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The Washington Nationals invented a drizzle delay

Friday’s Say Hey Baseball looks at the weirdest of weird baseball, golden third basemen, and some other stuff.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

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Baseball is very weird, not the least because it is the only one of the four major sports in which games are played at the will of weather, given that the NFL rarely bows to such demands.

The Atlanta Braves started a game in not-West-Coast Washington on Thursday night at 10:10 p.m. EST, five hours and five minutes after the Center Field Gate opened at Nats Park. The Nats delayed the first pitch for three hours and five minutes in an attempt to avoid rain cells similar to those that forced the postponement of Wednesday night’s game against the Mets. And well, they definitely did that, because rain beyond a light drizzle did not appear. Now the Braves are calling for an investigation into what they call “unnecessary gamesmanship.”

Hoo boy, the Nationals have trouble with weather calls, and they botched this one pretty bad, so no one can really blame the Braves for the decision. This wasn’t like the Cubs-Giants game in 2014 that was called (and protested, and later continued) after a tarp malfunction caused a four-and-a-half hour rain delay. The ordeal was more like in 1990 when the White Sox delayed the first pitch for seven hours and 23 minutes before calling it off (until it was eventually appealed and made up).

Without any rain, Thursday night made its case to be even weirder. Ender Inciarte responded to a tweet encouraging using the tarp as a slip n’ slide with, “Can’t. The tarp is dry.” Bryce Harper favorited Inciarte’s tweet, which was probably the best thing to come out of the whole night, until he called the delay “absolutely brutal” in true Harper fashion on his Instagram story.

Field-level seats, free SpongeBob ice cream, soda, and water were offered and appeased at least the kids. The Nationals PR department barely made it out of the night alive, at one point sharing its hopes and dreams for the game. Few would fault anyone involved for their frustration. Even Mike Trout was probably somewhere shaking his head at the incorrect weather radar analysis.

The caution that caused the “dry delay” was questionable. According to general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Dusty Baker, one reason the Nationals delayed the game was so they didn’t have to burn a starter. With the All-Star break coming up, how much could that really matter? Predicting weather is hard, but all the SpongeBob ice cream in the world might not patch this up.

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