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Weathered down

Jan 26, 2011, 3:21 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nationals Park has experienced its share of weather delays the last three years.

It's shaping up to be one of those classic Washington weather days in which the mere threat of frozen precipitation causes mass panic. I fully expect grocery stores to be out of bottled water, dog food and toilet paper by lunchtime.

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 intoRead more »

  1. Bratislava, Slovakia - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    First, what a wonderful story from 2006 – the Nats beating the Phillies and contributing to their missing the playoffs!Second, my worst weather memory was in 2008, just before leaving Washington, so probably in June or early July. Nats vs. Cards. Get to the game early to watch BP, then a storm front moves in. Then it moves out. Then another moves in. Lightening striking near the stadium. Weather map (which, if I recall correctly, they show on the big board) clearly predicting lots more rain and storminess. But they want to get the game in, so they don't postpone it. For hours. And then, when they finally call the game, they tell everyone to come back tomorrow for a non-consecutive double header. Which screws everyone's plans and, if I recall, draws about 1000 to the first game.What could the Nats do differently: Be realistic. Learn to read the radar. Be willing to call a game early when you know the weather isn't going to clear. I'll admit that predicting snow and ice storms in DC is tricky. But predicting thunderstorms is pretty straightforward. And I know that the MLB schedule is a complicated monster. But find a more fan-friendly way to make-up games — maybe using some real, traditional double-headers.

  2. Constant Reader - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    The Nats first RFK rainout. April 22, 2006. My father in town from Phoenix to go with me and my two-year old son. Our first three generations game. We've been to games since, but that was so painful.

  3. N. Cognito - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    I think it was the 2006 game. The evening started out mild and overcast. Began tailgating in Lot 8 when the wind picked up and the rain began to fall – a cold driving rain. We climbed into our cars but still got soaked. We hung around for the start of the game but didn't last long. It got colder and we were wet.Cheap Lerners should have sprung for covered parking.

  4. ChicagoNatsGirl - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    My best baseball weather story is actually not a Nats story but rather a Chicago White Sox story (the Sox are my Chicago team, but the Nats will also be my real team). It was an early April match up in 2008 between the Detroit Tigers and the White Sox. My aunt and then 11-year old cousin, fervent Tigers fans both, made the trip from Michigan for the game. My cousin uses a wheelchair but refused to sit in the wheelchair seating section because it wasn't as close as the seats I had gotten. So we got him as far as we could and carried him the rest of the way. It was 28 degrees at game time, with driving sleet. Throughout the game it turned to driving snow but they never called a delay. We stayed until the bitter (very bitter) end. There couldn't have been more than a couple thousand people in the whole place. The Tigers were getting trounced but my cousin did not want to leave lest he miss the Tiger's dramatic comeback. It took my shoes 3 days to dry out! The things we'll do for baseball (and its 11-year old fans!)

  5. SonnyG10 - Jan 26, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    It would be nice to have some of the old traditional double-headers, but I can't see the major league clubs giving up the money. However, if they can't get the games in any other way, then why not? They (the teams that don't sell out) might make up for some of the lost money by increased attendance for a traditional double-header.

  6. Feel Wood - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Even though people like to pin fault at the Nationals for the handling of weather delays, there's really not much they could do differently. It's all a function of MLB's scheduling process, which severely limits the options for making up games that are called off. The extreme delays before games are finally played – even in conditions where they probably shouldn't be – happen no matter which team is the home team. Recall the five hour rain delay of what was supposed to be an afternoon getaway game for the Nats at Yankee Stadium in June 2009. IIRC Lannan won that game after the delay, which cemented the Nats taking the series from the Yankees and delaying Manny Acta's firing by a couple weeks. Bottom line, they all have the mentality of "we're going to get this game in tonight if there's any way it's humanly possible." It's not just the Nats.As for overall weather pains for fans, I have a 20 game plan and probably end up going to 30 games every season. I recall 2008 having its fair share of games with weather issues, 2009 being an absolute season-long nightmare, and 2010 not being bad at all. I might have had one rain-delayed game, I forget. And although that could be attributed to luck of the draw, 30 out of 81 games is probably enough of a sample to establish a pattern.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    On another note… We're suffering through another 65 degree partly sunny day down here in Winter Park, Fl.

