The level of ineptitude at the Washington Nationals franchise astounds both lifelong and casual fans. I’m not just talking about the players and their approximately 45 errors in one inning on Tuesday night. I’m not just talking about hitting the lead-off batter with the third pitch of the game. No, it gets even worse. On top of having a totally horrifically terrible team, the Nats also have possibly the worst grounds crew in baseball. I had the opportunity to see this first hand on Tuesday night.
I had settled in to my seats in right field and prepared to eat the wonderful hotdog and chili cheese fries sitting in front of me when I noticed the biggest, darkest cloud I had ever seen rolling in. The umps decided to start the game anyway but soon the rain came in and I watched the first three innings from underneath an umbrella. Finally, the umps realized that the puddles on the field were impeding play and the lightning was getting dangerously close so they called a rain delay. I sat tight, hoping the rain would pass but it eventually got to be too much:
So, I migrated to a new perch underneath an overhang and watched as the comedy of errors unfolded.
First, it took way too long to get the tarp down. Then, they didn’t lay it out correctly. But the real fun was when they tried to get it back up after the delay finished. As the Cardinals’ starter, Kyle Lohse, said, “I don’t want to get down on the grounds crew but maybe they could tighten up a little bit next time.” Yeah, it was that bad. Somehow the process involved flipping the tarp, flipping it in another direction, flipping it once again and then folding it up. At one point the tarp was upside down in right field and it appeared that a hippie colony might be using it as a tent.
However, the crew finally got it together and made it off the field as the game started back up….which lasted about another inning until it started raining again. And the grounds crew came back out. At that point, it just wasn’t worth it anymore so I headed home.
The coda to this story is that a friend of mine was on the DC Metro a couple days later and was standing near a person who works on the grounds crew. This was particularly funny because the game was already in progress and they were just then heading in. But anyway, this person was explaining that no one ever shows up on time, if they even show up at all. They then went on to explain how they were coming in the next day to sell some homemade food to other members of the crew but they weren’t actually going to be working. I have a feeling I know what that food is. Brownies anyone?