Now, it's not breaking news to say it’s hard to play baseball in the pouring rain. One of the reasons half the teams in Major League Baseball come to Arizona is to avoid as much rain as possible.
2019 is not cooperating.
Thursday was the latest day in almost a full week of downpours in the Phoenix area. At the Peoria Sports Complex the Padres have not been able to get much field work in, begging the question:
What does a baseball team do when it can’t play baseball?
It improvises as best it can.
“We’re going to try to get our bullpens in. We washed away our live batting practice,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “It’s one of those rains where it looks like we might get a gap here or there but it’s not going to go away enough for us to go get some real work in on the field so, as wet as it is, we’ll get our swings in in the cage, get our bullpens in, and be ready to play a game in two days.”
While hitters and pitchers can get their work in and be fairly close to game-ready it’s the defense that’s truly going to suffer from a lack of preparation time. Cutoffs, double plays, and all the other things that need repetition can’t be replicated anywhere else. That’s not even counting the complicated stuff like defensive shifts.
“Games start so quick for position players that you don’t even worry about getting everything in because you don’t have time to get everything in,” said Green.
Cactus League games start just five days after position players arrive so the rain is putting a vice grip on an already tight squeeze.
“We’re gonna lose probably this day for sure and quite possibly tomorrow,” said Green. “So you’re going to have two days of field practice with your team before you play a game.”
But still, the skipper thinks this can be a learning experience.
“You’re throwing a bullpen here with rain coming down all around you and you’re going to pitch at some point this season with the rain coming down all around you,” said Green. “So you try to take advantage of every circumstance, ideal and less than ideal.”
Green says the Padres will try to protect the guys they know are going to be major players for them this season as best they can. Bryan Mitchell will be on the mound to start that first Cactus League game on Saturday against the Mariners and the good news is the forecast says starting this weekend there should be a few weeks of dry, sunny weather.