  8. N. Cognito - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "On another note… We're suffering through another 65 degree partly sunny day down here in Winter Park, Fl."The decorum of the board does not permit me to properly respond to your post.

  9. Mike Harris - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Randy Johnson. Enough said. Sat there until 11:30 p.m. Got a chuckle out of Uncle Stan on the field, rain pouring down, arguing with the umpires to get the game in.Driving home. Turning around and going back the next day (or later that same day) to see two games. Johnson gets No. 300, even though strike three to Adam Dunn was actually ball four. Sitting in more rain to watch the second game (speaking of Jordan Zimmermann)

  10. Slidell - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    My gripe is the poor communication with the fans in the Park as to when play is likely to resume. I know that when the crew starts rolling up the tarp, we have another half-hour or so. But, it wouldn't hurt the guys upstairs to give the loyal folks periodic and meaningful heads-ups during long delays.

  11. timjoebob - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Mine was during the magical '05 season.We were playing the Braves and the game was nip & tuck the whole game. It was played in a steady drizzle the whole day. The field was a mess. The grounds crew came out to fix the moound numerous times. They did the same to the infield but by the time the ninth inning arrived, it was slop.Vinny Castilla was standing in a puddle and go was Nick at first.We were tied – I believe – going into the ninth and the Chief was probably on the mound because I think the bases got loaded.Ground ball to short in the whole. The ball was hit hard but by the time it got to Guzman in the hole, it wasn't moving too fast. Guzman fields and throws… a little low… Nats lose. Nats lose. Nats lose.

  12. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    I was at the Sept 06 game, it was R Zimm's Birthday (when the game started). I came late and they weren't going to let fans in that came late. Then they started letting us in for 5 bucks and we could sit anywhere. I sat right behind home plate. The Lerner, who had just bought the team, we down there shaking hands with people who stayed. It was the most surreal game I've ever been to

  13. Slidell - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    SonnyG10:I recall reading somewhere that the Players Union put the kibosh on traditional doubleheaders some years ago. Though I imagine that the owners didn't complain too much.

  14. Natsochist - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Most memorable weather event for me didn't actually postpone play at all. March 30, 2008: opening day at the brand new Nationals Park. One of my good friends – a Mets fan who is forever forgiven because of this – lucked into four tickets before they sold out, and I got one of them.We were in the nosebleeds, it was about 35 degrees and felt even colder as the night wore on, and yet to this day only Strasburg's debut even holds a candle to it as my favorite baseball memory. When Zimm hit his walk-off, it suddenly didn't matter how cold it was

  15. upperdeck4 - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    The one I remember was in 2005. The Nats ground crew was inexperienced and a bit inept. It started to rain and the ground could not pull the tarp on the field for the life of them. They had unrolled it poorly and were trying to drag it on the field by pulling it from the front. It was laughable. I believe a couple of fans tried to go on the field to help. Up in the stands we all started chanting, "Let's go ground crew." It was comical.

  16. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    One major weather issue occurred in June 2009 around Randy Johnson's 300th win. The Giants were in for a Tues-Wed-Thur series, obviously their only DC visit of the season. Johnson was scheduled to go for his 300th on Wed night. They got the Tuesday night game in, with the Nats winning over Lincecum. Bad weather moved in on Wednesday, not just the isolated thunderstorm but rather the multi-day front with off and on rain. Wednesday night was terrible, and they called the game well before game time and rescheduled it as part of a traditional doubleheader the next day – something they rarely do any more. The first game with Johnson pitching was scheduled to start at 4:00. They got that game in despite continuous mist and drizzle, and Johnson got his milestone victory in front of a sparse crowd of mainly Giants fans. The second game was played in continuous rain which ultimately resulted in the game being called in the sixth and the Giants getting the win. I actually held a ticket for the Wed night game that was rained out, and debated going in for the Johnson 300 game the next day. But the weather was iffy all day, and I worked out in the burbs at the time so I'd have had to take half a day off for a game that might not have happened. So instead I went home and watched it on TV. I felt kind of crappy doing that since I ended up missing the 300th win. If Johnson had lost or got a no-decision, I wouldn't have felt so bad.

