The Hudson Valley National Adult Baseball Association narrowly avoided a major scheduling conundrum.
Rain threatened the playability of the championship game for their Rec Division, as early morning storms rolled through Dutchess County this past Sunday.
“It was a close call,” league commissioner Angelo Fabrizio said. “It would have been tough to reschedule.”
The game, between the Cubs and Diamondbacks, was to be played at Hopewell Recreation Park with a 3:30 PM start time.
“The sky really opened up around here,” said Cubs captain Connor Lynch. “[It] came down pretty hard overnight, I got nervous.”
“It totally threw off our pre-game,” he added.
Lynch had organized a team batting practice session at the Lagrange Little League complex prior to reporting to Hopewell. The team was to meet around 1 PM. However, just before arriving at Lagrange, Lynch received a text from Fabrizio. The game’s start time would have to be pushed back 45 minutes.
“We had to work on the field all morning, and it still wasn’t that good when noon rolled around,” Fabrizio said. He lamented that because of the extra work done maintaining the infield, another men’s league game that was scheduled to be played before the Rec Division championship had their start time pushed back.
The delay forced the hands of the umpiring crew, present for both games of the afternoon. The game ahead of the championship concluded at 4:10 PM, minutes from the new proposed start time.
As soon as the teams entered their respective dugouts, they were told to take the field and play ball- without an on-field warmup.
This especially upset Rob DeAngelo, Poughkeepsie native and Cubs starting pitcher slated to throw the top of the first.
“I’m livid,” DeAngelo repeated as he took the mound. “I’m absolutely livid.”
Several other players were heard voicing their complaints loudly as they took the field. Cubs second baseman Angelo Magliocca begged the base umpire for leniency, referencing the unkempt infield and muddy dirt around his position as grounds for a warmup.
The umpiring crew did not budge.
“We were told 4:15 start,” home plate umpire Robert Ebner told the team’s captains. “It’s 4:15.”
Despite early protests, the game was able to progress quickly. The uneven grass and soft dirt created some difficult hops, which infielders had to adjust to on the fly.
“At least we got to play,” Diamondbacks third baseman Dean Lofaro shrugged. Lofaro also noted that he was thankful the rain caused the week-long humidity to break.
When asked what might have happened if the championship game had to be rescheduled, Fabrizio offered a hearty laugh.
“That would not have been good,” he joked.
Fabrizio explained that the HVNABA Rec Division only plays on Sunday afternoons, meaning his teams would have to wait another week before completing their season. By that time, the HVNABA would be moving into its fall season, in which the Cubs are one of four teams. A rainout would mean some creative finagling with the schedule.
“Thankfully,” he sighed, “it didn’t come to that.”