By STEVEN WINE, Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — Rain washed out batting practice Wednesday at Marlins Park.
And yes, the $634-million ballpark has a retractable roof.
The roof was open when a rain cell developed over the ballpark nearly four hours before the start of the Marlins' game against the Washington Nationals. Showers fell for nearly 15 minutes before the roof began to close.
Curious players emerged from the clubhouse to watch as the grounds crew scrambled to cover the infield with a tarp. Puddles quickly accumulated on warning track, and thanks to a spillover from the field, muddy water soon stood eight inches deep in a photo bay near the Marlins' dugout.
The aquariums behind home plate were unaffected.
"The fish are laughing at us," a security guard said as the rain fell.
The weather cell sprung up unexpectedly, Marlins vice president Claude Delomme said, and there was a delay in closing the roof because of safety issues.
"We have to make sure everything has been clear," he said. "But as soon as we saw there was a cell right above us, we covered the infield. As long as we do that, that's all I care about."
Batting practice was canceled, just like old times for the Marlins, but the game was unaffected.
Because of South Florida's heat and frequent rain, the roof has been closed for all but four games. But it's otherwise open most of the time so the natural grass can be exposed to sunshine, and the field drains quickly after a shower, Delomme said.
"We designed it as an open facility, because 97 percent of the time it's open," he said. "For us to get rain actually is a good thing. It's going to happen a few times a year that we're going to get surprise cells."