What Happened When There Was a Rain Delay at the Padres Game?
“I swing big with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.” – Babe Ruth
As if we didn’t need further evidence of global climate change, we went to the Padres game last night, May 14th, 2015, and the game was subject to a rain delay! I was surprised how well the Padres organization handled the rain delay, making it an incredible event despite the inclement weather. It wasn’t the usual type of ‘special night’ where they have a giveaway like ball, bat, or hoodie night. Seriously, it was a RAIN DELAY GAME in San Diego!! According to the announcer, this was the first rain delay in Petco Park since 2011! Amanda and I both grew-up in the Midwest, so we are used to rain delays in baseball games. This is highly unusual for San Diego, but it turned out to be quite fun and entertaining! Game time was 7:10pm, and they played half of an inning before the game was subject to a nearly two-hour delay, until the game resumed at roughly 9:00pm.
We are season ticket holders for the Padres, so we go to a lot of games. Actually, my friends Jeff and Kim are the season ticket holders, and we are in a group of four couples that split the seats. 80 games is way too much baseball for any one fan, and by splitting the seats four ways we each get 20 games with four seats. That is still a lot of baseball, but it’s more manageable. Even the night we split the tickets amongst the group turns into an event with the ticket ‘draft,’ wine, and dinner afterwards.
The rain delay started with rolling out the cleanest tarp in Major League Baseball! I’m telling you, I have never seen a tarp that white and that clean at a baseball game! Most of the fans who were there, which were quite a few, were actually pretty well prepared with ponchos, umbrellas, and the like. However, some folks had the cheap ponchos that are sold at the game, and some kids just ignored the rain! My family is really lucky that our seats are both Omni Premier Club with an indoor bar and restaurant, and also under the awning. My buddy Jeff, the actual season ticket holder, is a Founder Member at Petco Park, and he selected the seats when the ballpark was still being built. Obviously, he selected seats in the second row under the awning for protection from the San Diego sunshine, but it was really nice to have them for the rain too!
This off-season, the Padres installed a new high-definition screen at the ballpark that looks fantastic. It is a state-of-the-art video board measuring 61.2-feet tall by 123.6-feet wide. Fans can use social media feeds like Instagram and Twitter, and tag their photos or comments with #SDinHD to get them displayed on the big screen. It is a really fun and interactive part of games now. Its use was in full force during the rain delay, with funny Tweets and sad face Instagram photos.
The delay also included an extended time of music and dancing. Petco has a really fantastic sound system, which is even more spectacular when it’s combined with the HD big screen for music videos. One of our favorites from the night was Upton Funk, a parody of one of the Padres’ outfielders, Justin Upton. Another crowd favorite was RedFoo Juicy Wiggle. RedFoo is the lead singer of LMFAO, better known for the song I’m Sexy and I Know It. Side note: I had to share the I’m Sexy and I Know It music video on YouTube with Amanda when we got home. She’d never seen it, and it’s hilarious! One cameraman at the game caught my son and his friend wacky dancing to the Juicy Wiggle and showed it on the big screen. Check it out here!
The games always have segments about getting to know the players as well, and we got to experience an extended version with the rain delay. They gave the players two-choice quizzes that they needed to answer, and last night’s quiz was Jimmy Kimmel versus Conan O’Brian. In the past, they have done Twitter versus SnapChat, which was laughable too. They had video segments with the players reading nasty tweets about themselves and asking them what their monster truck would be named; all quite entertaining. It is fun to see the personalities of the baseball players displayed on the big screen.
The cameramen at the ballpark were searching through the crowd trying to identify people who looked like famous celebrities. When they found a fan that met the qualifications, they would do side-by-side photos for the crowd. They included Grumpy Cat, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Gandalf the Grey from Lord of the Rings, Peter Griffin from Family Guy, and the “Burger King”…to name a few. It was totally hilarious, and the ‘victims’ all had great senses of humor about it.
As the rain started to subside, they played a documentary film about getting to know the Padres’ owners. There are three primary owners of the ball club, and the focus of the initial part of the film was about Peter Seidler, the lead investor in the Padres, who previously had a family affiliation with the LA Dodgers. Peter is a cancer survivor and a very successful entrepreneur. It was very well put together, and quite touching.
During the feature documentary, the grounds crew started working to squeegee the water off the tarp. Check out the clip below! It was really quite humorous and reminded me of a snowstorm when I lived in Atlanta, where people just abandoned their cars on the freeway. It is always amusing seeing people do things they seemingly have never done before! Finally, a crew chief came out and helped get things a little more organized and some more manpower on the job. It was during this point that one of the groundskeepers started using the tarp as a Slip-and-Slide. He was hysterical. I think he is the same guy who break dances when the grounds crew rakes the infield between innings.
At any rate, they finally got the tarp squeegeed enough that they could roll up the tarp and resume the game. Hallelujah!
I’ve had these season tickets for a few years now, and Petco is an awesome venue that just keeps getting better and better. However, the historical problem hasn’t been with the venue; it has been with the product on the field. Ownership and management of the club have made great strides during this off-season to improve their roster. They have acquired some very talented ballplayers and it shows. It makes the game so much more fun and exciting. The Padres organization seems to be fully committed to building a championship ball club, and they seem to be making progress to that end. I grew up in St. Louis, and the Cardinals have had a championship ball club for years, just like the Yankees, but with a much smaller budget. It is possible to build a championship club, even in a small market like San Diego.
The Padres won the game last night with a score of 8–3. Catcher Derek Norris had a homerun and a triple with five RBIs before the end of the second inning! It was a fun game that ended a little late, but it still included singing Take Me out to the Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch and the scene from Top Gun where Maverick serenades Charlie in the San Diego Naval Officer’s Club by singing the Righteous Brothers song You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’. The fans always enthusiastically sing along.
Even with a rain delay it was one of our best experiences at the ballpark, and we sure needed the rain!!
Tell us about your fun experiences and opinions about baseball, and don’t forget to root, Root, ROOT for the Padres!