  17. VCUAlum Kyle - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I was at the 9/28/06 game with my cousin. We left the ballpark at 10:45pm to get back into Richmond, VA for class the next day. What also stunk about that game there were (as usual) more Phillies fans at the park then Nats fans and my cousin and I got booed out of the stadium on our way home. The other rain delay I remember was 7/25/09 where we waited three hours, drank several beers and ended up sitting two rows off the dugout on the 1st baseline only paying for a $5 ticket to the game. It was great because by the time the game ended we were totally sober to drive back to Richmond. That game was one of the few highlights of '09 because our bullpen was a disaster.I honestly think the Nats do a rain delay pretty well for the most part. It’s one of the few things they get right from a customer service standpoint.PS: If Rizzo pulls off Sizemore and Carmona, and not giving up to much on the farm I am all over that trade.

  18. P. Cole - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    A memorable rain delay moment (and there have been many) game on a Father's Day game against the O's. Torrential rain and lighting whipped into Nats park as I was watching the game in the lower level seats behind the out-of-town scoreboard. The water in the upper level drains toward center field where it comes pouring down to the lower level like Niagra Falls. Some genius decided to stand in said waterfall as the water poured on him. Well eventually all of the garbage from the upper level came tumbling down with the rushing water and he took a souvenir coup to the forehead, along with a soggy box of popcorn and other debris.

  19. P. Cole - Jan 26, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Also, I really do enjoy the fact that Nats Park plays other MLB games on the scoreboard during rain delays.

  20. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Hmmm. Guess I misremembered on that Randy Johnson series. Thought they had called the Wed game beforehand, but apparently they didn't. I must have made my own pre-game decision that night, knowing how it would eventually go down.

  21. LoveDaNats - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    I agree with Natsochist about opening day at the new park. I have never been to a colder baseball game. We were in ski coats and mittens. My biggest regret was we left early to avoid the crowd and had to listen to Zimm's walkoff in the car. Bummer.

  22. Jim Hoy - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    To echo VCUalum Kyle, what news on the Carmona/Sizemore thing? The comments on ESPN or CNNSI rumors page said something about Sizemore not being what he once was?

  23. EastBayNatsFan - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Not a Nats Park story. But my Dad and I got tickets to Opening Day at OPACY about 10 years ago, and the game was delayed during the middle innings for about 20 minutes because of snow flurries. The snow didn't accumulate, but it was snowing so hard that you couldn't see the other side of the stadium, much less the ball. Only time I've ever been to a game that was snow delayed.

  24. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    1) My son and I were at the April 2006 game against Atlanta when Soriano hit three homers and Zim made a spectacular diving catch on a blooper to short left field. Sitting through a two hour rain delay that night was worth the wait.2) I recall trying to go to a Senators game on a Sunday in either 1969 or 1970 when we got to the parking lot, only to be told by the attendant that the game had been postponed. My dad, who had predicted that the game would be called and only drove to the lot because of my ridiculous whining that we should try to go to the park anyway, ended up taking us to see "Bang the Drum Slowly", a very compelling movie that was basically the baseball version of Brian's Song. My dad's passed away and I never properly thanked him for being patient enough to drive us all the way down to RFK back on that rainy Sunday, but I think of him every time I am at a ballgame where rain is involved ( or more importantly, whenever my kids ask me to do something that logic says I shouldn't do but my heart says I should).

  25. SpashCity - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    re: Sizemore/CarmonaPhil Wood at MASN had a story yesterday about the Nats being "in talks" with with Indians about Sizemore and Carmona. He didn't specify whether the Nats were talking about getting both players, or just one or the other. Had an un-named scout as the source.However, Kilgore at WaPo says there is nothing to the rumor and has an un-named team source say the are not talks going on.I kind of believe Wood on this one. It seems more likely that a Nats team source would shoot down the rumors so that other teams don't get in on the action.What would the Nats have to give up? No idea. Cleveland doesn't need a catcher, and I'm sure the Nats don't really want to give up pitching. What else can Rizzo realistically offer?

