CINCINNATI — Barely an hour into a stupidly long rain delay Saturday that eventually turned into a postponement, Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, was asked on Twitter how he and the other players handle the down time in the clubhouse.
The self-explanatory nature of the social-media conversation aside, Arrieta — the scheduled starter — offered a pointed response:
“I’m pissed, actually.”
If he only had known how much longer he and his teammates would have to sit around before Cincinnati Reds management finally decided to surrender the sold-out gate on the day they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their 1990 World Series championship.
The official time of the delay was 4 hours, 13 minutes, and the public — including fans in the stands — didn’t get the announcement of the postponement until about a half-hour after the teams were informed.
“I was originally told we were going to play [50 minutes late] at 2 and then 3:15 and then 4,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who clearly wasn’t happy about the unnecessary length of the delay but kept his humor afterward.
“I heard that the field drains well, and I wanted to see that for myself,” he said when asked about his stroll in the rain more than two hours into the delay. “And it’s true. It does drain well. I’ve got to compliment them on their drainage.”
But their handling of rain delays, not so much.
“I know they wanted to get it done for the full house. I understand that,” Maddon said. “I’m not going to denigrate the Reds to do what they think is the right thing to do. Everybody’s got their own house to keep, so I’m not going to go there. But I understand that had to play somewhat into the delay.”
Eventually Jeff Nelson’s umpire crew helped push along the decision by the Reds that could have been made before game time, considering a fluctuating forecast that called for a 70 percent to 100 percent chance of rain for most of the day.
“I thought the umpires provided some really good common sense to the equation,” said Maddon, who pushed his starting rotation back a day.
A makeup date hasn’t been announced. The Cubs return to Cincinnati July 20-22 (with a mutual day off July 23) and Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (with a mutual day off Sept. 28).
“Obviously, if it’s our last trip to Cincinnati, different story,” Maddon said. “But your ability to come back here several other times, even with some common open dates, made it more difficult. You play a game at night [Friday], you get here early in the morning, you sit around all day with another day game the next day.”