There are all sorts of favorites lists, especially in sports: “The Top 5 Catches of All Time” or “Most Attractive Uniforms as Voted by Fans” or even “Favorite Players with Mustaches.” But the list of “15 Great Moments in Rain Delay History” doesn’t mention my favorite.
It was a Friday night at Candlestick in the mid-80′s. Mike Krukow was pitching against the Dodgers, with a decent crowd for a cool, wet night at the ‘Stick.
The game went into about the 4th inning before the skies opened up. That field didn’t have the drainage that AT&T has, so the umps halted things in anticipation of the rain stopping. Tarps came out and the fans moved back under the overhang in the hopes that we’d be playing again soon. With a smaller fan base in those days, there was plenty of room for everyone to huddle together to stay dry.
Then the fun began.
One fan jumped onto the field and took a running dive mid-field to slide across the tarp. He got there pretty fast, so it took a few minutes for the security guards to realize they had to start the chase. The guards apparently hadn’t been in the gym recently, and he gave them a good run prior to his capture.
Before anyone could say, “Well, that was amusing,” another fan jumped the fence and tried to outsmart the guards. He led them on an even longer chase, sliding across the tarp and then jumping up to run further away from the law. The poor guards had trouble apprehending the guy – he was fast and looked like an experienced running back used to dodging obstacles, and it was slippery.
The second guy was finally caught, just as the announcement came over the PA. “Please stay off the field. It is dangerous and against the law. You will be apprehended.” That just made the crowd cheer louder. After all, this was great entertainment. I’m guessing that a few hours in jail was worth it for those who attempted the slide across the infield.
Even the players have ways to sit out a rain delay and although they don’t involve diving onto the tarp to get points for distance and style, except for an incident in Texas, they can be amusing and creative. A delay during a Clemson vs Davidson game is a classic.
I want to go on record that I don’t condone illegal, dangerous behavior like running onto a wet field. There are much better alternatives to wait out the rain. That night at Candlestick, whoever was in charge of the stadium sound started playing classic rock: the Beach Boys, Beatles, and Stones. The dwindling crowd rose to the challenge. Dodger and Giants fans alike danced in the aisles, sang along with the tunes, and hardly noticed that the rain was still falling.
By the time the skies cleared, everyone was in a great Friday-date-night kind of mood. There were plenty of seats available, so we moved closer to the field when the game started again around 11 pm, and watched Krukow put the Dodgers away. In spite of the damp weather, it was a fun night and a Giants victory.
I thought of that game on Friday night while watching the same 2 teams in the rain at AT&T Park. It was a full house and fans came prepared like I did. With my Orange Friday rain jacket, an umbrella, and plastic garbage bags, I was fairly dry except when I jumped up to cheer and high-five everyone before sitting back down on my now-wet seat. I’ll have to coordinate that better the next time it rains.
It sprinkled most of the night, but there was no delay of game as the Giants put away the Dodgers. We watched the after-game fireworks through some drops, and turned the heater on as soon as we reached the car.
I’ll never forget the game that should have been delayed, but wasn’t. Game 7 of the NLCS included the longest, wettest 9th inning of my memory. I was decked out in garbage bags again and much wetter than the game last Friday. But I didn’t care. The memory of Scutero, looking up into the rain with outstretched arms, is etched in my memory. It was later immortalized in probably the best promotional item ever, the Scutero Rain Globe.
So my advice for rain delays? Come prepared with an orange poncho, parka and plastic garbage bags. Have some hot chocolate. Remember to cover your seat when you stand up to cheer and high-five your friends. You can always dry off when you get home. Have fun!
First rain delay at Pac Bell, also against the Dodgers. That game was suspended and finished the next day.