Of all the duties and responsibilities of being a HDL Officer, deciding how to handle a rain-out or wet field situations is the most gut-wrenching.  We (officers) try to get input and suggestions from the teams involved.  Besides player and umpire availability, we must always consider the safety of the players. 

During the regular season, when outcome of games is not a big deal, we usually round-up enough players and put a game together.  Conditions for infielders to move or plant their feet to make a play is not considered critical.  Obviously during regular season, the outcome of a sloppy defensive effort is not going to be argued about.  We will always debate, was that a “hit?” or an “error?”  Then we debate, how did field conditions affect a player being “safe? or “out?”

But as we wind down the season, the remaining games “mean something”, so all of a sudden everyone is looking for the best possible conditions to ensure the highest level of a competitive game.  We also recognize that all competitive players want to “WIN.”  It is this magnitude of “Winning” is where our members ability to be flexible gets distorted. 

The HDL is all about playing baseball on Sunday.  Sunday is our day to “play.”  Before there were only 2 teams, it was easy, everyone wanted to play a game, every Sunday.  But as the league has grown, we added double headers where the second game may not start until 12:00 Noon or even a little later.  So we assumed HDL members are now open to playing on Sunday, no matter what the time.  Since HDL has open access to Tobey field, the field availability is a non-factor.

But now that we are in the season’s final games, all of a sudden there is no flexibility to play at a later time in the day when the field would be more satisfactory.  So, I guess, going forward, we must no longer consider game times other than before 12:00 Noon on Sunday’s.  This takes all the arguments and discussion out of consideration.

I personally do not like this “guideline” but the HDL does not operate like the other adult baseball leagues in the Memphis area.  We “DO NOT” allow wins or losses based on “Forfeit”.  Going forward, one of the priority rules discussions after the season will be how to schedule “make-up” or “alternate” game times for play-off games.

We are in the first weekend of October, weather is always unpredictable at this time of year as the season is changing.  For all veterans, as we watch our favorite Major League teams go through their post-season play-offs, it is normal to see their critical games be changed or modified in response to poor weather conditions. So get your long-johns and ear warmers out, you might need them before this HDL season is completed.  And if you have some “mud boots” handy, you may want to go jogging in them in case the next time we have mushy field, you will be ready to play in conditions like we had today.  (but not worse than any conditions we have played in earlier seasons.)

Yours truly,

Larry Rutledge

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