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Saturday’s Cubs/Braves game should probably never have been played

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Braves players were not happy, and it wasn’t because they lost. Joe Maddon wasn’t happy about the conditions either.

Who is that masked man?
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Let’s get this out of the way before I get into the meat of this argument.

I’m very happy that the Cubs put together an epic comeback and won Saturday’s game. It’s one I’ll always remember... not just for the comeback, for the horrendous weather conditions the game was played in.

Braves players had some choice remarks about the decision to play Saturday. This article contains a few of those comments:

“I’ve been playing since 2006 and never seen anything like that,” said veteran Peter Moylan, the last of the relievers in the inning and the one who threw the wild pitch that let in a run. “We’ve been rained out and been snowed out, but we’ve never had to play through (expletive) like that.”

Here’s the summation of the entire issue, from Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman:

Braves slugger Freddie Freeman said returning to Chicago for a game or even a doubleheader on an off day would’ve been preferable to playing in Saturday’s conditions

“Hopefully tomorrow (Sunday) they have a little better sense of what’s going on,” he said “We were just lucky no one got hurt. You never know what can happen the next couple of days, how people are feeling. Win or lose, that was a tough one to play.”

Saturday morning as the weather deteriorated, there were informal discussions about possible mutual off days when the Braves might be able to return to make up one or both games if Saturday or Sunday conditions forced postponements. May 14, an off day after the Braves’ Tampa Bay-Miami trip, was a possibility.

But Cubs’ officials preference was always to get Saturday’s game in if at all possible, and they did.

Look, I get why they wanted to try to get at least one of the games Saturday or Sunday in. There aren’t many common off days — I’ve already previously mentioned May 14 as a potential makeup date — and the Braves come into Chicago only once this year, as is the case for every team the Cubs play that’s outside the N.L. Central.

It’s good that “informal discussions” of a makeup date were happening. Perhaps those could become more formal Sunday morning. As noted above, at least one of the Braves players wouldn’t have minded a makeup doubleheader.

In case you are thinking this is a case of sour grapes because the Braves blew that big lead and lost, Atlanta reliever Sam Freeman disabuses you of that notion:

“The (Cubs) had to pitch in it too,” Sam Freeman said, refusing to use the cold as an excuse. “I just didn’t execute today. It wasn’t the weather; like I say, they had to do it too. Just didn’t execute. I just (expletive) the bed today.”

Beyond that, Joe Maddon agrees with the Braves players:

“I give both teams a lot of credit under the circumstances,” Maddon said, “because that game should not have been played.”

More from Maddon:

“I thought the 2008 World Series game was the worst weather game I ever participated in,” Maddon said. “I think it just got surpassed. That’s not baseball weather. I don’t know what the intent is, I really don’t. And again, the elements were horrific to play baseball. It’s not conducive. We made mistakes on the infield. They made mistakes on the infield, outfield. Based on weather-related issues. These are really good players. I think, to a certain extent, their wildness towards the end of the game was the contributed to the horrible weather. Whatever. We’re gonna do what we’re asked or told to do. But I’m just here to tell you, that was the worst elements I’ve ever participated in a baseball game. And I’ve been in some pretty bad stuff.”

He’s right.

At the time I’m writing this article, it is 36 degrees in Chicago and raining hard, and expected to continue raining all morning and into the early afternoon. Conditions at Wrigley Field aren’t going to be any better than they were Saturday, and it’s possible they could get even worse.

One of the reasons for off days in the schedule is to make up games that are postponed. If the Cubs called this game off early, the Braves could get an early start heading to their next series (in Atlanta, Monday night against the Phillies), and the Cubs could have a Sunday off at home.

They can reschedule the game for May 14, as noted above. It might even warm up in Chicago by then. Maybe.

Please, Cubs, do the right thing. Call Sunday’s game off early, before anyone even makes the trek to the ballpark.