Chicago Cubs San Francisco Giants rain delay tarp failure Wrigley Field

Update No. 2: Mike Krukow was no less upset during his segment on KNBR this morning. 

“I’ve never been so pissed off in my entire life, at a ballgame. Watching this unfold, and seeing, in the matter of just a few minutes. And we’re talking about a rainstorm that hit, that was less than 20 minutes long. And watching that grounds crew completely pee all over themselves.

“My first impression was, they’re doing this in purpose. They could not possibly be this bad. They had to be doing this on purpose. I had to back off that later on in the night, but I was so frustrated. It was the most incredible thing to watch. I guess if you’re watching and you didn’t have an allegiance to the Giants, you’d probably draw some humor out of watching it because it was so bizarre.” 

***

Update No. 1: Later in the broadcast, after making the comments below, Mike Krukow took back some of what he said. 

“I have to back up and retract a statement. I said that this might be a premeditated situation by this ground crew, and that was too harsh. I was wrong to insinuate that, and these guys are good. They just botched the job. But it’s a very emotional time of year. And the Giants, if this game were to be ruled a complete game, I would think that Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean, who’s here, would lose their minds. Because this can’t happen.”

***

With the Cubs holding a 2-0 lead over the Giants in the bottom of the fifth, the game went into a rain delay. It was a true cloudburst, forming pools of water all over the field almost instantly. You’d expect a major league grounds crew to show some urgency in situations like these, but the men at Wrigley Field looked either drunk, confused or both.

They pulled the tarp out at a poor angle, at least if a tarp’s purpose is to cover both the first AND third base lines. They pulled slowly, then they dragged the tarp to the uncovered parts of the infield — or attempted to, anyway. They brought the tarp back off the infield, then pulled it back to where it was before. Fans were chanting “PULL, PULL, PULL” at one point, probably because the on-field efforts looked so weak.

Here’s a video of the crew’s hijinks, sped up and set to “Yakety Sax” (via @annfrazi):

“This is a total joke, what they’ve done here. And there’s nobody in the Giants dugout or clubhouse laughing,” said Mike Krukow on CSN Bay Area’s broadcast.

The Giants color analyst, who spent his first six years with the Cubs, was hot.

“Well, it looks to me like they’re just kind of taking their sweet time, knowing that they do have a 2-0 lead and it’s a complete game right now,” Krukow said in the delay’s early stages, as the crew moved at a snail’s pace.

“They’re usually pretty good. I think this was staged. I think if the Giants had a 2-0 lead, they’d have had it on right now. They’d be sitting back in their little room and having a cup of coffee,” said Krukow.

“This is absolutely brutal. You would think by now in August these guys would’ve done this … They know what they’re doing. And this is exactly what they’re doing.

“You can hear the Giants fans at this ballpark, they’re booing. This is unbelievable. And you cannot tell me this is not premeditated. This is absurd.”

The crew seemed to move a little more quickly as water pooled on the unprotected area behind shortstop and third base, bringing out smaller tarps and laying them on top of the infield mud puddles.

“You can’t move it now. You’ve got all that rain on it, it’s stuck to the ground. They completely botched this. And I don’t think it was by accident,” said Krukow, who was exasperated enough to make up a new word.

“The downpour, I mean, there’s some serious rain on this field. And it’s going to take them a long time to get this field ready to play again and it wouldn’t surprise me if they couldn’t get it ready to play because of their ineptability to put on a tarp. This is unforgivable this time of year, given what this game means to the Giants.”

The rainstorm didn’t last long, and after the tarp was pulled the infield looked like melted chocolate. So the grounds crew shoveled loads of drying agent all over the infield dirt. And that’s where we stand right now, as the field still wasn’t in game shape at 8:45 pm PST.

This isn’t the first time someone affiliated with the Giants has been suspicious of the Cubs’ rainy day behavior.

In August of 1999, I drove cross-country with my friend Ben. He was set to spend a year at the University of Maryland, and I took a couple weeks off to ride with him before flying back to the Bay Area from Baltimore. We planned our trip around the Giants’ trip to Wrigley, planning to spend a couple nights in Chicago with a friend and catch one game before getting back on the road. Because of the weirdness that happened the evening we got to town, we got to see a doubleheader the next day.

As reported by Henry Schulman:

One of two bizarre things happened in the Windy (but not very rainy) City last night, and in either case the Giants are steaming mad.

Did the Chicago Cubs, a franchise not smart enough to win a World Series in the past 91 years, try to out-think a Midwestern storm? Or did they deviously orchestrate a needless rainout to give one of their pitchers two extra days of rest?

The series opener was officially called at 10:45 p.m. CDT (8:45 PDT) after a torturous 3-hour, 40-minute delay. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow.

The whole episode made the Giants suspicious because it wasn’t raining when the game was scheduled to start at 7:05. It wasn’t raining at 8:05, or for that matter at 8:35. In fact, the first downpour did not arrive until 8:45. By then, four or five innings could have been played.

The storm was bad for about 90 minutes, but when the game was finally banged at 10:45, it wasn’t raining anymore.

“The great thing about baseball is, you see something new every day,” Giants assistant general manager Ned Colletti said. “We saw something new today. We saw an hour-and-forty-five-minute delay waiting for rain.

“I guess you can always wait for rain. You can wait a couple of days for rain.”

Why would the Cubs want a rainout? Baker had a thought.

“Backing (Kevin) Tapani up to Wednesday. I think that was part of the situation in the first place,” the angry manager said. “The same stuff happened last year.”

Ah yes, another Giants-Cubs rainout foible.

Then Schulman goes on to describe some other silly situation that came up the year before, when the Cubs wanted to reschedule a game at a time that would’ve left the Giants looking like zombies. Those crazy Cubs. Diabolical, yet historically awful at winning baseball games.