Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Night of the Tarp Divers

Last night I went to Shea Stadium with two dear friends of mine who were in New York, and we were going to take in the Mets-Rangers game. It was "Stadium Replica Night" as everyone who came in got a small replica of the ballpark. (It's actually pretty cool.)

But the weather just wouldn't cooperate. We spent the afternoon in Lower Manhattan, and it started to rain, and it barely let up. As I was getting off the train at Shea, I checked my cell phone to see that Jonathan Papelbon gave up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion to tie the Red Sox-Reds game in Cincinnati. I had a feeling this would be a rough night. (But hometown boy Youk came to the rescue and hit a home run to give the Sox the win. It made me feel better to see the "6" on the scoreboard as I got to my seat at the park.)

It was raining steadily as we got there, and it picked up as we waited. Then a stadium announcement said the storm would pass in about 30 minutes, so that gave us some hope. My friend Ken and I went to the concession stand and I heard a roar from the crowd. It sounded like the ground crew might have been on the field ready to take the tarp off the field. When we got back to our seats, not only was the tarp still on the field, the rain was picking up in intensity, and by 8 PM, it was coming down in torrents.

The warning track looked like a new river had just formed, and you could see the huge puddles in the outfield. And then, five players on the Texas Rangers came out of their dugout, and began running and diving across the tarp. I figured they must have been bench guys or something, but it turned out to be five starters, according to Roger Rubin of the Daily News: Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Gerald Laird and Milton Bradley (Milton Bradley? Really?), and pitcher Josh Rupe. (Not "Ryan," Roger.) They were out there having fun and the fans really got into it. I even heard some chants of "Let's Go Rangers" and there was no hockey game going on. At the time I was wondering what Texas manager Ron Washington was thinking seeing some of players doing that. (Imagine if one of them got hurt? I can hear it now: "He's been placed on the 15-day DL due to 'a tarp diving injury suffered at Shea.' ")

Turns out the game had just been called when the Texas players did their tarp diving. A few moments after it concluded, the announcement was made and a single-admission doubleheader (wow, what a concept!!) is scheduled for today.

I felt badly for my friends from California as they couldn't see the Mets play, but as my friend Peg said after we left, "At least we can say we've been to Shea Stadium." On Wednesday the three of us will be going to see their beloved San Diego Padres play the Yankees in the Bronx, and it will be the first time I have ever been in the bleachers in that dump before it gets leveled after this season.

The Red Sox and Mets paraphernalia stays home that night.

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there, and especially my father. He's one of the better dads you'd ever want to meet.


Steel36 said...

Hey Q-the best rain delay guy ever was Rick Dempsey!! He would imitate Babe Ruth and do the tarp slide!!

The Omnipotent Q said...

That was a classic....