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CHICAGO -- Years from now they'll be talking about that winter day back in the spring of '18 when the Cubs came roaring back from an eight-run deficit, scoring nine runs on three hits in the eighth inning with a hawk wind in their face and freezing rain blowing sideways.

Baseball was not meant to be played in a nor'easter, yet it was.

"If we all don't come out of here with pneumonia I think we'll be alright," Braves reliever Luke Jackson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution afterward.

Not so fast, Jackson.

On Sunday the Braves announced Jackson had been designated for assignment, though the good news was he apparently did not catch pneumonia on Saturday.

Fans who stuck around for the end of the game seemed quite happy, despite the cold and rain. They can say they were there.

But the Braves, who also were there, physically if not mentally, unloaded a boatload of complaints to the media afterward over the decision to play in such brutal conditions.

They were discussing numbed hands and feet, and voicing concerns over an infielder possibly tearing his shoulder throwing the ball to first. The Braves were deservedly miffed, although the fact they blew an eight-run lead in Little League fashion should also be factored into their collective disgust.

Still, even Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said they were the worst conditions he'd ever seen a game played in, and conceded it never should've been played in the first place.

So why was it played?

Maddon didn't name names, but the decision was in the hands of the Cubs, meaning any finger-pointing should be directed at President of Business Operations Crane Kenney, who makes the final call after discussions with the baseball operations department.

But Major League Baseball officials in New York also have to approve all postponements and strongly encourage teams to play unless it's impossible, so save one finger for them as well. Plenty of finger-pointing to go around.

Sunday's game against the Braves was postponed -- a wise decision -- and will now be played on May 14. It wasn't officially postponed until 10:29 a.m., though one glance at The Weather Channel at 8 a.m. would've prompted any sane person to conclude there was no chance of the game actually being played.

Before postponing the home opener last Monday, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts explained it was difficult to make weather-based decisions playing in Chicago: "You never know what tomorrow is going to be like. Unfortunately, weather predictions aren't predictable enough to really lean on, regardless of what the actual weather does."

The Cubs' problem is that almost everyone in Chicago knows the five-day forecast, since every local newscast devotes about 10 minutes to the weather. There is no shortage of amateur meteorologists in this city.

The Cubs also may be a little gun shy when it comes to pulling the trigger after last year's fiasco when a May 20 game against the Brewers was postponed early. Their decision was based on a rainy forecast, only to have the sun come out later on, turning it into a nice, spring day.

That no-rain rainout led to Brewers Manager Craig Counsell's oft-quoted jab at Cubs management: "First time, for us, that we've had players treated for sunburn after a rainout."

Of course, the Cubs practically invented the no-rain rainout. On Aug. 23, 1999, they delayed the start of a game against the Giants for 3 hours and 45 minutes despite no sign of rain for the first two hours after the scheduled 7 p.m. start.

The Giants were furious, and owner Peter Magowan called the Cubs a "bush-league operation." Two days later, Barry Bonds hit three home runs as the Giants swept a doubleheader, including one that landed across Sheffield Avenue.

It came against -- you guessed it -- Steve Rain.

Sports on 04/16/2018

Print Headline: Cubs' weather decisions partly cloudy

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