Rain suspends Baysox doubleheader set tonight

June 22, 1993|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Staff Writer

The rain blindsided the Bowie Baysox last night, leaving the Memorial Stadium infield a sea of muck and forcing their doubleheader with the Harrisburg Senators into suspension after three innings of the opener with the Baysox leading, 2-1.

The situation underscored the problems that arise when fans have to be solicited from the stands to help pull a major-league tarpaulin during an intense storm that caught the team unaware.

"It wasn't on the radar," general manager Keith Lupton said of the storm.

"This came up quick," said Baysox groundskeeper Jimmy Juergens, who has only one assistant crewman. "The weather people told me it was a light, 10-minute shower and it turned into a downpour. The field was just taking too much water."

When the shower hit in the bottom of the third, the umpires decided to complete the inning and Edgar Alfonzo of Bowie slipped and fell in the batter's box after driving a shot into the left-field corner that drove in a run.

Under normal circumstances, the hit was a double but Alfonzo was tagged out easily trying to reach second after the late start.

Then the real misery began. As is customary, public address announcer Bud Freeman called for volunteers from the stands to help apply the tarp, which gets heavier and heavier as more water accumulates.

Some 50 volunteers were on this crew, which left portions of the infield uncovered, particularly on the right side where a pond developed around first and second bases.

"They did a hell of a job just getting as much [tarp] on as they did," said Baysox manager Don Buford. "It takes experience, and they are just helping to pull, basically. This is nobody's fault. It's something that happens."

Juergens said he tries his best "to communicate" with volunteers "who are giving their best. You can't yell at them, but the only way to get the tarp out faster is with 20 professional people [as the Orioles had]."

When the storm ended 15 minutes later, the crew tried to squeegee and apply as drying agent to the most affected areas, but Buford said it wouldn't have mattered if they had been made playable.

"In other areas [where the standing water wasn't present] you were slipping. That means about two inches of topsoil would have been needed," he said. "Your spikes wouldn't catch."

Another shower was in the forecast for later in the night and "by the time we could have gotten it ready we'd have had to stop again," said Juergens.

So the opener of a doubleheader -- which had already been delayed by rain for 67 minutes at the start -- will be completed tonight beginning at 6:05 p.m. A seven-inning second game will follow.

The scheduled second game from last night will be made up as part of a doubleheader Aug. 12.

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