File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nationals Park has experienced its share of weather delays the last three years.
But since it appears we will be getting a legit snowstorm later today, this seems like an appropriate time to talk about weather and the effect it has had on the Nationals over the years.
Both RFK Stadium and Nationals Park have been host to plenty of weather delays in the last six years. If I were to add up all the time I've spent in the press box looking down upon a tarp-covered infield ... well, it would only depress me and you. Such is life in the baseball world, the only sport in America that regularly halts its game for bad weather.
The Nationals also seem to have a knack for making people wait through some incredibly long delays before beginning games well into the evening. Two, in particular, stick out in my mind...
-- Jordan Zimmermann's major-league debut on April 20, 2009. It was an early-season, Monday night game against the Braves, and Zimmermann's first pitch didn't come until 9:15 p.m., with a cold rain still falling. At that point, there weren't more than 1,000 fans in the ballpark. When the rain turned heavy again in the eighth inning and the umpiring crew called for the tarp for another delay, most of what few fans remained left for good. And by the time Joel Hanrahan closed out the Nats' 3-2 victory, there were about 70 people left, making for a surreal scene.
-- The infamous Sept. 28, 2006 game against the Phillies at RFK Stadium, which incredibly didn't begin until 11:32 p.m. Under normal circumstances, that game never would have been played. The rain was heavy all evening, and the game meant nothing to the Nationals. Unfortunately, it meant everything to the Phillies, who were in the final week of a pennant race and absolutely had to get the game in before heading to Miami for the season's final series. So everyone waited. And waited. And waited. Stan Kasten showed up in the press box at one point holding an old relic of a sign from some ancient stadium that read: "Ball Game Today." The game finally got underway shortly before midnight, with hardly anyone in attendance but some fans actually driving into town late at night to crash the gates and get in for free. The Nationals won 3-1, with Jon Rauch recording the final out at 2:37 a.m., and the Phillies went on to miss the playoffs.
There's no baseball game scheduled today in D.C., of course. But as you all brace for Mother Nature's wrath later this afternoon, I pose two questions: 1) What's your most memorable weather-related baseball story? 2) What, if anything, would you like to see the Nationals do differently when it comes to weather delays in the future?
Stay warm today, NatsTown, and please drive safely.