The Washington Nationals have one of the best records in baseball, and on Thursday night, they proved that they also have one of the league’s most cautious grounds crews.
Thanks to rain in the forecast, workers rolled the tarp out over the Nationals Park infield at around 7 p.m., just prior to the scheduled start time. Two hours later, the number of pitches thrown still equaled the number of raindrops that had fallen: zero.
That’s right: the Nationals forced those in attendance to wait through a marathon rain delay, but the only rain that came was a light sprinkle around 9:30. The game didn’t start until around 10 p.m.
Baseball players play up to 162 games per year, but this was still a new experience for those in last night’s contest, including Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte.
Inciarte didn’t seem too broken up about the delay. From the tweets, he seems more bemused than anything else.
Media members, on the other hand, were decidedly unhappy, especially the local beat writers who work on tight deadlines. Some of them took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
And, of course, there were the fan reactions.
The Nationals attempted to rectify their mistake, giving away free Skittles, hot dogs, ice cream, and drinks at various points throughout the game and thanking fans for their patience. The game ended around 1:30 a.m. Washington ended up losing 5-2 but still sits 8.5 games ahead of Atlanta in the National League East.
Do a slip-and-slide game with the boys on the tarp!
— José (41-43) (@BravesScorer) July 7, 2017
The part of me that swears a lot and the part that gives the benefit of the doubt are trying to push each other off a ledge right now.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 7, 2017
I’m not saying this rainless delay is dragging, but when it started the Nationals’ bullpen ERA was sill under 5.00.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 7, 2017