No one in the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse saw firsthand what their ballpark’s grounds crew went through early Wednesday evening in a classic duel with Mother Nature.
The wind gusted, the skies opened, and the infield became soaked while the entire crew as well as security guards attempted to place the tarp over the field. They eventually won that battle, though some will be bruised and achy this morning, but they couldn’t undo the damage that had been done.
The opener of a two-game series between the Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks was postponed because of unplayable field conditions that resulted from a flash thunderstorm during batting practice.
The clubs will play Thursday’s game as scheduled at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday’s game is likely to be made up Aug. 15, a mutual off day for the two teams.
“Third base and the third-base line are just entirely too soft, and out of the box down the first-base line is soft, too,” said manager Ron Washington, who surveyed the field with team CEO Nolan Ryan and Arizona manager Kirk Gibson. “You can’t do anything about Mother Nature.”
The storm passed over Rangers Ballpark around 5:45 p.m. The grounds crew was taking the equipment used for batting practice off the field when rain started to fall.
At one point, wind created a bubble underneath the tarp that was some 20 feet off the ground. Some people attempting to pin down the tarp were dragged across the infield or lifted off their feet while the winds refused to relent.
Some 25 trees outside the stadium were damaged.
“Somebody said it was 80 mph,” Washington said. “That’s a hurricane.”
The grounds crew worked on the field once the rain cleared out, but its efforts after about an hour were futile.
“It’s just impossible right now,” Washington said. “We just can’t hurt anyone. No one wants to lose an off day, and no one wants to play a doubleheader. They did a good job to try to get it in.”