Sunday, June 15, 2008

Floods force Iowa to play in empty park

In 2002 Charleston hosted Nobody Night - a bizarre promotion that saw the Riverdogs play in an empty ballpark in order to set the record for the least attended baseball game.

Iowa hosted a similar game on Saturday, not by choice. Flooding has forced the evacuation of much of the city of Des Moines. The parking lots surrounding Principal Park were under water.

The Cubs postponed Friday’s game but figured they needed play Nashville on Sunday to ensure the integrity of the 144-game schedule. The city granted permission, provided Iowa didn’t allow fans in the ballpark (see photos, courtesy Iowa Cubs).

A couple of scouts and a few Cubs’ staffers were the only people in attendance to see the Cubs defeat the Sounds 5-4.

The Dugout understands the Pacific Coast League’s desire to play every game on the schedule and admires the players’ eagerness to get at least one game in. After all, they were probably tired of sitting in their hotel rooms watching the water rise.

Boredom and a paper schedule, however, are not reasons to play a game in an area that city officials deemed treacherous. Assume the game doesn’t get made up. What’s the worst that happens?

Sure, weather has made mockery of the PCL’s schedule. Many Midwest teams inside and outside the PCL are struggling to play all their games - earlier this season a similar flooding problem forced Quad Cities to move three of its home games.

The spread-out nature of the PCL makes scheduling make-up games more difficult and costly. In this case that’s exactly what should have been done. Cancel the game for now. If that one game becomes so crucial, there will be time to make it up before the post-season. Should it be needed, the rescheduled game will draw far more fan interest than Saturday’s game would have on a dry day.

The only sane reason to intentionally play a game without fans blossomed from a promotion cultivated in Charleston’s wonderfully bizarre front office – and even that decision was questionable.

FSL All-Star recap: The West Division’s all-stars defeated the East in front of 3,500 fans in Saturday's Florida State League All-Star Game. Brevard County put together a nice night. While most people were watching the post-game fireworks, The Dugout snuck out early to peek through the numerous telescopes that were set up in the parking lot (bottom photo). Pretty cool.

1 comment:

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