(CBS) The Cubs told reporters Wednesday that their grounds crew was adequately staffed Tuesday night when issues with unfurling the tarp during a short rainstorm led to an early end-turned-suspended game between Chicago and San Francisco that is scheduled to be continued this afternoon after Major League Baseball upheld the Giants’ protest in a historic decision.
Turns out, though, the Cubs may not have been as well staffed as they typically are.
The Cubs ordered a staffing reduction in the grounds crew this week to cover recent “overages” in hours worked by the crew, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Typically, 25 or so grounds crew members are on staff, but only 12 regular members of the crew were on staff Tuesday, according to the Sun-Times.
At one point, the CSN Chicago broadcast showed 18 workers trying to move the tarp into a correct position after it originally had been spread out. Originally, there weren’t even that many pulling the tarp.
Some of the crew members Tuesday were facilities employees, the Sun-Times reported, adding that it typically takes more than 20 crew members to pull the tarp.
In upholding the Giants’ protest, MLB placed the blame on the Cubs’ grounds crew, saying there was a “failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use.”
For their part, the Cubs disputed any budget concerns or having any staffing issues for Tuesday.
Team spokesman Julian Green told the Sun-Times that the morning crew stays to help the night crew if rain is in the forecast, but Tuesday’s storm was a surprise.
“We had enough people on the crew Tuesday night and every night to pull the tarp when warranted, and the number has never presented a problem,” Green told the Sun-Times. “We believe we have the best grounds crew in the business and this was simply an extraordinary occurrence given the bizarre weather system.”