There was really only one reason to play Saturday night's game.
And that is because Sunday's weather forecast isn't any better than Saturday's -- in fact, it could be worse, with heavier rain and possible higher wind gusts. That would have meant, thus, that the Cubs and Giants would be looking at back-to-back doubleheaders when the Giants return to Chicago in late June. When, presumably, the temperature will be above 45 degrees, although the way this spring has gone in Chicago, there's no guarantee of that.
So, the teams and the umpires presumably agreed to play Saturday night unless the steady rain that started about 30 minutes to game time turned into a deluge -- which it did just before the Giants were to bat in the seventh inning, forcing a delay and the eventual calling of the rest of the game after a 40-minute delay, resulting in a 3-0 shutout win for the visitors from San Francisco.
You've heard me talk about the 2003 Cubs/Cardinals game we called the Typhoon Game; if you were watching Saturday night or were at Wrigley Field, the conditions this time were similar to that May 2003 afternoon, although it was windier that day. In fact, it was nicer at Wrigley Field last November 20, when Northwestern played Illinois in college football, than it was Saturday evening.
Here's the kicker for this worst spring of weather I can remember in Chicago -- ever. If the Cubs/Rockies game from a couple of weeks ago that was postponed when some felt it could have been played had actually been completed that day, the June 27 rescheduled date for that game would have been available for a Cubs/Giants makeup -- the day before the Giants are scheduled to return.
There's not much you can say in "analyzing" a game played in conditions like this; the rain ranged from mist to drizzle to light to moderate, but never stopped at all. You could see both runners and fielders tentative in running the bases or after balls in the field; foul balls that hit the screen behind the plate produced a big splash of water and at one point, a bat flew out of a hitter's hands and about 15 rows into the seats. In that 2003 game, St. Louis' Eli Marrero slipped on the wet grass and suffered a serious ankle injury that forced him to miss most of the rest of that year and he was never quite the same after that; reduced to part-time play, he retired three years later. Conditions were completely ill-suited to baseball and the teams, umpires and management were fortunate that no one was hurt.
Doug Davis, making his Cub debut (and maybe wondering what he got himself into), threw a credible five innings. Of his 77 pitches, 50 were strikes. He struck out six and was tagged with three runs, only one of which was earned. The other two scored as a result of throwing errors by Koyie Hill and Blake DeWitt; those errors can probably be forgiven due to the conditions, but errors nonetheless helped cost the Cubs this game.
The Giants' Ryan Vogelsong matched Davis and threw one more inning than the Cubs newcomer, finishing up the sixth when the rain turned into a monsoon and the game was halted and eventually called. It wound up as a complete-game shutout for Vogelsong, his first of each in the major leagues; you can be pretty sure he won't tell his grandchildren it was only six innings' worth.
When the delay was called, I was 100% sure the game wouldn't be resumed, so I left, in time to write this recap Saturday night. The Cubs, obviously, have no control over the weather and as noted, this is the worst spring in Chicago in at least 50 years. You can be sure that the Cubs will lobby hard to not have 33 home games scheduled by June 1 in 2012, as they have this season. Let's hope they never again have to play baseball at Wrigley Field in conditions as bad as Saturday night's; that's not fair to fans, team employees, players, nobody. Of the announced crowd of 39,706, maybe 20,000-22,000 of them braved the awful weather, but a steady stream exited throughout on a day when the temperature at game time was 43 degrees and it felt like winter.
They'll try it again with the Giants Sunday afternoon... (all together now) ... weather permitting.