Downpour has Cubs-Dbacks on hold

CHICAGO -- The city of Chicago needed rain, but probably not all of it at once.

Heavy rains Friday were good for the drought-stricken city, but not so accommodating to the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, who were trying to open the second half at Wrigley Field.

About 15 minutes before the 1:20 p.m. CST start, the Cubs announced a delay even though the sun was shining. Clouds moved in slowly, eventually leading to a downpour that was so heavy it nearly obscured the center field scoreboard from the seats behind home plate.

The delay had reached the two-hour mark as of 3:20 p.m. CST.

Fans were crammed onto the concourses to avoid the shower, with those in the upper deck getting soaked when rain blew in under the roof.

At one point, standing water in the Cubs’ bullpen and in front of the dugout was over ankle deep. The Cubs on-deck circle floated some 20 feet toward the area behind home plate.

Once the second half of the season starts, any time a team is on its last or only visit to a city, the start time after a weather delay is at the discretion of the umpires. This is the Diamondbacks’ only visit to Wrigley Field this season.

Complicating matters is the fact that the teams have only one mutual off day if they wanted to reschedule. But playing on that day would force the Diamondbacks to play in 31 consecutive games and that isn’t likely to happen.

Scheduling a Saturday or Sunday doubleheader also had its issues. The Cubs would no doubt want to have a day-night doubleheader instead of a traditional back-to-back twin bill that would cost them one game’s worth of revenue.

But a city ordinance prohibits night games on the weekend that aren’t dictated by national television. They have a noon start Saturday but couldn’t play the second game until 6 p.m. because of a national-television window.

Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m., which would force a second game into an evening start.