Yankee Stadium Grounds Crew Battles Mother Nature, Loses

PHOTO: Grounds crew members unroll the tarp during a rainstorm in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, July 23, 2014.

The skies opened over Yankee Stadium. Water gushed, a soaking rain in the middle of Wednesday’s New York Yankees-Texas Rangers game.

The grounds crew raced to cover the field, unrolling the tarp and pulling it across the infield dirt, which needs to stay dry in order to maintain proper playing conditions. Normally, the whole process takes a minute or so.

This time, the tarp got stuck midway across the infield. The group walked the tarp back to left field, ready for another try.

In the meantime the rain pounded down, drenching the exposed dirt.

PHOTO: Fans scramble for cover as a rainstorm interrupts the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, July 23, 2014.
AP Photo
PHOTO: Fans scramble for cover as a rainstorm interrupts the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, July 23, 2014.

As the grounds crew struggled, the heavy tarp turned in on itself, resembling a deflated hot air balloon. The wind whipped the unprotected dirt. Streams formed near second base and shortstop as water pooled on the tarp, adding difficulty to the grounds crew’s struggles.

Additional employees came to help – a man in a cart, poncho-clad stadium personnel, the Rangers batboy. Nothing. At one point one of the men tripped, gobbled up underneath the heavy sheet. The group paused again, trying to free the missing man.

Thirteen minutes passed as the pounding rain turned the stadium’s infield into a muddy, soupy mess.

Eventually, the grounds crew and volunteers completed their mission. The few remaining fans, the ones who hadn’t left for cover in the bottom of the fifth inning, cheered.

The umpires ended up calling the game because the infield was too wet. The Yankees won in the rain-shortened game, 2-1.

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