Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6th, 1957

Fog Out

Having done another weather-related first just a few days ago, it only seems fitting to do another one today. There are a lot of things that can force the cancellation or halting of a ball game. The still most popular option, even in the days of domes and retractable roofs is rain, but one occasionally sees a game snowed out. (Rain is still sometimes a problem in the age of domes; today in Houston in 1976 the city was largely flooded from a rain storm, forcing the cancellation of a game even though the AstroDome itself remained bone dry; twenty fans had actually canoed to the ballpark in the hopes the game would be played anyway.) Darkness used to be the cause of many games being called early, but stadium lighting has eliminated that. Every once in a great while, games that go an especially long time were called on account of a curfew, although I believe the Major Leagues have since abolished that.

On this day in 1957, however, the Dodgers and Cubs discovered a to that point unknown reason for calling off a Major League game: fog. When the teams (and umpires) arrived at Ebbets Field, they noticed it was covered with the sort of fog better suited to Victorian-era London. So foggy, in fact, that they couldn't even see the outfield from home plate. (By the way, I deserve lots of credit here for not making a Mel Tormé joke.) The umpires waited nearly an hour and a half, but it became apparent that the fog was not lifting.

The game was called off, producing the first "Fog-Out" in Major League history. Although it was probably unrelated, one can't help but notice that the Dodgers moved out of Brooklyn and to California the very next season. Of course, as it turned out, the joke was on the O'Malley family, Brooklyn might've had occasional fog, but Los Angeles has perpetual smog.

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