Unplayable field forces Phillies and Nats to wait on series opener

Phillies' grounds crew works on field at Citizens Bank Park
The Phillies' grounds crew is often thought of as one of the best in baseball, mainly because of their diligence in maintaining the playing surface at Citizens Bank Park. That opinion took a bit of a hit though on Monday, as a wet and muddy infield caused the postponement of the Phils and Nationals series opener.

For more than five hours members of the grounds crew used rakes, drying agents, and even blowtorches to dry an uncoagulated mess of infield dirt best described as a mix of pudding and quicksand.

Ultimately, Major League Baseball elected to postpone the game because of unsafe conditions. The two clubs will play a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The grounds crew found themselves in this awkward situation because the tarp that commonly protects the infield from rain wasn't put out on Friday. The forecast called only for about a quarter inch of rain, but in actuality, about five times as much fell on the unprotected surface. Steady rain again on Saturday and Sunday didn't allow the crew the chance to sufficiently dry the field.

According to Retrosheet, Monday's postponement was the first of its type in more than 30 years. The last game sacked because of an unplayable field was in Milwaukee on Sept. 21, 1987.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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