Ever since the deluge that washed out the first scheduled night game at Wrigley Field on August 8, 1988, I've ended that story with, "And I don't think I've seen it rain as hard since that day".
Now, four days short of twenty years later, I think I have.
A tremendous thunderstorm which generated tornado warnings in near-in suburbs and forced city officials to sound the tornado sirens on the north side -- something I had never heard before except on their every-Tuesday testing time -- delayed Monday night's game for nearly three hours (and then again for 39 minutes in a second delay after play had resumed, at which time both Astros 1B Lance Berkman and Cubs 1B coach Matt Sinatro were seen on TV ducking out of the way of a massive clap of thunder and bolt of lightning), and forced the Cubs to ask everyone to seek shelter under the stands, including GM Jim Hendry:
Hendry said it was the first time he heard tornado sirens at Wrigley in his 14 years with the Cubs. He experienced the storm among the fans, trapped near a concession stand on the Clark Street side of the park and soaked by horizontal rain coming in.
That the teams were able to retake the field after the first delay was a testament to the new drainage system installed before the season.
"The field is in tremendous shape," Hendry said. "Not only was it built extremely well, but our grounds crew has done a top-notch job."
That may be true, but I still wonder about the decision to resume the game on such a wet field -- Astros pitcher Geoff Geary had to leave the game after slipping off the mound. Probably 90% of the fans had left by the time the game resumed at 10:24 pm -- myself included; I had seen on my phone the radar image of the coming storm and decided to take off right at the first rain delay, thinking they wouldn't resume play. This is a major difference from 20+ years ago -- back then, they'd never have continued, especially since the game was already official at the first delay, going into the top of the sixth. Further, the score was reasonably close at 2-0, risking possible extra innings when there's a day game scheduled the next day. As it was, the players likely didn't get out of there till close to midnight.
The Cubs lost the game 2-0, primarily on two plays: Miguel Tejada taking second base on a deep fly to CF in the first inning, where he scored on a single by Carlos Lee, and Ryan Dempster's bases-loaded walk to Humberto Quintero, Houston's backup catcher, who entered the game hitting .210. In 65 plate appearances... that was the first walk he had drawn in 2008 and only the 11th of a 300+ PA career.
Fortunately for the Cubs, the Brewers also lost last night and Prince Fielder and Manny Parra got into a shoving match in the dugout. Clearly, the Brewers are a frustrated bunch after having lost eight of their last eleven.
Since there's a day game today I'll cut this recap short -- I was happy to stay dry while watching one of the most amazing lightning shows I've ever seen -- and have today's pregame thread posted at 11:30 CT.