The art of the rain delay

By Nick Gray | @KYKernelGray

ngray@kykernel.com

Two seasons ago, Clemson and Davidson put on a show for those in attendance during a rain delay by playing human bowling, red rover, and enjoying a dance-off.

In 2009, South Florida and Connecticut organized their own dance-off in a video that was shown on ESPN the next day and has over 1.2 million views on YouTube since.

Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic even acted out skits in one rain delay, moving around in their own invisible rollercoaster and fake fighting (presumably) inside a man-made circle.

So what do UK baseball players do when the tarp is on the field and the rain is coming down during a rain delay?

The 4 p.m. first pitch for the season opener between UK and Murray State morphed into a 7 p.m. first start after two waves of rain showers pushed the game time back three hours.

Players from both teams finished their pre-game batting practice around 3:15 p.m. before the tarp covered the infield.

Neither team ventured out of the dugout for any special extra-curricular activities. The Cats had little reason to head into the rain with the air conditioned digs at their leisure.

In the home clubhouse a player’s room is available to the team, complete with a pool table, ping pong table and big screen television. Couches are on hand as well for the players to put their feet up and wait for game time.

UK head coach Gary Henderson didn’t find the opportunity to shoot pool or play table tennis an enjoyable one.

“It was really nothing exciting at all,” Henderson said of the rain delay. “I looked at the radar a bunch of it, too much.”

Sophomore right handed pitcher Chandler Shepherd said he got some food and tried to relax and focus on the game while spending time with his teammates.

“Our club likes to have a good time,” he said. “Most of us were in the barn outside … having fun,” Shepherd said. “We were having some fun. But we don’t get too carried away because we still have a game to play.”

Sophomore first baseman and left handed pitcher A.J. Reed used the three hour delay much differently than Shepherd.

Before his first inning home run over the right field, which came against the wind, Reed said he spent the majority of his time in the Cats private all-purpose having fun with his team mates.

“We were in the barn, and we had a couple guys messing around,” Reed said. “We acted like we were pitching (with their) opposite hand and guys acting like they’re swinging and having a good time waiting. I was one of those guys too. My right arm is going to be tired tomorrow.”

Would Reed and his teammates ever post videos of their antics onto the Internet?

“Probably not, “he said. “It’s pretty embarrassing. I can’t really throw right handed.”

Reed may get the chance to work on his right-handed fastballs Wednesday with the 4 p.m. first pitch also in danger of the elements.

The Weather Channel forecasts a 70 percent chance of some type of precipitation at the scheduled game time, with temperatures diving under 40 degrees.

If only the all-purpose barn had a camera inside to broadcast the ambidextrous Cats.