Chukars opener rained out

Members of the Idaho Falls Chukars groundcrew roll out the tarp to cover the infield Monday night as the rain forced the home opener at Melaleuca Field to be canceled.

The rain did what O.J. Simpson couldn’t Monday night, dealing Idaho Falls Chukars general manager Kevin Greene his worst opening night in 21 years.

The rain came down and washed the Chukars out, pushing Opening Day back 23 hours and forcing today’s scheduled doubleheader against the Orem Owlz.

The weather hasn’t always been the best for Greene’s teams on Opening Day, but Monday’s cancellation was his first in a home season opener.

“We’ve had some cold opening days back in the early 1990s, but never a rainout,” Greene said. “And then there was 1994.”

In 1994, exactly 20 years ago today, Simpson was sitting in the back seat of his white Ford Bronco, taking a slow ride with a loaded pistol, Al Cowlings and about 20 of his favorite law enforcement buddies.

At the same time in eastern Idaho, Greene was standing in front of then-McDermott Field, wondering where all the baseball fans were.

“Then somebody called me and told me about the O.J. Simpson thing, and it was going on right when we were getting started,” Greene said. “That was my previous worst Opening Day.”

With the grills running and the umbrellas flying, hardcore Chukars fans were wiping the rain off seats and trying to keep stiff upper lips as the big tarp was drawn over the infield.

After consulting with field staff, Chukars manager Omar Ramirez made the call to postpone the game at 7:20. Ramirez made the call in part due to the throwing shoulder of scheduled starter Bryan Brickhouse, who was making a rehab start following Tommy John surgery.

“You can’t put a top prospect out on the mound for a rehab start on a day like this,” Greene said. “That’s not how you develop players.”

The Chukars and Owlz will play the first of two scheduled seven-inning games tonight beginning at 6. Rain is also expected today.