NBC adjusts to weather on fly
Rain set the National Baseball Congress World Series back by nearly half a day. After two long delays, the game between the San Diego Force and Ozark (Mo.) originally scheduled for 1 p.m. started after 10 p.m.
One game, a 4-2 win by the Kansas Cannons over the Colorado Cardinals, was completed before sundown Sunday. It started nearly five hours late, but another long delay during the Liberal-Albuquerque game put the tournament even further behind schedule.
It was a stressful day for NBC staff members, but also a productive one as they created backup plans for ensuring all the games would be played and to get the tournament back on schedule.
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“You can’t control the weather, so you try not to get too upset or frustrated about it,” NBC operations manager Kevin Jenks said. “Yes, it’s somewhat stressful because you’re trying to get games in and it slows the momentum of the games down.”
Besides playing games at their scheduled times, the primary concerns of the staff are the pitcher’s mound at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, the only patch of dirt on the field, and making sure games won’t start and be delayed shortly thereafter.
In those senses, the staff has been successful. The mound is continuously managed — draped in quick dry during and between innings and covered with tarps between games.
The Liberal-Albuquerque game was halted after five innings when the starting pitchers would have remained in the game, but it lasted long enough that they weren’t completely burned. Liberal used one pitcher after the delay, and no Albuquerque pitcher threw more than two innings, likely maintaining their availability.
“There’s a whole juggling act of looking at the radar, talking to meteorologists, and trying to get an idea of whether there is an open window of when there is going to be no rain or maybe some light rain,” Jenks said. “It’s nice having the field that we have, because the only thing we need to worry about is the mound. But at the same time, if the mound gets too wet, we lose everything.”
Games were scheduled to be played into the early morning hours Monday, and additional games will likely be added to the docket on Tuesday and Wednesday to get back in line with original plans. That may mean teams playing in steady rain, like Liberal and Albuquerque did, as long as conditions don’t become unplayable.
“If it’s raining, that’s just part of the game,” Jenks said. “It’s like major league baseball, we stay here until we get the game in. It may be a three- or four-hour rain delay, but we’ve got to get the game in because we have so many more waiting behind it.”
3:00 a.m. Monday - Tulsa Braves vs. El Dorado Broncos
5:30 a.m. - Colorado Cardinals vs. Kansas Alumni
TBA - Kansas Cannons vs. Cape Girardeau Capahas
Kansas Cannons 4, Colorado Cardinals 2
Liberal Bee Jays vs Albuquerque Diablos
Ozark (Mo.) Generals vs. San Diego Force
San Diego Waves vs. Huston Tuzos
El Dorado Broncos vs. Tulsa Braves
Cannons 4, Cardinals 2
|Johnson rf||5||2||1||0||Stratman ss||5||0||0||0|
|Sturgeon 3b||5||0||2||1||Kelly 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Schroeder ss||3||0||1||0||Gallegos dh||3||0||1||0|
|Snyder lf||4||0||2||1||Jurney c||4||0||0||0|
|Warchuk lf||0||0||0||0||Kennedy 1b||3||0||1||0|
|Bunch 2b||4||0||0||0||Bailey rf||3||1||0||0|
|Landanger cf||4||0||0||0||Hayes 3b||4||1||2||0|
|Johnston dh||4||0||1||0||Marvel lf||1||0||0||0|
|Redington c||4||1||3||0||Ramsey cf||4||0||1||2|
E — Sturgeon, Bunch. DP — Kansas 1. LOB— Kansas 7, Colorado 11. 2B— Ramsey. SB — Johnson, Branum, Redington. CS — Stratman.
WP — Thornquist. Umpires—Home, Russ Kessler; first, Kevin Raine; second, Scott Freund.