Levine: Grounds Crew Numbers Add Up For Cubs

By Bruce Levine-

(CBS) The suspended Giants-Cubs game and MLB’s upholding of San Francisco’s protest continues to be a never-ending debate.

By now, the injustice that was done to the Giants has been repaired, but the essence of the rule and the continued passing of the buck down to the grounds crew — by Major League Baseball and many media members and fans — is just flat out wrong.

On Tuesday night when a tarp debacle led to only 4 1/2 innings being played, the Wrigley Field grounds crew was short-handed, down from 20-plus workers to 17 due to early cuts of the morning grounds crew shift. There was a good reason for that, though.

“Rain was not in the forecast, so we normally send our morning crew home before the game under those circumstances,” Cubs spokesman Julian Green said on Thursday. “We did not detect any rain on radar, so that was the decision. What occurred was a hard-to-see cell hit Chicago, and we got hit hard.”

For this afternoon’s finish of Tuesday’s game and the regularly scheduled contest later this evening, more crew members (20-plus) will be available with a threat of rain in the forecast, Green said. As of 3:45 p.m., the 4:05 p.m. start of the suspended game has already been delayed because of rain.

The Cubs grounds crew had 23 men on the field this afternoon handling the pregame rain and field duties.

“There are only 17 straps on the tarp to hold on to,” Green said. “We will have upwards of 25 men, holding over our morning crew with rain in the forecast tonight.”

Green said there have been no cutbacks or terminations on the grounds crew that he is aware of, contradicting an earlier report in the day.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.

More from Bruce Levine
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live