HOUSTON — The Astrodome. Where games postponed due to bad weather were a thing of the past. Until this one day: June 15, 1976.
The Astros had a night game against Pittsburgh. But it rained and rained and rained in the Houston area for hours. More than 7 1/2 inches flooded the streets and highways. Only 10 or 20 fans managed to get to the ballpark. To Astros general manager Tal Smith, it was obvious the game should be called off, but some disagreed.
“When I first mentioned this, there were some people (within the front office) thought it could be a negative (publicity),” Smith said. “I said, ‘To the contrary, I think it’s the practical thing to do.’”
The game was eventually postponed.
“It’s not exactly a rainout,” explained a team spokesman to The Associated Press. “It’s a rain-in. We’re bone dry inside.”
And the players? They couldn’t leave the Astrodome due to the high water so Astros team officials decided to host a picnic. The Astros and Pirates enjoyed dinner together on folding tables near second base.
“We had steaks and stuff on the field with the other team,” mentioned Enos Cabell, the team’s third baseman. “We were sitting there laughing.”
Both clubs, however, broke an official major league rule: no fraternizing while in uniform.
Then again, who would enforce it? The umps couldn’t get to the game, either.
The first postponement of an indoor baseball game due to weather? The ‘rain-in’ is a strange but true Houston sports story.
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