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The Cubs defend their grounds crew

Aug 21, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

Wrigley Tarp Getty Images

While Major League Baseball officially faulted the Cubs grounds crew for how the tarp was wound before the game the other night, the Cubs, not surprisingly, have their guys’ backs. Paul Sullivan of the Tribune reports the comments of the team spokesman:

“We have the best ground crew in the business. These guys make a living exercising precision, and there should be no thought or any question these guys fumbled the ball. They step up to the plate and do this with a guy who’s led our crew for decades. Even after last night’s game, I would put my money on Roger Baird every time.”

Additional comments from the team explain that the crew was short-staffed as well, and why that was. I presume the staffing policy is something the team will quietly reevaluate.

I think that’s good form from the team. While I was critical of the grounds crew and stand by that criticism — and while Major League Baseball was critical as well — replaying the game makes up for the damage done. And it’d be silly to expect the team to beat on its own guys, even if the resumption of the game — which the Cubs wanted to happen as well — had to, by the rules, be premised on the crew’s mistakes.

So play ball in Wrigley. And hope for clear skies.

  1. Uncle Charlie - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    I see you still have a chapped ass after getting trolled yesterday.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      How so, exactly? By posting the team’s comments?

  2. karlkolchak - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    “…there should be no thought or any question these guys fumbled the ball.”

    True–it was more like a pick-six.

  3. jxegh - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Don’t give in, Craig! Those guys wear clown shoes!

    Well, at least for that day.

  4. pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Jeez, Craig. Still? Would you like a hand written apology from each of the Cubs grounds crew responsible for your extreme disgust in this matter?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Could you please point to where I’m showing “extreme disgust” here? Because to me it looks like I’m noting that the team is defending its guys and I’m approving of them having their guys’ backs. If I did not mention this, you all would accuse me of ignoring this fact. If I did not mention my previous criticism, you’d say I was trying to run away from it.

      But do go on. I’ll listen. Please explain my “extreme disgust.”

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        I just think you’ve made you point here and have made those guys feel like crap enough between the multiple story’s yesterday and don’t think you needed to reaffirm your position today with, “While I was critical of the grounds crew and stand by that criticism”.

        If anyone should be getting chastised for this it should be the person in the Cubs organization that cut back of the grounds crew for that night.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        So publicizing the fact that their team thinks they did a great job is “making them feel like crap.” Good to know.

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Craig, you’re not here posting this article to show support to the grounds crew but rather to say what the heck are the Cubs talking about with their support to the crew. You’re taking jabs still without even trying.

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        And the team never said they did a “great job” that night as they clearly state they dropped the ball. Read your own article and quote.

      • chinahand11 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Craig you’re doing great. Love your column and shtick. Yay Craig. Yay.

      • renaado - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        Just stick to who you are and what you’re doin Craig, I’d rather have someone who’s honest to one self on what he’s goin to say rather than someone who’s faking it. We are free to point out someones mistakes on what we might think is wrong, just as to those people who might say or think otherwise freely on what they think is right. Don’t let some of these comments against you bothers you.

      • pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

        As for your “extreme disgust”, I’m referring to the four stories you posted yesterday followed by your backhanded compliment story today.

  5. pete2112 - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    excuse my typo *stories*

  6. 78mu - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    No one in Chicago is going to be mad at Roger Baird. He’s won just as many championships in the last 100 years as the team has.

  7. Tim's Neighbor - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    I can’t recall if this was a day game, but if so then the staff is usually lighter as the vast majority of ground crew guys are part-timers, so they probably have day jobs. Though it is Wrigley, so day games are way more prevalent. Still, it was a pretty awful job and I’m sure they’re embarrassed, as they should be. Just like we all get embarrassed when we mess up at the office.

    • Alex K - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Former grounds crew member!

  8. jm91rs - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, there was some question about whether or not the crew was allowed to cover the field before getting permission from the rooftop owners. Eventually the Cubs said screw it and the rooftop owners have now taken them to court over the obstructed view of wet dirt.

  9. wallio - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Keep going Craig, this horse might still get up……

  10. sportsfan18 - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Couple points here…

    It was big of the Cubs to offer to continue playing at a later date…

    It was big of the Cubs to offer a free ticket to another game to the fans at that game…

    But, they shouldn’t have said this… “These guys make a living exercising precision…”

    IF they did exercise with precision, the tarp would have made it over the infield…

    The tarp did NOT make it over the infield and there were reasons for it… namely a lack of precision…

  11. philliesblow - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    To paraphrase what the kids say “Incompetence recognize incompetence”

  12. chicagoteamster - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Calcalterra keeps sending violets to the Ricketts. The Sun-Times’ sources contradict the club’s claim that the grounds crew was staffed normally. Their sources claim that the club sent experienced grounds crew members home early to comply with new staffing policies (e.g. chain retail or fastfood staffing practices).
    This hits home because the Ricketts have used the “rebuilding” era to short player payroll as well.

    • chicagoteamster - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      please excuse the typo Mr Calcaterra

  13. Bob Loblaw - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    The thing that bothers me about this whole mess is that nobody seems to think that the umpires took too damn long to call for the tarps, which had an effect on the use of the tarp to begin with. Sure, the ground crew was partially to blame. But to not put even the slightest bit of blame on the umpires, who in the minds of many baseball people, took far too long to call for the tarps, is pretty lame.

    Maybe I missed it, but did Craig mention the umps at all in any of the 4 articles he wrote on this subject the last 24 hours?

    • wallio - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      Of course not.

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Not once. Nor did he mention the head groundskeeper. There was no real attempt to figure out what went wrong or why.

      He just felt like piling on working stiffs for no good reason other than the fact that he’s a smug, entitled, soft white collar co-bag.

      The fact that there were not enough guys on the crew and their task was physically impossible didn’t deter Craig from making fun of those poor guys and cluelessly assigning blame. Not one bit.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      Thanks for your repeated input, Joe Lunchpail.

      • derklempner - Aug 21, 2014 at 5:35 PM

        It wouldn’t have to be repeated if you took the time to cover all of the facets of what happened that night. The umpires have a role as well, and if a 15-minute downpour (that accumulates a whole inch of rain in that time) is enough to cause a problem, the umpires probably should’ve been able to recognize the severity of the weather sooner than they did.

        To call out the Cubs’ groundscrew multiple times – even if you’re going to champion the team’s front office for standing behind their employees this once – without even a single mention of the other factors involved in starting the delay, then you’re not doing your due diligence as a reporter. You’re just acting like a cheesed-off baseball fan who wants to pile it on the Cubs’ organization/fans as you’ve done in past articles.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Yet MLB did not cite the umpires in their decision to uphold the protest. It was based solely on the grounds crew’s efforts.

      • Uncle Charlie - Aug 22, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        LOL trolled again so sad

      • derklempner - Aug 22, 2014 at 3:49 PM

        Yet MLB did not cite the umpires in their decision to uphold the protest. It was based solely on the grounds crew’s efforts.

        Yes, because when MLB doesn’t bring up a point in a situation, you’ve never gone to the trouble of mentioning it before, correct?

        At least show some consistency. Other than the consistent mad-on you seem to have towards the Cubs and their fans.

  14. windycity0301 - Aug 21, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    And it’s all moot, Cubs get the win anyway. Glad they played it though.

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