51s begin 2016 season with 2 games, 2 rainouts

In anticipation of more rain expected to hit Las Vegas, the 51s doubleheader against the Fresno Grizzlies at Cashman Field was scrapped about an hour before it was scheduled to start Sunday.

The 51s and the Grizzlies were supposed to play two seven-inning games on Sunday after also getting rained out Saturday.

With no tarp, growing pools of water in the infield made the field unplayable. A spring storm hit the valley this weekend, with some areas receiving more than 1 inch of rain.

“It doesn’t rain here. We’ve had fewer rainouts probably than anybody in baseball over a period of time. It’s one of those things,” 51s president and chief operating officer Don Logan said. “Mother Nature wins always.”

The grounds crew uses Turface clay to absorb water, which would help dry out the infield to a certain extent. But without a long break in rain, any work the grounds crew could have done to make the field playable would have been negated.

The 51s have yet to announce specific dates for the makeup games. But they expect to play a six-game series in four days from Aug. 3-6 when the Grizzlies next come to Las Vegas.

Before last season, when the 51s had two rainouts, there hadn’t been a rainout at Cashman Field since 2008.

“We had a tarp and it sat there for like 10 years and never got rolled out and then when we finally went to roll it out, it had dry rotted and it fell apart,” Logan said.

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Logan said they’d roll out that tarp once or twice a year — maybe. Now, they have mini tarps that cover the home plate, the pitching mound and the bullpen areas.

Monday’s forecast calls for more rain, but the 51s hope to get their night game with Sacramento in. Gabriel Ynoa, who was originally scheduled to start first on Saturday and then Sunday, will get the ball.

Fans holding tickets to Sunday’s games can exchange them for any other day of the season except for April 26 and July 4 subject to availability.

This marked the first time since 1984 that the team has had consecutive rainouts at Cashman Field.

While the team was on the road, Logan said it rained harder than it has this week.

“We got back and there was an area in right-center field probably about 30 yards by 50 yards that there was a water pit. The water wouldn’t drain. That was before we put a drain system in,” Logan said.

Though Cashman Field is much better off this time around with the water mostly confined to the infield, the consecutive rainouts have caused somewhat of a logistically headache.

“(Saturday was) giveaway night. The Nevada Donor Network had purchased 4,000 tickets. We were going to have a big crowd. We had 8,000 tickets off the system last night, so just from a financial standpoint, it’s a big hit,” Logan said. “But you’ve got safety, not only for the players — the field with all the rain is unplayable and not safe — but for the fans, it’s slippery so you just can’t do it.”

Betsy Helfand can be reached at bhelfand@reviewjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @BetsyHelfand

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