Opening Day for the hometown team is almost always about good times and smiles. Unless it rains.
Even then, it’s really not that bad unless you’re a long-time local meteorologist and you’ve been asked to help give away a car to fans on the field.
As soon as KREM’s Tom Sherry was introduced on Thursday night during the pregame ceremony for the Spokane Indians’ Opening Day, the drenched crowd at Avista Stadium rained down boos.
Even when it’s not really the weatherman’s fault, someone has to get an earful when you’re ready for baseball to start.
Roughly an hour before the scheduled first pitch, the team’s fans were greeted with colder than normal weather in the 50s, continuous rain and a chilly breeze. But with the teams traditional season-opening swing band playing outside the gates and a dancing Elvis leading the way, fans hiding under umbrellas flocked into the comfy confines of the stadium.
And even though the beer vendor in the main concourse was having little luck selling “ice cold beer” to fans not exactly eager to crack open a cold one under already refrigerated conditions, fans enjoyed their time in other ways with family photos, familiar ballpark food and reconnecting with other baseball fans who wished they had brought a warmer coat.
The frigid faithful may have expressed their displeasure with Turkey Tom, but they weren’t the only ones who were sad. Bobby Brett, managing partner of the Indians, said the team’s office staff had worked for nine months to prepare for this night and they were as disappointed by the rain-out as any of the fans.
“I always tell people if it’s raining, it’s not really raining at the ballpark,” Brett said with a smile. “But today this is real rain and no one wants it to rain on Opening Night because that’s when everyone is the most excited for baseball – whether you’re a fan or a player.”
At around 8:05 p.m. – more than 90 minutes after the game was supposed to start – Jamie Patrick, the team’s on-field announcer, came out in his fine black suit to tell the crowd that officials wanted to wait another five minutes before calling the game – though no one in the stands really believed there was any chance a baseball game was going to be played.
The stadium’s sound system reiterated that point with the the Weather Girls’ version of “It’s Raining Men,” followed by Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?”
The answer, on this night as least, was no one. Certainly not Tom Sherry, though he said the weekend would be nice.
The game is rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Sunday. Tickets for those who braved the elements, only to be disappointed, are good for another game later this summer, and the scheduled fireworks will be rescheduled at a later date.
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