  26. Pilchard - Jan 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Not trying to side track the weather thread, but ESPN just issued its MLB organizational rankings and the Nats were slotted at 19. With a few compliments for Rizzo:This represents a ton of progress since Mike Rizzo took over as GM. He inherited a farm system that couldn't begin to fill the major league team's needs. Ownership opened its wallets beyond the first pick in August, adding three more players in the team's Top 10.In the NL East, the Nats ranked behind the Braves (#3), the Phillies (#5), but ahead of the Mets (#26) and the Marlins (#29). So, I guess this represents some progress, but not as much as many have hoped.

  27. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    What does the trophy look like that they give out for winner of the ESPN organizational rankings? Do teams fly ESPN organizational rankings pennants at their ballparks? Basically, who the F cares about the ESPN organizational rankings?

  28. section 3, my sofa - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    About 1985 or so, Candlestick Park. Mid-summer, so of course the 7:05 start was in the mid-40s, after which it got cold. In those days the Giants gave buttons– the "Croix de Candlestick"–to anyone "hardy enough to stay through an extra-inning night game." Cubs in town, my folks in from Phoenix, and they're freezing, so of course the game goes 13 innings, and I wouldn't leave, because I wanted the Croix. Mom still says she was in AZ for two days before she got warm again.But that's not the story.St. Louis, first week of the last season at old Busch (2003?). I was there making a presentation at the Hay-Adams, right across the street, looking forward to catching a game. Thursday was a 4:30 start; gametime temp about 74 and clear. But did I go to that game? Nooooo. I stayed to prep, do my job, be diligent. I can go Friday night. By which time it dropped to 47 and raining. Not even a jacket. So I called Mom, and told her to put the game on."You know you have to stay, don't you?" she said."Yes," I said."you know why, don't you?""Yes.""You know it's going to go extra innings, then.""Goes without saying." "and you can't leave," she reminded."That would be dishonorable. The baseball gods would never forgive that." I acknowledged.Then I called home. My Currently Strawberry Blonde Cubs Fan Wife said, "You can't leave early!""Yes, I know. And it'll go extra innings.""Count on it. You have to take it; you have it coming.""Yes, I know."So of course the Pirates tied it at 3 in the top of the ninth. It only went 11, as I recall–a merciful recognition, maybe. I did buy two Cardinals sweatshirts.And there must have been upwards of 20,000 Cardinals fans who stayed.

  29. raymitten - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    My most memorable weather story was from 1979, going to Baltimore for the 1979 World Series. Driving around the Beltway in a snowstorm worse than what we experience this morning. It eventually cleared off and they played the game — but believe me, there have been no days at Nats Park ever as cold as that night. My favorite Nats Park story is one of the many 2009 rain delays — I believe we were playing the Cardinals. At one point the announcer came over the loud speaker and stated "A weather system is approaching — please don't panic under any circumstances." Once the threat of a 'panic' set in, I decided it was best to trek home and wait out the rain delay on MASN. Re: Indians rumor, I completely believe Phil Wood on that one. In my experience, his rumors are always real and often come true (he called the Hairston signing a good two weeks before it happened.)

  30. EastBayNatsFan - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Many years ago, I worked for a sports collecting magazine, and Phil Wood wrote a column on vintage baseball memorabilia for us. I've never met the guy or spoken with him — I was just one of the editors on the food chain who read his column when it came in. But the guy's stuff was always accurate and well-sourced, and he obviously knew everyone worth knowing in the game. All to say, just from personal experience I take anything that he writes seriously because I've never known him to not know what he was talking about.

  31. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    I have not been to many games so I do not have any in person memory of getting soaked while watching a game. But I remember last year's game against SDP with a three-hour delay. Nationals thoroughly defeated that team 13-1 and Clippard had 7 SO in 4 innings of relief work. Incredible game!

