Washington Nationals: Rain Delay embarrassment for team

rjuckett
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 05: The tarp sits on the field during a rain delay of the Washington Nationals and New York Mets game at Nationals Park on July 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 05: The tarp sits on the field during a rain delay of the Washington Nationals and New York Mets game at Nationals Park on July 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Instead of starting their Thursday game on-time before rain, the Washington Nationals delayed their game over three hours for no real reason.

Thursday is a day the Washington Nationals long to forget.

After the team and community fought hard to get Anthony Rendon selected as the final National League All-Star member, the organization embarrassed itself with an unneeded rain delay of three hours.

Before losing to the Atlanta Braves in the wee hours of Friday morning, the club made the Braves, their own players and thousands of unhappy fans wait three hours and five minutes until starting the game. Although there were chances of heavy rain, nothing ever happened.

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When it rained, it never poured hard enough to delay anything. They could have played through it, adding insult to injury.

The reason for delaying the start was so if the game stopped starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez would not have his night shortened. Unexpected bullpen management is something no team wants to deal with. Everyone wants their starter to get their full work in without interruption.

Because the Nats bullpen deserves their own season of American Horror Story, burning the pen for six or seven innings if Gonzalez suffered a long delay is a problem. Washington is at a disadvantage. And, they are the home team. Problem solved.

Or not.

The Chicago Cubs pulled the non-rain delay stunt earlier this season against the Milwaukee Brewers and drew the ire of everyone from the Brewers to those at Major League Baseball in New York. The Cubs cancelled a game where the amount of rain falling matched Palm Springs in July.

Somehow, the Nats topped that blunder. Offering free water, soda and ice cream to fans does not make up for the thousands who left before the game started, unable to get a refund, or others forced to leave early because of the nightly Metro shutdown.

The Nats were ripped on social media by the Braves press, fans and their own players for a series of bad decisions. In a city where every other team looms in the shadow of the Washington Redskins, this was not the Nats finest hour. There are fans who will never go back after their treatment with good reason.

MLB will investigate. The Braves are rightly incensed about the whole thing. If it comes out Washington delayed for reasons other than fan and player safety, discipline will happen. Perhaps decisions when to delay games will come from New York, which has better things to do, and not from home teams themselves.

As a good faith measure, the Nats should treat Thursday like a rainout and exchange any unused tickets for other games for unhappy fans. They should apologize to the Braves for the way they handled the delay.

Next: Reed not a trade option

Next time, play the game. The rain is not responsible for how the Nationals cannot assemble a bullpen.

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