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Nationals aren’t MLB’s only soggy team

September 26, 2018

As soon as the Nationals’ win over the Marlins on Monday night was completed, the multi-colored tarp went back on the infield at Nationals Park.

“Taste the rainbow,” read the familiar candy-sponsored tarp.

Whether it’s Skittles in the District, L.L. Bean in Boston or Reynolds Wrap in Chicago, the companies that paid to put their logos on protective tarps this summer got their money’s worth, as Major League Baseball suffered the most rainouts in more than two decades.

Through Monday, the 57 postponed games this season were the highest number since 1997, when 53 games were called because of weather. This season’s figure is just one short of the record 58 called in 1989, according to Michael Teevan of MLB Communications in New York.

Last season, there were only 39 rainouts.

The Nationals have seen their share this season. Washington’s game on Sunday against the Mets was played in a steady rain throughout the contest, which lasted four hours and 14 minutes.

And a light rain during Monday’s game didn’t dampen the devotion of Nationals fan Ray Mitten, 57, of Arlington even though his team was eliminated from playoff contention Saturday.

“Why wouldn’t I come? I waited 33 years for a team,” Mitten said, while wearing a red Nationals jacket, blue jersey and jeans, after entering Nationals Park. “I am here for the joy of the game.”

Mitten began following baseball in 1970 at 9 years old. Then the next year, the Washington Senators left town to become the Texas Rangers. He became a season ticket holder when the Nationals began playing at RFK Stadium 13 years ago.

Mitten, who has missed just a few games this season, said he has gotten used to rain.

The Nationals were rained out at home on May 16 and 18, July 21, Aug. 4 and Sept. 9.

It rained the afternoon of the All-Star game at Nationals Park on July 17, but the exhibition began on time and was not delayed.

In an odd event, the Nationals game on Sept. 10 in Philadelphia was called off due to wet grounds after the grounds crew did not put tarp on the field the previous weekend.

Washington, fittingly, was rained out on Opening Day in Cincinnati on March 29 and the game was made up the following day.

The Washington Nationals end the season on the road this weekend with three games in Denver against the Colorado Rockies. The forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of rain Friday, but no rain is in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday.

Of course, the Rockies could play in the snow in October if they make the playoffs.

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