  32. Tcostant - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    1) What's your most memorable weather-related baseball story? My Nats story was already mentioned here, it was that first year at RFK vs. the Mets when the grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field and by the time they did, the field was unplayable. It was funny to witness live. Back when I was single, I use to go to two major league baseball stadiums every year (been to over 20!) two weather related delays stand out. I was at a White Sox game during the first few years at New Comiskey, it was around the sixth inning and the game was in a rain delay. They started playing the Bears pre-season game on the Jumbo-Tron that was being played in town at Soldier Field. All of a sudden, a giant lightning bolt and the lowest thunder you could ever hear, ring out. On the Jumbo-Tron; the ref at the Bears game waves his arms and calls the football game. Amazed, my buddy and I look at each other and say; we need to get out of here. The game is called as we are walking to the exit. As we (and everyone are heading down the ramp) there is a call below, go back up, go back up. The drain was clocked below, and it was like a small river at the bottom of the ramp. I don’t even remember how he got out of there.2) What, if anything, would you like to see the Nationals do differently when it comes to weather delays in the future? Simple – call the game sooner. If you think the game won’t start by 8:15pm (assuming a 7pm game) then call the game – BEFORE IT STARTS. Nothing is worse than going downtown and the game is delayed two hours and then postponed. Nothing.One other thing, I keep hearing a call for doubleheaders. I don’t want them. I remember as a kid going to the Banner Day doubleheaders at Shea Stadium and those are fine memories. But I don’t wish for them now. Back when double headers were scheduled, games were a little more than 2 hours on average; a double header would be 5 hours tops. Now game are 3 to 3 ½ hours (or longer), that is at least a 7 hour investment, to long to be at the ballpark. No thanks.

  33. K.D. - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Only have one personal rain-delay memory that is (slightly) related to the Nationals. September 6, 2006, sat through a three hour 8th inning rain-delay at Comerica Park (my AL Team) Detroit Tigers vs the Seattle Mariners, only to see them lose (about 10 minutes after they resumed play). The Nats connection, Dimitri Young was released after the game, story was he fell asleep during the delay. That didn't sit well with Leyland and crew. Have enjoyed all the stories, great idea for a little baseball conversation.

  34. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    "Simple – call the game sooner. If you think the game won’t start by 8:15pm (assuming a 7pm game) then call the game – BEFORE IT STARTS. Nothing is worse than going downtown and the game is delayed two hours and then postponed. Nothing.One other thing, I keep hearing a call for doubleheaders. I don’t want them."Make up your mind. If they call all those games early like you want them to, then the only way they'd be able to make them up is to have doubleheaders. You can't have both of those wishes.

  35. court, rfk428 - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Met a girl during the Saturday rain delay during the Cubs series in May of '05. Nats swept the series and I married the girl.Pretty damn good weekend.

  36. court, rfk428 - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    I was walking out of the stadium when I saw them begin to take the tarp off the field… glad I stayed.

  37. Tcostant - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Anon at 1:45pmI'm just saying Day/Night doubleheaders are okay with me, if an open date can't be found. I still rather have them made up on open dates , but I know that isn't always doable.

  38. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    court, rfk428 wins. See, that's why you never leave early. :-)

  39. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    In the meantime, it's climbed to 66 degrees and sunny but it is a little breezy for my tastes here in Winter Park, Fl.

  40. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Thanks for sharing so many great anecdotes, especially Court RFK428, who wins the prize for best weather-related story. We need more details! How did you guys start talking, and how did things progress from that first encounter?

  41. Mr. Donkey - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    The Randy Johnson game. A friend of mine had diamond club seats through work. We smuggled in a bottle of whiskey and several more friends than we had tickets. We huddled underneath umbrellas and used our ticket credits to get non stop soda to make whiskey and gingers. Not many folks in attendance during the first game and even less during the second. It rained much of the time but the whiskey, proximity to the field, seat service and umbrellas made it unforgettable. That and seeing randy johnson raise his cap in the rain to a standing ovation.

