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Rain [a rant]

MESA, Arizona -- As you no doubt know, today's game was rained out, after Shawn Estes retired the side easily in the top of the first (including a really nice called strikeout of Pablo Ozuna), and the Rockies' Denny Stark got the first two batters he faced, with a 1-2 count on Sammy Sosa, it started pouring.

And when it pours in the desert, it really pours. The land can't handle that much rain at one time, so large amounts of standing water come everywhere, and in a big hurry. At this writing it is still raining.

But that's not my rant. My rant is about the fact that HoHoKam Park doesn't allow umbrellas.

As far as I know, only one major league park -- Pro Player in Miami -- doesn't allow umbrellas. Both parks in Chicago do. When I asked the security people why, the first four of them that I asked just said, "it's the rules". Well, that's not really an answer, is it? I finally got someone to give me two reasons, both of which, in my opinion, are ridiculous:

1) you might block someone else's view. Excuse me? When it's raining and the game isn't being played? What view, exactly, are they talking about?

2) you might throw the umbrella at someone as a weapon. Oh, please. How ridiculous is that?

Finally, I got through to the office at HoHoKam on the phone, to see who was responsible for this silly rule, whether it be the city of Mesa, the Cubs, or whoever.

They blamed it on Major League Baseball. This also seems silly, since I seem to recall "no umbrellas" signs long before MLB got into this kind of thing. It sounds like MLB is trying to disguise this as a security issue. It's no wonder fans are so upset with MLB, with fan-UNfriendly rules like this.

So once the delay was underway (and they also held up the start of the game for 20 minutes to get all the pre-game nonsense in -- even though the field was uncovered and ready to play at least 30 minutes to game time) ... I tried to figure out how I would get to my car without an umbrella, without getting soaked. Incidentally, I did see a few people with small umbrellas that they must have smuggled in under jackets. I must remember this for next time.

I found an empty cardboard box and flinging it over my head, ran to my car. If you've ever been at HoHoKam, you know that the parking lot is actually a grass soccer field, and it was pretty well underwater already by the time I got to my car, thus soaking my shoes, and the bottom half of my jeans.

Anyway, baseball will continue tomorrow at Surprise, vs. the Royals, weather permitting. I have heard many good things about the new complex there, so will file a full report about the park, as well as the game, tomorrow. I did run into my friends Ron and Karen, who sit in LF at Wrigley, and sat with them for a while, and Terri, who I know from the ballpark and who was also an acquaintance of my sister's, who gave her condolences, which was nice.

Finally -- two days ago the gift shop at HoHoKam told me they didn't have any more of the caps with "2003 Spring Training" on them. Today, I found one at one of the small souvenir stands. Great communication.