The red, white and blue bunting was soaked.
The Cheney Stadium crowd of 5,491 was soaked and shivering.
Mother Nature did the Tacoma Rainiers no favors Friday, presenting a home-opening night that started with 44-degree temperatures that dropped and a steady rain that stayed.
Finally, the conditions deteriorated to the point where the umpires suspended the game. It will resume at 5 p.m. today where it left off: with the Salt Lake Bees holding a 5-0 lead with two outs in the top of the fifth.
“I understand,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “I look at the radar, too. Nothing’s showing up on the radar, and yet it’s raining. That can happen here sometimes, and you run into these situations sometimes, especially in the Pacific Northwest. It got a little sloppy … so they did what they needed to do. I’d always look back and I’d rather not see five runs, but there’s nothing we can do about that. We’ll come back (today) and try to get out of the fifth inning first.”
The weather was never good Friday, but Rainiers starter James Paxton was – over the first four innings.
Paxton, ranked by MLS.com as the fifth-best prospect in minors, was perfect through three, allowed an infield single in the fourth, and then got himself into all kinds of trouble in the fifth.
That began by walking the bases loaded. Then the Bees’ first run came in on a weak infield single by No. 9 hitter Roberto Lopez. Two more runs followed on a single to right by Scott Cousins. The next two came in on a single by Matt Young, which also ended Paxton’s night.
“I thought Paxton was really good, especially the first four innings,” Brown said. “The fifth inning, a few walks there kind of got him in trouble and he didn’t get out of the inning.”
Brown declined to blame that on the weather or a wet ball, noting the conditions were no better at the start.
“It just kind of happened,” he said. “The command kind of left there for a few hitters, and it got him into some trouble and he wasn’t able to get out of it.”
Umps waved the teams off the field at 8:56 p.m., with two outs, a runner on first, and reliever Lucas Luetge on the mound.
The players did not seem unhappy to head for their warm, dry clubhouse.
“In Double A and the Eastern League you play in like 20 degrees, but it’s like snowing and windy,” Tacoma left fielder Eric Thames said. “But I think when it’s snowing and windy it’s not as bad as when it’s wet. So we’re all out there and the grass is thick, and running around our feet are numb, but it wasn’t too bad. … Then the rain really kicked up and then they had that long inning. We were out there … like, ‘OK, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go.’”
After a 37-minute delay, the decision was made to suspend the game. It will resume today and will be played to its nine-inning conclusion. After that, the Rainiers and Bees will play their regularly scheduled game, although that one will be shortened to seven innings.
Meanwhile, the fans who stuck it out to the end Friday were rewarded with the regularly scheduled fireworks show.
“I guess the people here are used to that kind of weather,” Thames said. “They were sitting with their hoodies on in the rain. You don’t really see that, but there are special people out here. You gotta love it.”
The first game of this four-game series will resume at 5 p.m. today. The seven-inning second game will follow. Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.50) is scheduled to start that one for Salt Lake. The Rainiers’ starter was not announced. The games can be heard on 850-AM.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808