Mother Nature takes the lead
By JIM SWANSON
All of a sudden, Mother Nature is leading the standings.
As far as the World Baseball Challenge is concerned, we'd rather she showed her sunny disposition, and move what seems like an ocean from over our heads.
How many days in a row have we had significant rain now? Ten, 11? Let's change the city name to Prince Vancouver, seems more fitting.
Opening night, rained out... postponed due to rain and a field that had standing water, both on the shale surfaces and in the grass. People who care are doing all they can to help the field dry as quickly as possible, because this is a field that doesn't lose many games to weather. It drains well, it was just pushed beyond the limit. ShopVacs, a pumper truck, brooms and squeegies -- all put to work.
So, Bahamas and Chinese Taipei get to start things off on Saturday afternoon, a 3 p.m. game at Citizen Field, and Cuba and the Beijing Tigers are going to move their matchup to Monday night, 7 p.m. It means Beijing will play twice that day, the other one being a noon contest against Canada. Japan and Bahamas will have the 3 p.m. game on Monday.
The big games are still sitting there -- Japan-Cuba on Saturday night, 7 p.m., and Cuba-Chinese Taipei on Sunday night at 7 p.m. There's also Canada's opener on Sunday, 3 p.m. against Bahamas, for fans to look forward to.
Rain is a fact of life in the sport, unless you're fortunate enough to have a dome. We don't have such a luxury -- the weather rarely makes it necessary, but it did this time. (Hey, Steve Brooks, can you bring the Rogers Centre roof with you?)
How did the teams handle the postponement? Shrugged it off, asked when they could practice at the Northern Sport Centre, and told organizers to tell them when the schedule change will come. About an hour later, they had that. It's not the first time a baseball game has been rained out, and it won't be the last, although hopefully it is as far as this tournament is concerned. And, it must be noted, there is a rain date planned into this event, on Monday, July 18, should the playoffs be pushed by weather.
The forecast is not the greatest, either, but we're counting on those weather prognosticators to live up to their reputation for being wrong with regularity.
And we're asking Mother Nature to prove she's a baseball fan.