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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Rainout that Wasn't

I don't get out to the K very often. I'm a pretty big Royals fan, I listen to them on the radio a lot but they've generally priced me out of the live experience. But my boss gave me his tickets and parking pass for Friday's game. Short notice, I had eleven hours to find three people to take and get there for first pitch. I suspect this would have been easier if we were ten games above 500 and in the lead of our division. I tried a few direct asks, then put up a Facebook feeler, but in the end I ended up just taking my daughter Mo, gave the other two tickets to people waiting to buy seats at the box office.

And they're good seats, too. Way, way better than I'd probably buy for myself given that I tend to think even the upstairs is too pricey. These were lower level, about 25 rows back from the home dugout. Not quite where Tech9 sits but you can really see and hear what's going on from there. I should have brought my Nikon with the 105mm prime—I didn't think they'd allow it in but I learned that they're (unlike the Chiefs or most other venues) fine with people bringing pro gear in. My 105mm isn't really the glass to shoot baseball, but I could have walked down to where I could get a few good shots off from where we were sitting.

So anyway, the Boys in Blue were doing great through the first four innings, a commanding lead. We feasted off Jose Berrios, a very promising young pitcher with a 9+ ERA. When he gets all his chest hairs grown in, I suspect we'll really hate coming to the plate against this guy, but Friday night he was incredibly hittable. And Edinsoln Volquez, on the bump for the Royals, well, he was looking really solid until he got wet.

I used to work with a guy who ate the same thing for lunch every day of the year except his birthday when he went to the Chinese buffet. He explained that this made the Chinese buffet seem like an incredible treat. That's kinda where I am with pro sports, I hardly ever go but then when I do it's a big deal. So I wasn't going to let a few sprinkles or even a downpour curtail our night at the ball park. It rained quite a bit but there was no word of the game being rescheduled. And we waited. I looked up the rules for this on my phone to kill time, and learned that the rules are very nebulous on the subject but that, generally, the head umpire waits at least thirty minutes before making the call. And that there's really no upper limit on how long they can postpone. If we'd had five complete innings, it could have been called a complete game except that when Volquez started to get wet he suddenly earned three runs and tied the sucker up at 4-all with only one out in the Fifth.

Besides not wanting to miss out on the big win when the game resumed, this was the last night of the year where they end with fireworks. And I like fireworks just fine and Mo really likes them. Eventually, though, fatigue set in. After two hours or rain delay, I looked at my phone and the city was still a big green blob on radar and the update on Weather Underground's app said 'thunderstorms ending at 2:15 a.m.

So I figured it was inevitable that they'd call it a rainout and reschedule the last three innings for some other day, and I'd come back and my tickets and parking pass would be good then—I checked and this is how it works. I could even bring my Nikon for the rescheduled half game. So we packed it in, and listened to the rain delay filler on 610 AM all the way home and went to bed. And I got up at 3:00 a.m. having to pee and glanced at my phone and the game had basically just ended. Remember I said it had tied up before the rain? Eleven innings, so after the rain delay almost a full game of baseball and the rain delay was over three hours. Then they had another fifteen minute delay in the Sixth when the stadium lights assumed we'd all be gone by this hour. From first pitch to the walk-off RBI by Hosmer was seven hours. I've stayed to the end of a Chiefs game in single digit temperatures down by a big margin, but seven hours even in nice weather, at the end of a work week, that's ultra endurance spectating. I'm bummed we missed the win, and the fireworks if they bothered with them at 2:15 a.m. For what I'm guessing was about 800 glassy eyed remaining fans.

Actually now that I know I can bring my camera in, I might have to buy a ticket for a game later on this year and make a photography project out of it. Probably one of those upstairs tickets and sneak downstairs to shoot until I get told to go back to where the proletariat sits.

Especially since we seem to have gotten hot. We swept this series with the Twinkies and the road trip to Detroit before it. We're still a low percentage chance to play baseball in October, but it's possible. Hell, if we could keep winning nine out of ten games we'd probably win the division (I'm not waiting under water, that would be truly the stuff of legends).

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