Game 4 - Mets vs. Orioles @ Ft. Lauderdale
I get to the park, go down for BP, and I will use the word with pun intended that I had to sweat it out to get Jerry Manuel's autograph. Very hot and muggy in Ft. Lauderdale earlier today. Jerry was the only one willing to sign on the dugout side of the Mets sideline. A few signed down on the bullpen side.
- At Ft. Lauderdale stadium, the seating sections are different admissions (different entrances and you can't go between them) to be along the bullpen in LF and to be along the dugout at 3B. I was int he main seating area which has access to be behind the dugouts.
Anyway, Jerry did sign after BP, but he took a chair just outside the dugout and sat down to sign. He did sign for a while, but it was a long wait before this even happened. And where he sat, it was a restricted area, so he alternated between individuals being allowed in to hand him something, and a lady sitting in that area being courier. I was one of the last to get one through her, after a long wait, and she really got tired of it quickly. I did give her one of my waters for all her troubles. She deserved it.
I saw the (weather) radar before I left Port St. Lucie at 9am, and knew there was rain coming. I couldn't judge how quickly it would come, or how long it would take, but it was coming. Down the coast. I figured rain in St. Lucie by 10am, so I decided not to see the players left behind working out (expecting there to be nothing to see outdoors).
The rain got to Ft. Lauderdale just before 1st pitch. For some reason, they started playing. Alternating between heavy rain and just steady rain for about an hour. Play was stopped with Pelfrey facing 2 batters in the bottom of the 1st. I wish I had good video of what I'm about to mention - maybe photos later (though it doesn't quite convey the blooper in what I will describe). The grounds crew had quite a bit of trouble getting the tarp on the field. Maybe 10 minutes, with the tarp getting stuck covering only a little bit of the infield. They had to get extra bodies, and drag it back to the LF wall to fix it, before getting it covered. Lots of puddles on the infield and warning track. I really expected the game to be called after that. Pelfrey was actually pulled before the game was delayed, with no new pitcher coming in before the delay. The Orioles radio team actually left the stadium during the delay expecting play not to resume. I stayed and watched. And at about 2pm, the skies cleared, the grounds crew got out there (still with some trouble closing the tarp in LF, rolling it up, and getting the rolled tarp back along the fence). They got the field dried (it's Florida, with the humidity, it probably helped matters), and got play resumed at about 2:45, after about a 90 minute delay.
From there, the Mets were down 3-1 in the middle of the 6th inning when I had to leave to catch my flight home (to which, i probably arrived 20 minutes before scheduled boarding time, and the flight is delayed 2 1/2 hours).
Opening day is a week away.