What was supposed to be the unofficial start of summer turned into a soggy mess at Melaleuca Field as Opening Day for the Idaho Falls Chukars was rained out.
Leading up to the expected start, a few hundred fans adorned in jackets and umbrellas lightly peppered the stands as ushers squeegeed water off the bleachers in anticipation. After what was initially supposed to be a 30-minute delay, the public address announcer told the crowd the game had been called.
Instead, the game was postponed and will be the first of a double-header starting at 6 p.m. tonight. Both games will be seven innings long.
“I better be able to get my cash back, I just handed it to them two seconds ago,” Bob Cannell, 26, said.
Cannell came to the park with his friends, Matt and Alexis Johnson, to celebrate Matt’s 25th birthday. The trio were unhappy as they turned for the exits, unwilling to try again the next day.
“It’s disappointing,” Matt Johnson said. “… Rainy days.”
Matt wasn’t the only fan let down on his birthday. Chad, 21, and Kelsi Wright, 22, recently moved from Oregon where they frequented Eugene Emeralds games. Chad surprised Kelsi with tickets for her birthday because the two wanted to see how the Chukars stacked up with their hometown team.
The couple, huddled under a large blanket, were undeterred by the rain.
“In Oregon they wouldn’t have canceled the game,” Chad said.
The scheduled starting pitcher, third-round draft pick Bryan Brickhouse, was the main attraction for Ken Martin, 60, and Matt Chauvin, 47. Brickhouse, a notable prospect, recently recovered from Tommy John surgery and isn’t expected to be in Idaho Falls for long.
Unfortunately for Martin and Chauvin, team management felt it too much of a risk to put a potential star on the mound in the rain as the announcer told the crowd they have to be extra careful with players returning from injury.
Though many shuffled out of the park in frustration to wait in slow-moving lines in the rain for a voucher to tonight’s game, Andrew Miller, 26, didn’t let the weather ruin his night.
“We’ll be back (today),” he said.
Miller said he frequents the park with his wife and child because of the family-friendly environment. He plans to stay for both of tonight’s games.
Fans attending the first of tonight’s double-header can expect the fireworks display that has become synonymous with the Chukars’ opening night as baseball wasn’t the only attraction to be rained out Monday.