A light dusting of snow covered Wrigley Field and most of the exposed level-100 seating area. It was beginning to look a lot more like a December Bears’ game rather than the Cubs’ home opener in April.
The Cubs postponed Monday’s home opener against the Pirates to Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. after the snow wouldn’t stop. Tuesday was previously scheduled as an off day.
This is the second time this season the Cubs have had a game postponed, the first one being in Ohio against the Reds on April 3.
On his way to the ballpark, manager Joe Maddon had a feeling the game wasn’t going to be played.
“On the way out I had no idea if I was going to Cub Convention or Opening Day,” Maddon said. “So I thought [cancelling the game] was the right thing to do.”
Player safety is “always a consideration,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said.
“Air temp we can live with,” Ricketts said before the game was postponed. “It’s just we have to get the field clear — obviously you don’t want anyone to slip and fall.”
But the Cubs initially weren’t so quick to call the game off.
At first, the Cubs postponed their game by one hour to 2:20 p.m. Several workers shoveled slush between aisles in the 100-level seating area, while others used hand-held blowers to remove snow from the seats.
On the field, a combination of slush and snow sat on the tarp, while the sprinklers went off in the uncovered outfield. While the sprinklers going off seemed counterintuitive, the Cubs claim there’s a method to the madness. The precipitation helps melt the ice and make it easier for the crew to remove the snow, Ricketts said.
Just after 11 a.m., the Cubs finally made the call to postpone the game.
The Cubs’ pitching rotation will remain the same, Maddon said. Right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who was set to pitch Monday, will be ready to go Tuesday. The Pirates will likely start right-hander Ivan Nova, who was also assigned to pitch Monday.
Although the home opener brings a special type of excitement to Wrigley Field, reliever Carl Edwards Jr. didn’t seem to bummed that the team wouldn’t be playing in 30-degree weather.
“It’s a long season,” Edwards said. “So postponing a couple of these games, it’s fine. We don’t have a problem with it.”
Closer Brandon Morrow echoed his teammate: “Unfortunately we couldn’t get it in, but we’ve got tomorrow.”
Several players plan to rejuvenate Monday in preparation to play nine straight games. But reliever Steve Cishek wanted to make the most of his snow day. He said he’s going to try to build a snowman with his daughter.