  42. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Great idea for a thread, btw. I can't top any of the other stories. My weather-related tales are standard: bundling up for chilly early season games, waiting out rain delays while visiting with friends, that type of thing. There was one rain delay at the P-Nats where there were to be fireworks after (can't remember whether it was July 4 or the weekly display). Anyway, they got in the game and the fireworks, but what with the low cloud ceiling they had to wait a while for the air to clear so that the kids could run the bases. Also, don't recall whether it was the same game, but the fireworks crew got over-enthusiastic and started them when a P-Nats pitcher was on the mound trying to get the last out. He was not pleased, but did manage to get it, after which the show went on.Another P-Nats memory is on the double-header front. Talked my husband into going to that one because they don't go a full nine in the minors. :-) They won the first and lost the second. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains…

  43. DC Tom - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Both of my best baseball weather game stories involve the Cubs. The first of which only indirectly involved weather.8/9/88, Wrigley Field. The first scheduled Wrigley Field Cubs night game was for 8/8/88 against the Phillies. I was a student then and had no money, so I bought tickets to the second Wrigley Field Night game, on 8/9/88, against the Mets. The weather rolled in that night, the 8/8 game was rained out in the third inning — and so weather allowed me to see the first official night game at Wrigley Field.May 13, 2005. First time the Cubs traveled to Washington to play the Nats at RFK. This was one of those games that they kept delaying, delaying and delaying the start due to a tremendous electric thunderstorm roll through. Sitting in the upper deck of RFK during a lightening storm was one of the least sane things I've ever done in my life. They started the game around 10 pm, I believe.

  44. NattyLite - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    2008 at nats park. the series with the cardinals that had a bunch of weather problems. tuesday nite. long long rain delay. we move from section 4-whatever to field level, right next to the ball girl (giggity). jesus flores at the bat. i say to the ball girl watch out, he comes this way, its all you. sure enough next ball comes flying down the line, she springs into action…but oh no…the ball is fair! we yell fair fair, she quickly makes a u turn and returns to her stool…embarrassing to be sure, but at least she didnt make sportscenter

  45. joemktg - Jan 26, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Re: the game on April 20, 2009 with 70 people left in the stands…Was that the game where there were so few people that you could hear the bullpen phone ring??

  46. Dave - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    My first Nats game in 2005 was a rain game. It might well have been the one mentioned by @upperdeck4. I was sitting way up in right field seats at RFK, having a ball watching the grounds crew wrestle with the tarp. Quite a scene. (I believe it was a game against the Mets.)Re: Mark's original post–we wait out those long rain delays so that we can knock the Phillies out of the playoffs. Never forget that. Might not matter to the Nats, might matter to the other team quite a lot.

  47. Jim Webster - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    It can't top RFK425 but I will never forget opening night March 30, 2008, the first game at Nationals Park. The box score says it was 49 degrees but by the bottom of the 9th I swear it was in the 30s. So after Atlanta tied it in the top of the 9th, my wife and I headed to the car rather than brave the cold into extra innings. Suffice it to say that the fireworks explosion as we got to the parking lot on 1st St gave us an everlasting memory of missing Zim's walkoff.

  48. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    The game in 2005 when they couldn't get the tarp on was pretty amusing. Fans jumped on the field to help but their aid was not accepted. I think they may have used a vendor or two to complete the task. I don't remember if that was the same game in which the batter hit what appeared to be an easy grounder to Guzman who blew the play. I found out afterwards that when he put his hand down to field the ball he came up with a hand full of mud. There was standing water all over the field. Hazardous playing conditions.

  49. nicefellow31 - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    My story doesn't take place in D.C. but in Colorado. It was August of 2008 and the Nats were playing a 4 game series against the Rockies. The 4th game of the series was scheduled for a Thursday afternoon. I was working down at Cheyenne Mountain Air Station (Colorado Springs, CO) as I was completing my Air Force Career. The type of work I was doing consisted of shift work and I had that day off, so I decided to go to the game. The Wednesday night game was a rainout and I was hoping good weather would continue. I drove up to Denver early so that I could watch batting practice. I was decked out in Nationals gear (probably the only guy in Colorado) and the Nats pitchers who were in the outfield getting loose and shagging fly balls (I can't remember who it was but one of the pitchers actually got injured during this) noticed me. They were throwing balls in my direction but youngsters were catching most of those. I had thought about bringing my glove but decided I was too old for that. I was soon cursing that decision because one of the Nats hit a fly that one hopped over the fence and headed in my direction. I stretched and the ball grazed my finger tips and went right by me to be picked up by one of the kids at the game. Anyway, the Nats won the 1st game 6-3. I had not heard any news on how they were going to handle the second game. Then the PA announcer said, "the 2nd game will start in approximately 45 minutes." I got to see two games for the price of one! Incredibly, the Nats won the 2nd game by the same 6-3 score. Lastings Milledge, 5-9, with 5 RBIs, and 2 HRs one of which landed in the concession stand in LF. I was convinced we had the next superstar after watching him play that day. LOL

