Monday, May 14, 2007

St. Lucie draws much needed rainout

Any fan who's watched Bull Durham knows that sometimes a rainout is a good thing. The St. Lucie Mets experienced one of those "good" rainouts Monday night.

In the movie Crash Davis, weary from a long stretch of road games in which the Durham Bulls were playing poorly, broke into the ballpark and turned on the sprinkler system, thereby flooding the field and ensuring a rainout.

The rainout in St. Lucie wasn't of the man-made variety, but it was just as welcome. Most of the Florida State League teams have been affected by the drought that’s struck the Sunshine State. Several teams were forced to cancel their season-opening fireworks displays because the grounds around the ballpark were a little too susceptible to fire.

A month and a half into the season conditions have only worsened, especially on Florida's west coast. Clearwater and Tampa both had to postpone games last week because out-of-control forest fires blanketed the ballpark in smoke. Other teams have played in what’s seemed like a week-long perpetual haze.

The peninsula finally started receiving some showers in the last two days – one of which apparently hit St. Lucie tonight. Tradition Field is in a fairly remote area of Port St. Lucie and the surrounding brush is susceptible to forest fires. Every little bit of rain helps squelch the potential flames.

It also may help avoid a major financial loss on the biggest weekend of the season.

Several ballpark general managers are already starting to worry about their July 4 fireworks. Almost every home team in the FSL offers an Independence Day fireworks show. Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter draws almost as many fans for their July 3 and 4 air explosions as they do for the rest of July combined.

The Dugout knows Florida will eventually return to its regular pattern of an afternoon deluge before every first pitch. Those days won't come soon enough for most FSL general managers.

No comments: