Blunder by Phillies grounds crew leads to postponement despite efforts by Bryce Harper, flamethrowers

Yahoo Sports
The <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/phi" data-ylk="slk:Philadelphia Phillies">Philadelphia Phillies</a> grounds crew failed to tarp the field over the weekend when massive storms hit the area. On Monday night, the field was simply too wet to play. (Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Phillies grounds crew failed to tarp the field over the weekend when massive storms hit the area. On Monday night, the field was simply too wet to play. (Getty Images)

A massive storm front went through Philadelphia — or, more accurately, the entire state of Pennsylvania and the northeast — over the weekend, affecting numerous sporting events across the region.

Philadelphia had more than 1.8 inches of rainfall throughout the day on Sunday alone, which is an insane amount of water. It even forced the BMW Championship — the PGA Tour’s penultimate stop in the FedExCup Playoffs that was held just outside of the city — to postpone into a Monday finish.

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The Philadelphia Phillies, though, apparently weren’t prepared for the rain.

The Phillies were on a three-game road trip over the weekend — one in which they got swept by the New York Mets. The grounds crew in Philadelphia, however, didn’t put the tarp over the infield on Friday before the storms started. They didn’t think it was going to rain very much.

Now they’re paying the price for it. Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals was postponed because — even though it wasn’t raining at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night — the field was simply too wet from the weekend.


“The field wasn’t tarped Friday night because we were supposed to get a very small amount of rain. If you tarp the field 24 hours a day, it will turn brown and it will die, so it’s an on-off situation,” Howard Smith, a Phillies senior official, told the Washington Post. “We didn’t tarp it Friday night. In retrospect, had I known it was going to be this much rain, we would have tarped it. We didn’t, damage was done, and now we’re just playing catch-up.”

Now, the team did make every effort to prepare the field on Monday.

Many players and staff members from both organizations took to the field to help get it ready, raking dirt and spreading drying agents. Even Nationals star Bryce Harper picked up a rake at one point to help out.


The Phillies — likely as a last-ditch, out-of-the-box effort — even brought out a pair of flamethrowers to try to dry the field out faster.


The Phillies and Nationals will instead play a doubleheader on Tuesday, though they may run into trouble with those games, too. The Weather Channel predicted that thunderstorms would affect the area overnight Monday and all day on Tuesday, showing a 90 percent chance of precipitation.

And, to add even more water to the situation, Pennsylvania will likely be hit by the remnants of Hurricane Florence this weekend — which is expected to make landfall along the coast of North and South Carolina later this week.


It’s probably a pretty safe bet that when storms roll through the area again this week — and the hurricane hits this weekend — the Phillies will break out the tarp over the infield.

They likely won’t make that mistake twice.

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