Rain, Snow & Tarp Pulls, Oh My!
I will never forget the sound of water aggressively spewing from the shower head, as my tired body was ready to be cleaned and put to bed. I immediately regretted eagerly jumping into the tub, as the heat from the water pierced my fingers and toes. Responsible for the lingering cold touch on my skin is the blistering winds and heavy rain that showered across the ballpark in almost below freezing temperatures on Opening Night.
To make a long story short, the game was called in the bottom of the second inning as the weather villainized and fans ran for cover, while employees placed themselves in position to pull tarp.
In the baseball world, tarp is my least favorite word. Why? Because pulling the tarp across the field means someone as clumsy as me is always at risk for injury. Out of what feels like one thousand tarp pulls, I have fallen during 998 of them. The only two times I have managed to stay on my feet have been at Salem Memorial Ballpark (and let’s hope it stays that way).
But, while the tarp adrenaline is running through my veins and I repeat the words "right, left" in my brain to guide my feet, I love to hear the crowd go wild as the staff and I assemble like the avengers on the field. Their applause makes me feel like I am a superhero on a mission to save the baseball diamond from the evil downpour.
I understand most normal people do not enjoy weather delays, but wildly, part of me does. The aspects of the delays I will never forget, especially on this particular game, is bonding with the staff while huddling for warmth in the grounds keeper’s shop and laughing about all the craziness that is occurring. So far, I like to think the Salem Red Sox staff is pretty good about making the most out of a not ideal situation. On the plus side, rolling the tarp off the field in the morning means witnessing a breathtaking sunrise cast itself over the tops of the mountains. I am no early bird, but I can be a sucker for an early morning sky filled with Van Gogh-esque colors.
A canceled Friday night led to a Saturday double header with a Sunday series finale. While the rain decided to leave the party, the mix of snow and winds remained for the weekend. Despite the gloomy weather, I soaked up every second of greeting the fans and seeing people fill the stands for the first time. I think my new favorite part of the game is smiling at the fans and having them smile back at me.
Opening Weekend 2022 was untraditional in many ways, but I only have one MiLB debut and I plan to cherish every second of what happened for a long time.
Here’s to five more months of perfecting my T-Shirt toss and singing my heart out to Sweet Caroline with the crowd…In rain or shine, I can’t wait to run it back 63 more times, Red Sox Nation!