In what has got to be the first time in the modern history of the sport, a minor league baseball team was forced to cancel a game due to inadequate…baseballs.
The dysfunctional Lake County Fielders, based in Zion, Ill. and part of the North American Baseball League, hosted the Calgary Vipers over the weekend for a three-game series. However, the first contest ended up being called after only 1.5 innings on account of unspecified “safety issues.”
Turns out, the visiting Vipers protested the game due to the sorry condition of the baseballs, which Vipers infielder Chad Ehrnsberger described on a popular message board as being “like little league practice balls purchased at Dick’s” and “the kind teams use as giveaways or sell in the team shop. They had the real slippery cover and would lose their shape just by playing catch.”
“At first we thought it was a joke. They gave us a ball for our starting pitcher to warm up with and we just laughed. Then they said they were being serious. Neither team wanted to play with those balls. Of course safety was an issue, but so was performance. My first at bat, I was actually telling myself to not hit the ball hard cause it wasn’t gonna go anywhere. Instead I tried guiding the ball and dropping it in front of the outfielders. We were all embarrassed, as were the umpires.”
The umpires ultimately agreed with the Vipers that the whole situation represented one colossal embarrassment, and postponed the game. The Fielders, meanwhile, managed to scrounge up enough decent baseballs to play two of the three scheduled games over the weekend, falling to the Vipers 14-5 on Saturday and 2-1 on Sunday in game one of a doubleheader. The series finale was canceled on account of rain, which you don’t need us to tell you is actually a legitimate reason for canceling a baseball game.
After this debacle — just the latest in an ongoing saga involving the drama-plagued Fielders — we can understand why alleged partial owner Kevin Costner doesn’t flaunt his affiliation with the team.
[h/t Hot Clicks]