Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rainy days and Mondays

On the best good workdays, Jon Miller and Dave Flemming talk behind my back.

They're the San Francisco Giants' radio broadcasters, and on the best good workdays, they're unfolding the tale of another game from a Giants road trip back East, their voices crackling three timezones away on the little silver digital radio in my office.

Usually it's a Wednesday or Thursday — getaway day, what used to be called the businessman's special — first pitch a bit past 10 or even 9 Pacific Standard Time!

Baseball! Before my third cup of coffee! That doesn't happen very often.

(Yesterday was an exception, a so-called "wrap-around" series, the last of four games that began on Friday with the New York Mets and ends on a Monday. The Giants don't typically play on Mondays, but games seem to get crammed together as the season goes down the stretch.

(The Giants won 4-3 and took three of four from the Mets. Hurt players are coming back, a new starting pitcher replaces one who's out for the season, so maybe doom is premature. Hold that thought.)

I can listen to the game, good or bad, and get work done before my stomach can tell me it's lunchtime.

Only two problems with a morning ballgame, one small and one heart-breakingly huge.

Small: No baseball later that day. Just 57 channels and nothin' on. Sorry, not watching the A's.

Heart-breakingly huge: Rainouts!

It doesn't rain on ballgames in California. But three time zones away, summer means rain and rain delays baseball.

Though far away and high and dry in my office, I drown in the downpouring despair of rainouts. I wash down the drain, grim and dour. I lose the day in mourning.

No, really.

The worst is when a game gets under way but stalls as storms roll in and the grounds crew pulls the giant tarp over the infield and the broadcasters unfurl their limited supply of rainy day stories, hoping all those steps will soon reverse and the game can resume.

When they don't, the broadcasters toss it back to the radio station and the people on the regularly scheduled program must vamp until the next update. I didn't tune in to hear the talk-show hosts prattle. I want my baseball!

Every so often, the broadcasters return with hopeless updates, ephemeral as Sputnik sightings, here and gone. Back to you in the studio.

Almost as bad, though, is when the game resumes hours later. Everyone's attention is elsewhere by then, even the players'. The starting pitchers have changed, the players shambling about with knots in their muscles. The energy has changed. After rain delays, I just want the game to get done and get over.

And drought to envelop the earth. During baseball season, anyway.

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