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Dollar Dog tired

6/6/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Craig Marks

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

I’ve always had doubts about how well the Cleveland Indians understood the weather. It probably goes back to my youth when, as a promotion, they gave away corduroy sun visors.

So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised by the events of May 31/June 1. The Tribe was playing the Tampa Bay Rays before a big crowd on “Dollar Dog Night,” but the evening was marred by several rain delays. “Delay” might not be the right word, though. One hour is a delay. Ninety minutes is a delay. But nearly five hours of thumb twiddling? Even the cicadas think that’s an awfully long wait.

I was not among the media and fans who endured at least a portion of the game, which ended around 3 a.m. with the Indians losing 9-2. There were three rain delays before there were 10 outs. The third delay pushed the start of the bottom half of the second inning to 12:10 a.m.

Now there are several things that can rightfully begin at 12:10 a.m.

  • “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live.”
  • A screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
  • A performance by singer Kylie Minogue ushering in Rockin’ New Year 2002.

But the bottom half of the second inning is not one of those things. At midnight, fans, particularly young fans, should have been fast asleep. Parents should have read to their little ones “Goodnight Tribe” (“Goodnight Giambi/Goodnight Stubbs/Goodnight Rich Hill, former Cub”) and been secure in the knowledge the game was called and would be made up at a future date. A cancellation was unfortunate but unavoidable, as there was so much green on the weather radar that it looked like a Shamrock Shake had been spilled on the computer monitor.

But the game was not called, not before the first pitch (when it’s the Indians’ decision) or after (when the decision is in the hands of the umpires and Major League Baseball). In a statement the next day, the Indians gave their reasons for pushing for the game to be played: The weather was iffy for the whole weekend, and “there are no viable mutual off days in the future to reschedule.”

Well, fair enough. As I’m sure was printed on the ticket, “Be aware that canceling this game is not an option. Be it four hours or 40 days and 40 nights of rain, be there zombie invasion or killer asteroid, we’re staying put.”

If only it were a game worth staying for. The Rays blew it open shortly after the midnight resumption, and the Indians, looking in desperate need of a power nap, managed a single hit. (A confession: I once made the mistake of asking Tribe legend Bob Feller if he ever caught 40 winks during a rain delay. He reacted as if I had asked him if he had spent the time plucking wings off sparrows.)

In an interview, Indians President Mark Shapiro said the 29,603 fans who were at the game will receive some compensation, though, as I write this, there has been no specifics. Perhaps the next time those fans have an appointment with the cable guy or a scheduled date for a furniture delivery, a member of the Indians organization will do the waiting for them. Offering the fans tickets to another game is a possibility, too, I suppose.

But whatever the Indians choose, I find it a good sign they are acknowledging the situation might have been handled just a little bit better. And for that, I tip my corduroy sun visor to them.

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