After a sudden rain storm that disrupted a game between the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs and trouble deploying a tarp to cover the field, the Giants won a fight to have the game suspended.
The game on Tuesday, August 19 at Wrigley Field lasted 1 hour and 35 minutes before the storm disrupted it. The Wrigley Field grounds crew pulled the tarp onto the infield crookedly and were unable to fully cover the field because of the weight of the water. Areas around the plate and the left infield became drenched. After a rain delay that lasted 4 hours and 34 minutes, the game was declared a win for the Cubs with a score of 2-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The San Francisco team protested the ruling. Giants officials spoke on the phone with MLB officials Tuesday night and submitted a protest letter Wednesday morning.
The protest was upheld. Major League Baseball determined that there was a “malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club.” The Cubs were unable to deploy the tarp properly because it was not properly wrapped and spooled the last time it was used. The MLB concluded that the grounds crew had worked diligently to attempt to cover the field and that there was therefore no reason for the Cubs to forfeit the game.
The Cubs had ordered a staff reduction in the grounds crew because of recent overages in hours worked by the crew. There are generally about 25 grounds crew members on staff, but at the time of the game on Tuesday there were only 12. Eighteen crew members, some of who were facilities employees, tried to spread out the tarp to cover the field. It usually takes over 20 crew members to spread out the tarp. The Cubs denied that there were any budget concerns or staffing issues at the game. They said the rain storm was unexpected.
The last time the Giants won a protest was in 1943. No team has won a protest since 1986. Protests are usually rejected because the MLB sides with umpires or decides that the issue did not change the outcome of the game.
The game was resumed on Thursday, August 21 at 2:05 p.m. The Giants won the game 5-3.