sec3. Hey, who wants ice cream?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't need to apologize for the media, and they seem extremely squirrely about their Acta story not coming to pass, but there always is a possibility that the story was right at the time but something changed the mind of Stan K and the Lerners. Maybe the players went to bat for Manny. They sure were playing harder in NY than I had seen for a while (particularly Guzman and A Hernandez).

Posted by: raymitten | June 19, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Would be great if they could keep it up on this homestand, raymitten. Wonder whether bulletin board material from the media may have been a factor? Thanks, NY media, if so.

Also, lineups in new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Nats should write a book entitled "Ways How to Blow Games Late"

Posted by: rxs85 | June 19, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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