  50. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Mark, congrats on the new gig—but thank you for continuing Nats Insider. Honestly, I'll come to this blog before I'll go to Comcast's site (though knowing you are writing there will help).That said, need some local insight on the rumors on SI.com about the Indians talking to the Nats about Sizemore… What are you hearing?

  51. Patrick Dennis - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    It's a bit late, but a weather related story. I started a business in 1999 with a buddy. Every year, on the anniversary of the launch of the company we did something fun to celebrate another year. One year I decided to surprise my business partner by buying two cheap tickets to Chicago and tix to a Cubs day game (the return flight was the same day). We fly out, land in Chicago in the morning and it is POURING down rain. We find an usher and say we are in from out of town, our first visit to Wrigley, etc, is there any way she can get us in better seats (if they even play)? She says "no, our season ticket holders watch on TV if they don't come to the games and get mad if we put people in their seats, but here comes the head usher." The head usher directs us to a little window, in the bowels of the stadium, where (for $10 per ticket) we can upgrade our tickets to tickets that were unused by players. We got tickets 7 rows from the field, about half way between home and first base. Walking back to our seats, the rain stops in time for the first pitch, and (randomly, almost bizarrely) we run into the head usher AGAIN, and he says "It turns out Dusty Baker (was managing the Cubs then) is not using his tickets after all, and gave them to a clubhouse kid who just gave them to me—do you still want to move seats?" We said "where are his seats?" They were actually BEHIND where we had already upgraded to, so we said no, but thank you. We watched the game, all 9 innings, and on the way back to our rental car it started pouring again—so hard that our flights were delayed that evening for three hours…. The only window of non rain in Chicago that day was from 30 minutes before the first pitch until 10 minutes after the final out…

  52. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Anonymous said…Mark, congrats on the new gig—but thank you for continuing Nats Insider. Honestly, I'll come to this blog before I'll go to Comcast's site (though knowing you are writing there will help).That said, need some local insight on the rumors on SI.com about the Indians talking to the Nats about Sizemore… What are you hearing?I've heard nothing to suggest anything is imminent between the Nats and Indians. There's only been one actual report of this rumor so far: MASN's Phil Wood citing a scout who said he's heard some "conversations" have taken place between the teams about Fausto Carmona and Grady Sizemore. Some national websites have re-posted the report but haven't added anything of their own to advance the story.My take: GMs talk to other GMs every day about potential trade targets. The vast majority of these conversations never advance past the initial stage, and most never get leaked out to the media.Is there a chance this one could advance to a more serious stage? Possibly. But the odds suggest this was nothing more than a routine conversation about a possible trade target that never advanced past stage one.

  53. Another_Sam - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    I was at the Randy Johnson game too. In that case the rainout worked in my favor. I was out of town on business the previous day. Ha!My biggest complaint about rain delays is with the scoreboard: during rain delays they take down the out of town scoreboard and put up dancing curly W's! Unbelievable!This weather has me counting the days until pitchers and catchers report. [This year will be about my 20th trip to spring training in the last 30 years.]

  54. Twinbrook - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    About the Randy Johnson Game…"and they called the game well before game time and rescheduled" No they did not call it until almost midnight. I was there with my wife and two sons, and we sat the whole thing out. It was very frustrating that it took so long for them to call the game. I did pull the boys out of school early the next day for the double header.

