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A Rain-Shortened Loss

Even the rain treats the 2009 Nationals with contempt. This game, a rain-shortened 4-1 Nats loss against the Cardinals, ended with some bizarre circumstances. It was called in the top of the seventh... after the rain had stopped for good.

Here's what happened: Just as the groundscrew was prepping the field for an 11:25 resumption time, a quick spurt of rain dumped buckets on Nationals Park. The groundskeepers, for some reason, elected not to immediately cover the field. In the ensuring minutes, the infield took a beating. Puddles formed in the infield. You could practically see a rainbow on the second base dirt.

The rain was short-lived, but the damage remained. At 11:30, the rain was entirely gone, and umps were out on the field trying to determine the field's playability. Eventually, the umps said it wasn't playable. It was a lumpy mess -- all drying agents and soggy dirt.

Here's what crew chief Dana Demuth later said: "We pulled the tarp and there was no rain when we pulled the tarp, and that little bit of rain that showed on the radar, we didn't know whether it would hit or not. So we pulled the tarp to work on the field and then when it came, it wasn't supposed to be there more than four or five minutes and it ended up being a 12-minute downpour. Then getting the tarp on was getting the tarp on too late.

"The whole infield was an inch under water and they put down an inch of dust trying to get it, to sop it up, and that only turned into mud. [The groundskeeper] had a good idea of trying to roll it, but he said it would be 20 minutes to try to roll it. But when you roll it, when you walked on it, all the mud came to the top. We lost the field, that's what happened."

By Chico Harlan  |  July 24, 2009; 12:22 AM ET
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Next: The New Infield Routine


Oh well, it wouldn't be a visit from St. Louis without some tears from Mother Nature, now would it?

Posted by: MJPinDC | July 24, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Chalk it up as another eventful loss in a long, dreary season of losses.

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

On Syracuse getting blown out by Toledo:

Here's a guy that I guess might be released soon:

Dave Williams, 3 hits 3 earned runs no outs recorded ejected by the home plate umpire.

Posted by: periculum | July 24, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody here remember the Evening Star's "Knothole Gang'' in the early '60s? -- For a couple of years, they used to let us in free to RFK games that weren't likely to draw well. We sat in the CF upper deck.

I'm remembering this tonight because one of those Knothole games was cancelled by an on-and-off rain after everybody had arrived. It was against the Angels.

More screaming kids in the upper deck than in the reserved seats back then, but the ushers (not at these games, mind you) used to let us move to the empty reserved seats down the left-field line with no hassle at all.

Posted by: nats24 | July 24, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

And, obviously, it was "DC Stadium'' back then, although I imagine if it had occurred to anyone to try to sell the name, it would have been as successful as efforts to sell the name for Nationals Park.

Posted by: nats24 | July 24, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse

From Buster Olney's chat in the NY TImes Freakonomics section:

What’s the best insight on life that you’ve learned over all of your years following baseball? I’d love to hear your thoughts, short and sweet (think the length of a note you would have signed in a high school yearbook). — J.C.

Most baseball players have a remarkable ability to put a bad day behind them, and I saw that and tried to draw on that. If you went 0-for-4 one day, that didn’t necessarily have to affect your ability to go 4-for-4 the next day — if you work to turn the page emotionally. I have tried to use that in my own work.

Posted by: flynnie321 | July 24, 2009 6:09 AM | Report abuse

Nice one, flynnie.

Chico, thanks for the link to the surgery story a few threads back. Very funny!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I've heard of losing the team, and the fans, but that's a new one. Fire the field?


We lost the field, that's what happened.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

from, home of the san francisco chronicle, a post by their baseball writer, henry schulman (July 23 2009 at 09:16 AM):

"I've been told by a couple of sources that no trades involving the Giants were imminent, at least as of yesterday. Remember, though, that can always change with a phone call.

"I'm also told that a Washington Nationals scout made a special trip to Norwich, Conn., to watch the Giants' Double-A team.

"I'm not going to take the leap and say the Giants are focusing on left-handed first baseman Nick Johnson, because nobody has told me that. The Nats have other parts a contender might want, including Adam Dunn and lefty relievers Joe Beimel and Ron Villone."

Posted by: natty-bumppo | July 24, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Buehrle's perfect game got me curious so I checked out the stats. Did you realize that there have been twice as many (six to three) perfect games in the American League as in the NL since the advent of the DH? Curiousity from that made me check out the four home run games. There have been twice as many of those in the NL in the AL DH era. One would think it would be the opposite in both cases.

Posted by: truke | July 24, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

One more thing for the morning. In looking at other "memorable feats" on the MLB site, noticed that there is a typo on who served up Barry Bonds' 756th. Mike Bacsik is, at least temporarily, not getting his due in baseball lore.

Posted by: truke | July 24, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I'd really hate to see Nick go. He and Guzzie are the only two left from glory months of '05.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 24, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Check this out

A Lerner speaks

Posted by: CBinDC | July 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

and Guzman didn't bring much glory to it, that year, either.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 24, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Not to mention that Nick is also the last Expo, twinbrook.

Interesting, truke. Also interesting that the same ump was behind the plate for Buerhle's no-no. I suspect that we'll be seeing replays of the entire game on MLB Network at some point (category: classic games).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Dang, you really know that it's a bad season when you lose the field. Did that ever happen to the '62 Mets?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 24, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

From Heyman...

• The Nationals should deal veterans Nick Johnson, Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn, though there's been no buzz about Dunn, as it's possible the market isn't as great as one might expect for a consistent 40-homer hitter.

• Nationals executives are expected to travel to California soon to meet with the Stephen Strasburg camp. The vibe thus far is negative for a deal. One competing exec said, "The Nationals absolutely have to sign him."

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Mark Lerner is a tool!

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 24, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

In other news, new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 24, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

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