If you go to enough baseball games, sooner or later you’re going to get caught up in a rain delay. And it’s not fun, except for the entertainment value of watching the grounds crew wrestle with an incorrigible tarpaulin infield cover on windy nights. If you have an umbrella with you, it’s not a bad idea to stay in your seat as it passes, sparing your pants and behind from the unpleasant dampness of a rained-on seat after it’s over. But if you aren’t so equipped, you need a plan.
Depending on where you are in the park, there may be spacious enough concourse areas nearby where you can stand comfortably and wait for the weather to clear. But if you are at a game that is sold out or nearly so, you aren’t likely to find many of these with everyone running for cover. And people are going to be buying hot dogs and drinks, so expect a long wait in line if you choose that route (although at least you won’t be missing any action doing so).
The smartest move you can make during a rain delay is to head for the restroom. Yes, I’m serious. If you think there may be a rain delay sometime in the evening, locate where the nearest restrooms are and be ready to make a beeline for them the second the grounds crew goes for the tarp.
There are several reasons why a restroom is the best spot to wait out a downpour. The first and most obvious is to take care of nature’s call. That’s a given of course, but the sound of rain tends to exacerbate such needs, and most patrons are going to be running towards the nearest dry spot before they think of this. The second is that no one is likely to want to spend a rain delay in a bathroom, so it isn’t likely to be too crowded and you won’t have to unwittingly bask in a stranger’s body heat like you would in the concourse areas. And the third and most important reason is the one that no one else thinks of until it’s too late: you are going to need paper towels to dry off your seat when the rain delay is over.
I am fully aware that loitering in a public restroom is low on the list of how American citizens desire to spend their leisure time. But this blog isn’t about acting like royalty–it’s about getting an extra edge when you visit a ballpark. A subway isn’t often the most pleasant way to travel either, but it’s usually better than dealing with congestion and finding a place to park in a city.
All I’m saying is that you can avoid crowds, take care of business that everyone must answer to regardless of their socio-economic position, and prepare for returning to your seat before the bathrooms run out of towels (which they will on a rainy night, believe me). If you have your cell phone handy, give someone you haven’t talked to in a while a call to pass the time. They’ll surely appreciate that you thought of them while you were in the restroom.
Just a couple of cautionary words about using the restroom to wait out Mother Nature. One is that the restroom is NOT for people-watching, no matter how bored you may get, especially if you’re the type to get googly-eyed at anything remotely unusual. For Pete’s sake, leave your camera in your bag. And two, if there aren’t any towels to use, don’t go for the toilet paper. Consider your fellow man and deal with a wet seat.