July 29, 2012
Rain does not make people want to come to the ballpark. People checking the weather before the game see it will rain, or is raining, and plans to go to the ballpark get cancelled. Rain happens during the game, people leave.
Rain also doesn't make for good ballhawking. Or does it? Yes, if there is rain during batting practice, it will probably be cancelled, but how many less people will be there due to the rain? Who wants to show up 2 hours early when all it will be doing is raining? That's exactly the point.
Pitchers for the opposing team warm up almost any day despite the rain. If it is raining, you will probably be the only person in the stands wearing their gear. At that point, they're almost obligated to throw you the ball if you can just name their name. If none of the other other pitchers see you get a first ball, you can get a second from a different pitcher. Think about it this way, it's like going to a day game after a night game and not having to deal with all of the people.
This is just if it *is* raining. Many times, though, it doesn't take rain to keep people away from the ballpark. If there is simply a threat of rain, people may not show up. If you go to a ballpark where there are usually a lot of ballhawks, they may not show up because it may rain. If it so happens it doesn't rain during batting practice, you have a regular batting practice with much less people, and you just may set a personal best.
As for the game itself; if it does rain during the game, there will be MUCH less people in the stands. Rain creates ideal situations for snagging "game" balls. You will have much more room to run for that home run or foul ball. Or, even, you will have less competition for third-out balls, and you just might get more than one at the dugout. The bottom line is: interesting things happens when it rains, so don't avoid a game simply for that reason.
I must note, it is you who must judge the risk you are taking. All I want to convey is the worst case scenario when it rains may not be as bad as you think it is, and the best case scenario may be a special day for you. That said, all rain situations are not equal. Rain that happens right after batting practice is much better than rain that ends right after batting practice ends. Also, some grounds crews are more hesitant with the tarp than others. You may not want to go to a game where it is merely overcast and the tarp is on the field. If your grounds crew keeps the batting practices cages up until it actually starts to pour, though, you may want to go to a few games where there is a threat of rain.
Mateo Fischer is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.