Just call it going from the slime to the ridiculous to the sublime.
In a dizzying and wearying 24-hour period, the Cubs went from presumably winning a game against the Giants to having that game protested to being forced to pick up where they left off because of mucky playing conditions at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs went to bed in the wee hours of Wednesday thinking they had won a rain-shortened 2-0 victory. The game was stopped after 4½ innings because of a heavy but brief rainstorm and delayed 4 hours and 34 minutes while a beleaguered grounds crew worked frantically to dry out the infield dirt.
The suddenness and severity of the rain, coupled with the grounds crew's inability to get the tarp onto the field quickly enough -- the basis for the Giants' protest -- caused the skin of the infield to look something like quicksand.
Umpires called the game at 1:16 a.m. Wednesday, giving the Cubs a victory in a then-official game.
However, the Giants filed a protest with Major League Baseball, citing a mechanical failure with the tarp, which was their only hope of the game being suspended and picked up.
MLB agreed, and the teams will resume Tuesday's game at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Cubs will come to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning. After that game is over, they'll play Thursday night's regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m.
Jacob Turner will pitch for the Cubs in relief of Tsuyoshi Wada, who gets a complete-game shutout removed from his record.
The Giants had sought a forfeit victory, but MLB's executive vice president Joe Torre didn't go that far.
"An examination of the circumstances of last night's game has led to the determination that there was sufficient cause to believe that there was a 'malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club' within the meaning of Official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3)," an MLB statement read. "Available video of the incident, and conversations with representatives of the Cubs, demonstrate that the Cubs' inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use.
"As a result, the groundskeeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened. In accordance with Rule 4.12(a)(3), the game should be considered a suspended game that must be completed at a future date.
"In addition, Major League Baseball has spoken with last night's crew chief, Hunter Wendelstedt, and has concluded that the grounds crew worked diligently in its attempt to comply with his direction and cover the field. Thus, there is no basis for the game to be forfeited by the Cubs pursuant to Rule 4.16. "
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who was fuming early Wednesday, was more subdued before the teams met for the second game of the series Wednesday night.
"We just appreciate Major League Baseball reviewing this protest," Bochy said. "They did all they could last night. I'm talking about Major League Baseball trying to get this right, and the Cubs. I talked to Rick (Cubs manager Renteria). Certain other people talked to Theo (Cubs president Epstein). They wanted to do the right thing, too."
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer admitted that the right ruling was reached. He noted he wants the Cubs to win the game, "but they (the Giants) will get a fair shot at winning the game now."
"I'm glad about the outcome," Hoyer added. "I think it's a good result. The last thing we want is a playoff team feeling bitter about the results here. It was something, obviously, that was caused by our organization."
Hoyer also declined to characterize the ruling as an indictment of the grounds crew or anyone with the Cubs.
"No," he said. "Our grounds crew does a great job. Pretty good batting average. Obviously, you've got to bat 1.000 in this situation, but they're really good at their job. We like working with them. I don't think it's an indictment of anyone and I'm glad the outcome is what it is."
The situation at Wrigley Field on Tuesday into Wednesday was a strange one, with players retreating to their clubhouses and coming back out to watch the grounds crew work in vain to save the field.
On the lighter side, Cubs catcher John Baker brought his guitar into the dugout for some music.
"That's not my fault; it's (Anthony) Rizzo's fault," Baker said. "I was playing my guitar in here (the clubhouse). I played for like 3½ hours. He said, 'Why don't don't you just bring it out? We'll put it on the bench at this point,' because we kept walking out, saying, 'How much longer? How much longer?' "
Previous to this protest, the last one to be upheld came in June 1986 between the Cardinals and Pirates. Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti was with the Yankees in 1983 for the infamous "pine-tar game." Umpires had ruled the Royals' George Brett had too much pine tar on his bat and took away a home run. The Royals protested and won. Righetti seemed surprised the Giants won their protest.
"How couldn't you be?" he said. "How many have been upheld?"
He seemed to revel in Wednesday's result.
"Chicago," he said with a smile. "Why not? It's part of folklore. We'll see. We should have a packed house, right? It's a little history. We didn't get anybody for the pine-tar game, the makeup game. The place was empty. It'll be interesting, I guess. We're looking forward to playing it. I know that."
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