Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Deluge: A Rainout in Potomac

Inflated Uncle Sam appeals to the heavens to prevent rain.
 Sooner or later the rain was bound to fall and cause the postponement of one of my games.  Narrowly, I had escaped cancellation in several cities during the previous weeks.  A torrential storm in Charleston had swamped the field in April and threatened cancellation of the game.  A steady, soft rain for a couple of innings in Lexington hadn’t interrupted play.  The thunderstorms in Winston-Salem and Durham delayed the start of their games.  And the night before Potomac’s deluge, rain had complicated matters in Richmond.  Yet each of those games proceeded.

Even with skies beginning to clear, the infield remained covered.

Left-field could have been a splashing pool attraction for children.

The game would have pitted two last-place teams in the Carolina League.  Potomac sat at the bottom of the Northern Division with a 28-39 record, and Salem had slumped to the bottom of the Southern Division with a 30 wins and 37 losses.  The good news about the evening was that neither team would sink farther, that is, unless they waded in the puddles on the field.

As recently as mid-afternoon in northern Virginia, no rain-storms had appeared on radar, but at 6:03 an intense, an isolated storm erupted. Lightening cracked and thunder rolled.  A strong cell had developed southwest of the ballpark around 5 o’clock and seemed to have targeted the municipal recreational ballpark in Woodbridge for a downpour. Because the field doesn’t drain well, a short shower can cause a game to be cancelled.  A few days later when I sang in Frederick, Maryland, I learned from one of the staffers that the field conditions in Woodbridge are so challenging that Potomac sometimes must play its home games in Frederick.
The field remained covered in hopes of the storm being merely a passing shower, but a deluge ensued for 45 minutes.  An odd thing:  At 6:30 I learned of the postponement of the game and phoned Bonnie, who was en route to the ballpark with one of her friends.  Although they were only four miles away, they were shocked since it wasn’t raining on their car.  So too was Ann Linder, a friend from Chicago.  For months, she had planned to synchronize her visit with family in the Washington area with the time that Bonnie and I would be there.  Having paid the parking fee minutes before receiving my phone call, she and her entourage of cousins and nephews could hardly believe that the game had been cancelled since the skies had begun to clear.

Meredith and Shelby display the line-ups.
  Despite Potomac's losing record, the list of its recent alumni is impressive, featuring National League MVP first basemen Albert Pujols of St. Louis and Joey Votto of Cincinnati.  I had wanted to see who would now be playing first for the team--perhaps the NL MVP for 2020.  Although I didn't get to see the game, I did get the anticipated line-ups presented by Meredith and Shelby, two of the Nationals' staffers.
Literally deflated by the rainout, Uncle Sam appeared to drown in disappointment.

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