Rain is most often the culprit when an MLB game is delayed or a team misses batting practice. Occasionally, snow is to blame. But Tuesday, the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington had a unique delay that the grounds crew hopes they won't have to deal with again anytime soon.
A sinkhole formed within the suddenly not-so-friendly confines, and it caused batting practice to be canceled for the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians, according to NESN.
Rangers Cancel Batting Practice to Fix Sinkhole Behind Mound, While Terry Francona Denies Wrongdoing http://t.co/9h8rt0pxtI— NESN (@NESN) June 12, 2013
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, an underground pipe behind the pitcher's mound burst on Tuesday, which resulted in the ground becoming saturated and ultimately sinking down into the earth.
Rather than risking injury, the decision was made to cancel batting practice prior to the game.
The grounds crew had a tough job on their hands as Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said the sinkhole was the size of a large trash can, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Sinkhole work continues at #Rangers Ballpark. Pitching coach Mike Maddux said it's the size of a large trash can. Starting to fill it now.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) June 11, 2013
Luckily, the grounds crew was able to repair the sinkhole in time for the contest, according to Sullivan. Perhaps the Rangers wish that crew wasn't so skilled, though, as the Indians went on to win the game by a score of 5-2.
With the Indians having lost eight consecutive games heading into Tuesday's affair, the media had a bit of fun with manager Terry Francona. He was asked if his players sneaked into the Ballpark in Arlington to sabotage the water system, a la the Durham Bulls in Bull Durham, according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"I didn't do it," said Francona in response. "We're not there yet. We're frustrated, but we're not there."
The sinkhole clearly didn't affect Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who delivered one of the best performances of his young MLB career. The 27-year-old righty threw eight strong innings, allowing just six hits and one earned run while walking three and striking out three.
Should Tuesday's game have been canceled due to the sinkhole?
Rangers southpaw Derek Holland, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky. Holland had been having an excellent season leading up to the game, but the Tribe battered him as he gave up nine hits and allowed four runs in just over four innings of work.
Rangers players recovering from injury—such as first baseman Mitch Moreland and second baseman Ian Kinsler—were unable to take traditional batting practice on Tuesday because of the sinkhole situation, according to Sullivan.
Assuming the Rangers' grounds crew's repairs were thorough enough to hold up, though, things should proceed as scheduled when the teams meet again on Wednesday night.
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