Why let rain get in the way of a good time?
Rain-soaked cancellations of Spring Training games usually signal the end of the baseball day for the average fan, but for most ballplayers, there is still work to be done.
Half the Astros squad boarded the buses Thursday morning for Viera, where three hours later the game would ultimately be cancelled due to torrential downpours. Back at the home complex, however, the other half of the team did its best to get its work in, including several pitchers who were scheduled to throw bullpen sessions.
I looked out of the window of the Astros offices around 10 a.m. expecting to see nothing but empty fields, but instead, here’s what I found:
That’s pitching coach Brad Arnsberg and reliever Chris Sampson, seemingly ignoring the fact that it was raining hard enough that everyone else exited the fields and ran for cover.
Rain might not seem like that big of a deal during Spring Training, and that’s partly true. Once the fields are soaked to the point of flooding and the conditions become dangerous, there is absolutely no reason — other than financial ones — why teams should try to get the games in long after the fields are deemed unplayable.
That doesn’t mean the players just get to go home, however. For all pitchers, staying on schedule is essential. Roy Oswalt, the scheduled starter for the doomed game in Viera, instead returned home on the team bus and threw to Minor Leaguers on one of the backfields. He threw 60 pitches over the equivalant of three innings.
“That was the best we could do today,” Oswalt said. “The last inning was good. The first two, so-so. The last inning, I figured out what I was doing.”
Jeff Fulchino and Tim Byrdak each threw an inning as well. The rest of the work had to be done in the cages after the rain started again.
Did you know there was a baseball game involving Craig Biggio played at Minute Maid Park on Thursday?
Biggio’s St. Thomas High School baseball team, for whom he’s the head coach, played Galveston O’Connell.
Many thanks to Astros authentication manager Mike Acosta, who sent along these images. Mike surmised this was probably the first time since Biggio’s retirement that he was back on the field at Minute Maid Park, in uniform, for a baseball game.
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