The Chicago Cubs defeated the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night in a 4.5-inning rain-shortened contest. While the Cubs led the way for most of what was ruled an official game, the team was largely aided by Mother Nature and the failure of the grounds crew at Wrigley Field.
After the Giants were retired in the top of the fifth inning, trailing the Cubs 2-0, the umpires called a rain delay. The heavy downpour was already wreaking havoc on the field, but the grounds crew’s inability to successfully apply the tarp made for impossible playing conditions.
The rain delay lasted four hours and 34 minutes, though the storm didn’t last nearly as long. The field became extremely wet, with puddles present along the basepaths. The infield was partially exposed for more than 10 minutes after the grounds crew got to work, forcing the game to eventually be called at 1:16 a.m. Later attempts to dry the field were ultimately unsuccessful.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was upset after the contest, as his team lost after only half of the game was played. The team might protest the contest, though it’s not likely that they’d get another chance to win the game.
"I hope they listen and watch what happened there," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was visibly upset. "In this day and time, it shouldn't happen. It can't happen with the importance of these games. I'm going to leave it at that."
Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow was less diplomatic during a broadcast on KNBR-AM on Wednesday morning.
“I’ve never been so pissed off in my entire life, at a ballgame. Watching this unfold, and seeing, in the matter of just a few minutes. And we’re talking about a rainstorm that hit, that was less than 20 minutes long. And watching that grounds crew completely pee all over themselves.
“My first impression was, they’re doing this in purpose. They could not possibly be this bad. They had to be doing this on purpose. I had to back off that later on in the night, but I was so frustrated. It was the most incredible thing to watch. I guess if you’re watching and you didn’t have an allegiance to the Giants, you’d probably draw some humor out of watching it because it was so bizarre.”
Krukow later recanted his response.
“I have to back up and retract a statement," said the former Giants starting pitcher. "I said that this might be a premeditated situation by this ground crew, and that was too harsh. I was wrong to insinuate that, and these guys are good. They just botched the job. But it’s a very emotional time of year. And the Giants, if this game were to be ruled a complete game, I would think that Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean, who’s here, would lose their minds. Because this can’t happen.”
The loss was a big one for San Francisco, as they remain in contention for a playoff berth in the National League. The Giants now trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 4.5 games in the NL West. They are tied with the Atlanta Braves for the second and final wild card spot.
Chicago had very little at stake in Tuesday’s game. They sit in last place in the NL Central at 15 games under .500.
Below is video of the Cubs’ grounds crew’s attempt to put the tarp on the field.