  55. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    I was at the Randy Johnson game too. We waited until 11 PM and they called it. We desperately wanted to see if he got to the 300 win milestone and we could not make the game the next night.The rain was crazy.Better story. I was at the first "home" Strasburg game with the Harrisburg Senators. It was a 2.5 hour rain delay with 2 false starts. They finally get the tarp off and there are a bunch of little kids doing a "first pitch" ceremony before they sing the National Anthem. Strasburg is about to take the mound to take him warm up pitches and lighting strikes and the lights go out at the stadium. Pitch dark. If you haven't been to Harrisburg, it is worth the trip. The stadium is newly renovated and sits on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna River. When I say pitch dark, I mean really dark! The whole island was dark!It took the generator about 30 seconds to recycle and the light start to come on. They got in 2-3 innings before the heavens opened up, but it was a lot of fun. Great electricity. No one seemed to leave even after a long delay.

  56. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Opening Day 2003, Camden Yards, Indians @ Orioles – SNOW Delay; couldn't see across the infield, yet the umpires allowed play to resume, and put the Indians ahead. O's came back to win it.Opening Day, 2004: game moved to Sunday Night for ESPN. Red Sox @ Orioles; Pedro Martinez vs. Sidney Ponson. A northern clipper blew through; wind gusts exceeding 40 mph; blew so hard, the pant uniforms for both pitchers would flap in their windups. Watched four innings in the souvenir store, before leaving. I've been to post season football in Buffalo that were warmer than that Opening Night.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    WTF? I come from Syracuse, home of the Nats AAA franchise the Syracuse Chiefs. You want to talk about weather? ~smiles~

  58. court, rfk 428 - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:37 AM

    Kinda nosey, huh Mark? You sure your name's not Zuckerberg?Just joshing, homie. She was a friend of a friend. I'd like to say that I've got mad game, but the beer sprints thru the driving rain were a hell of an icebreaker. Whatever it was, she said yes to a nightcap and yada, yada, yada, I now watch GH (and love it!).That's more than I told my mom… this snow must be getting to me.And by 'snow', I mean 'Maker's Mark 46'.

  59. Another_Sam - Jan 27, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    rfk 248's story is a rain delay story like we all fantasized in undergraduate school, come true. I agree with MZ. Great story, man.

  60. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    My memory is not really one game but rather a summer. My first summer in the District was summer 2009 and I went about 15 Nats games. I would guess that it rained or threatened rain for all but three or four games. If that wasn't bad enough it wasn't till the end of the season that I actually saw the Nats win! Not a great summer for baseball – but it was the summer I fell in love with the Nats! Go figure!

  61. Sectioin 215, Row A - Jan 27, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Natsochist!The best screen name EVER!

  62. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I've always been partial to "Positively Half Street," but Natsochist is right up there.But what is GH? Should I be watching this?

  63. natsfan1a - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    I've always that thought Sec 3, My Sofa was inspired, fwiw.I was wondering about "GH," too. My first guess was General Hospital, but that seemed too old school. My second guess was Ghost Hunters. However, I don't watch either, so what do I know? ;-)

  64. court, rfk428 - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Sec 3, GH = General Hospital. And yes, absolutely you should!

  65. Mike Edgar - Jan 28, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    I have two weather-related memories. One is the infamous tarp game against the Mets in April 2005. The only thing that I can add to what others have written about that night is the comical chase that took place by stadium security of one of the fans who ran out on the field to help the grounds crew with the tarp. They chased him on the field, back into the stands, where he weaved and snaked his way through several sections before they finally caught him. It was priceless entertainment!My other memory was an early April 2007 game at RFK. It was one of those occasionally frigid April nights. I had two tickets to the game but could not find another adult who wanted to watch a baseball game in hockey weather. I got my then 12-year-old niece to attend the game with me. I was afraid that the cold temps would get her to beg me to leave fairly early in the game. However, she came all bundled up, including a blanket, and seemed as snug as a bug in her seat. By the time it got to the 4th inning, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had to be her to leave the game. I couldn't take the cold any more! It is one of my more shameful baseball-related memories! LOL!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 48 --
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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