Clown shoes in Chicago: the Cubs grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field

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The rains came. The rains lasted only fifteen minutes. The Chicago Cubs grounds crew, however, failed to do the one job it had in that situation:

The tarp was all crooked and so much of the field was left uncovered by it turing the downpour, that the infield was basically soaked. They took over four hours after the rain stopped to try to fix things, but it couldn’t be fixed. The field was too wet to play and the game — already official under the rules — was called. The Cubs win 2-0.

Not that this will end things. As Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports, the Giants are mulling a protest. For their part, the Cubs were willing to simply agree to call it a suspended, rather than an official game, but they can’t just do that because the rules don’t allow for it. Rule 4.12, the rule which covers suspended games, only allows for suspended games in six situations:

SUSPENDED GAMES.
(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:
(1) A curfew imposed by law;
(2) A time limit permissible under league rules;
(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment);
(4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on;
(5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or
(6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied. National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games. (If adopted by a National Association League, Rule 4.10(e) would not apply to their games.):

Subsection (3) may sorta apply here as at least it invokes the tarp, but this was not an automated tarp situation. It was human error. Perhaps everyone can look past that and just say “close enough” and try to resume this game later, but to do that Major League Baseball will have to ignore the fact that this exact thing happened last month in New York in a Yankees-Rangers game and that game was deemed official despite grounds crew incompetence. And no, you can’t just say “well, this game has playoff implications for the Giants.” On June 23 — and maybe even now — the Yankees have an argument of playoff significance. And even though the Rangers stink, their record matters for things like draft order.

Baseball will likely mull this today — perhaps considering whether to invoke The Best Interests of Baseball clause. But for now, everyone can mostly just fume. Like Bruce Bochy. Who definitely fumed:

Feeling your pain, there, Bruce.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.

Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.

It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.