Giants lose rain-shortened game due to Cubs grounds crew’s ineptitude (vids/pics)
A far from competent effort by the Wrigley Field grounds crew covering up the field during a rainstorm at least partially precipitated — pun intended — a game between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants being deemed official after only four-and-a-half innings played.
With the Cubs up 2-0 in the bottom of fifth inning — the minimum length of a regulation game — the book was closed on the game after a four-hour, 34-minute delay, leaving the pennant-chasing Giants with a loss and reportedly angry at the shoddy effort by the grounds crew.
Cynical Cubs fans chanted “Pull, pull, pull” as the crew stumbled and bumbled its way through its job.
Given the gravity of the loss — it left the Giants 4 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and in a tie with the Atlanta Braves for the final wild card spot — it’s hardly surprising that the team is perturbed over the inept show put on by the Wrigley grounds crew as it struggled mightily to cover the infield.
By the time the comedy of errors was completed, the exposed dirt, especially on the left side of the infield and around home plate, was completely saturated with sizable puddles dotting the playing surface.
Matters were made worse when the grounds crew removed the tarp and water spilled all over the infield. Armed with rakes and applying bag after bag after bag of Diamond Dry, the crew could not get the infield into anything remotely related to a playable condition.
Some looks from the Wrigley seats at the ground crew doing their worst (via Deadspin):
Play the shift at your own risk. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/opaSiRELCz
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 20, 2014
The Cubs are bad at everything. Twenty minute struggle to get tarp on field. Even grounds crew are lovable losers. pic.twitter.com/AhKYCt9ocp — Ryan Simpson (@rwsimps) August 20, 2014
Tarp 1 Grounds crew 0. #tarpshallnotbemoved #Wrigley #Cubs pic.twitter.com/xrTVWbEa7X
— Matthew B DeLeon (@MatthewBDeLeon) August 20, 2014
Only the Cubs grounds crew wouldn’t know how to put a tarp on the field. The crew is like the franchise, hilarious. pic.twitter.com/qcifxSAAvL — Brenden R (@BTRowe) August 20, 2014
@cubs Best grounds crew on the Northside? Probably not. pic.twitter.com/HVwEmlKNEb
— Jason Weigand (@JasonWeigand) August 20, 2014
Play the shift at your own risk. #Cubs pic.twitter.com/opaSiRELCz — Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 20, 2014
The Giants reportedly intend to file a protest with the Commissioner’s office, something manager Bruce Bochy addressed once the game was called after the lengthy delay.
“The field, it got in bad shape there,” he said, according to a sfgate.com report. “It wasn’t quite playable, and like I said, it was a 15-minute rain there and they couldn’t get the tarp on in time. I just think with this day and time, something should have been done a little bit more.”
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow could not contain his extreme annoyance as he witnessed the carnage (via Bay Area Sports Guy by way of Big League Stew):
“Well, it looks to me like they’re just kind of taking their sweet time, knowing that they do have a 2-0 lead and it’s a complete game right now,” Krukow said in the delay’s early stages, as the crew moved at a snail’s pace.
“They’re usually pretty good. I think this was staged. I think if the Giants had a 2-0 lead, they’d have had it on right now. They’d be sitting back in their little room and having a cup of coffee,” said Krukow.
“This is absolutely brutal. You would think by now in August these guys would’ve done this … They know what they’re doing. And this is exactly what they’re doing.
“You can hear the Giants fans at this ballpark, they’re booing. This is unbelievable. And you cannot tell me this is not premeditated. This is absurd.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer tried in vain to defend the mess, saying every effort was made to get the field back in playing shape.
“Obviously, I think the biggest takeaway over the last four hours has been respect for the game,” Hoyer said according to MLB.com. “These guys [the Giants] are in a pennant race. No one wants to win a 2-0 game. They hit five times, we hit four. It doesn’t seem like a real game in a pennant race. And obviously there were issues with the tarp coming out and how that went. That contributed to it, and that’s the organization’s responsibility. We tried to wait as long as we possibly could because the Giants were in a pennant race and because we felt an obligation to do that.”
Umpire crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt said every effort was made to play the game in its entirety, especially given the gravity of the outcome relating to the Giants’ postseason hopes.
“It’s a very important game with playoff implications,” Wendelstedt said.
Once the game became official, Wendelstedt suggested not much could be done.
“I think the problem that all the parties faced was, by the baseball rulebook, there was nothing to put our hat on to suspend the game,” he said. “The game became regulation with the home team winning in the top of the fifth inning. That’s a complete game, a regulation complete game, and there was really no way around it.”
Finally, the Wrigley Field grounds crew’s epic fail set to “Yakety Sax”?
The Wrigley Field grounds crew’s epic fail set to “Yakety Sax.” Yeah.
All kidding aside, you kind of have to feel bad for the crew. No one talks about it when they do their jobs well. But when they don’t … yeesh.