It's Raining, It's Pouring... so Let's Keep Playing

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It's Raining, It's Pouring... so Let's Keep Playing
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Only two major league baseball stadiums opened during the 1980s and both were built to provide shelter from the weather. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome opened in Minneapolis in 1982 to protect the players and fans from possible cold and snow in April and October. Seven years later in 1989, the SkyDome opened in Toronto to combat the unpredictable weather conditions of Southern Ontario.

Just four days after the facility opened, a baseball first occurred at SkyDome, and it had nothing to do with the action on the AstroTurf.

The facility, which included a Hard Rock Café and hotel, was considered state-of-the-art when it opened on June 3. Although it wasn't the first domed baseball stadium, it was the first sports facility with a retractable roof.

The game against Milwaukee on June 7 seemed normal. However, with the roof opened, it started raining while the game was in progress. Since SkyDome had the capacity to prevent any rain delays and it only took 20 minutes to close the roof, the decision was made to begin the process.   

Before the last panel was put into place to completely close the roof, a downpour started. It was a scene unlike anything that had been witnessed at a major league baseball game. While the Milwaukee fielders remained dry, a 20-foot section of the roof remained opened. This left the home plate area exposed to the elements of Mother Nature.

This scenario used to occur in football. At old Texas Stadium, the open roof would expose the rain to the players and coaches, while Dallas Cowboys fans remained dry. But no one ever thought this could happen at a baseball game.

The downpour soaked home plate umpire Rich Garcia, Brewers catcher Charlie O’Brien and Blue Jays batter Lloyd Moseby. Garcia eventually called timeout and retreated one step where it was completely dry.

After a brief delay, the roof was completely closed, and the game resumed. Toronto eventually won the game, 4-2, but it will always be remembered as the first game in major league history to be played indoors and outdoors.     

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