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Hope for ballgames springs eternal

From the sidelines

Hope springs eternal, or as ball teams think-hope for a nice spring.

The lyric from the song 'Let It Snow' keeps buzzing through my head: 'The weather outside if frightful.'

It wasn't that bad on Monday this week, but last week was a little 'frightful.' The directly overhead thunderstorm on Friday certainly got my attention.

The wife got home from the story and says, 'It's creepy out there.' About that time a big burst of thunder hit. We went out on the porch to watch. You know the old rule of thumb that if you count the seconds from lightening to thunder you can tell how far away a storm is. That's pretty much true. Light travels much faster than sound, so if you count 10 seconds between and divide by five a storm would be two miles away.

Friday's storm was right overhead. The longest count I could get at first was two. It was really loud and crackling. My little Aussie, Tucker, was out on the porch, apparently unfazed. The cat was hiding somewhere. Tucker's predecessor would also have been hiding. He just looks up as if to say, 'Well, that's interesting.'

I stopped watching about the time the rain started blowing onto the covered porch. Then it really rained, no buckets but it could have filled a few.

It occurred to me that the thunderstorm was a fitting end to the month of March. By Portland airport measurements, it was the wettest on record. I have to think it was at least close out here.

Not much ball playing going on, and even track meets were getting moved or cancelled. Tennis and golf were getting in rounds as they could.

So, seeing sunshine on Monday gives me a little hope that it will at least lighten up a bit.

I check a forecast for the next 15 days. It shows rain from a half to a third of an inch Tuesday and Wednesday. Then it's nice for a while, April 5 through April 11. Then it's back to rain through April 16.

This drives athletic directors crazy. There are a lot of spring sports. If you count all the teams, St. Helens has 14 teams to take care of, and Scappoose nine. That's hard to manage when the weather becomes a factor.

A little rainy weather is manageable, but a lot doesn't give some of the fields a chance to dry. Baseball particularly needs a week or so of good weather to play. Both Scappoose and St. Helens are struggling to get their fields ready, and the season should already be under way. How soon they will be ready, depends a lot on the weather. The infields can be prepared, but the outfields take time to drain.

I've seen this sort of thing before-last year comes to mind. Adjustments have to be made. Whether that means weekend doubleheaders, trips to all-weather fields, or something else, the season needs to be played. It can be hard on players.

Scappoose was supposed to host Astoria on Tuesday in baseball, but Athletic Director and baseball Coach Robert Medley was skeptical. He thought the game could be postponed on Monday. The threat of rain Tuesday and Wednesday made it even more unlikely.

St. Helens finally got off to their second game on Monday, but when they get to play at home remains a question mark.

It's difficult when schedules aren't firm, but that comes with living in Oregon. I've heard climate change proponents say the weather in the Pacific Northwest will be wetter. It certainly seems to be the case for the last couple of years.