Sam Wainhaus
Commissioner Sam Wainhaus is by profession a scientist who works in the biotechnology industry. He is one of the owners of the RJSL. 

The Commish Speaks: Rainouts
Sunday, June 14, 2009

This was not intended to be the first topic that was discussed, however, certain emails left me so mortified and sickened that I really had no other choice. My first blog on game length will be posted shortly since I would like to strike while the iron is hot so to speak. Someone asked me over Shabbos why I was writing these blogs and there are several reasons. Firstly, I want everyone to understand the reasons behind the rules, decisions and philosophy of the RJSL and secondly, I do not want to have to explain these things on an individual basis. Marv and I have normal jobs and family obligations that occupy most of our time and we simply cannot sit down with all of you individually and explain the reasons for our decisions.

Now, let’s get to it. Rainouts are a part of life and baseball. It’s depressing when it happens but it is inevitable. Moreover, it is unpredictable in its nature. How much rain, when did it rain and what was the weather like after it rained are all critical parameters in this equation.

One of the benefits of the RJSL is that we have the privilege of playing on a beautiful, well maintained field. One of the drawbacks of this field is that it does not drain well and the town/field crews are very picky about field conditions. If they are not satisfied with the safety of the field, they will not allow us to play on it. Typically, a game is on unless we are notified by the Parks Department. After this notification, we immediately call the captains and send out an email indicating that the game is cancelled. Right off the bat you should see that your inquiries to your captain and/or the commissioners regarding if a game is on or not is both a waste of your time and an annoyance to the captains and the commissioners. You will know as soon as we do since the captains will subsequently call or send an email to their teams and a notification will be posted on the website. This usually works quite well.

We DO NOT cancel games based on the threat of rain or our intuition of whether or not the field will be playable. We wait to hear from the Parks Department and then follow the formula described above. The commissioners do not go out to the field for each game and run a soil moisture analysis. We wait for the information from the town and relay that information in a timely manner. This usually works and is an unfortunate inconvenience of not having a retractable dome. However, it is certainly no different than playing in any other league, including the MLB.

There are times when the rain/weather occurs close to game time or even worse, occurs overnight prior to a Sunday morning game as happened today. In those rare situations where a game is cancelled just prior to game-time, players will show up for the game and unfortunately be turned away. It is amazing to me that normal, rational people cannot grasp this on their own, but I guess we are not called Am Kshei Oref for nothing. The fact that you had to get up early on a Sunday morning (Minyan anyone? rJsl) and make the 10 minute drive to the field, only to find out the field is not playable, should be your worst tzara in life. I find it incomprehensible and deplorable that certain individuals simply do not get it. Even if this blog is a wakeup call to one of these people, then it is well worth the time investment.

There are times when it starts to rain on Motzei Shabbos and then stops with a decrease in humidity and an increase in wind speed, thus allowing the field to dry efficiently. Other times, like last night, the rain does not let up and we wake up to unplayable conditions. Sometimes, it rains so much that even though Sunday morning is sunny and 80 degrees, we cannot play. It comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors; therefore we wait for the call. If no call comes in then the game is on. It’s simple and can result in some inconvenience. But, at the end of the day, it is your decision to participate. If you consider this inconvenience too much too handle, then you are free to find another league that handles these situations better (good luck) or start your own league with a meteorologist on staff (you will still have the same issues). Either way, please cease with the nasty and really self gratifying emails and replace it with a thank you to your captains and commissioners for providing this opportunity to play on a beautiful field, in a fun, competitive league with wonderful people.
Sam Wainhaus