One of the worst beatings I narrowly avoided in my insufferably mouthy twenties came at a South Philadelphia bar after a Flyers playoff win when my friends and I were standing next to some of the guys who worked at the Center taking care of the ice. None of the jokes I told were especially funny, but at least they weren’t very clever, either.

“So, if you guys don’t show, does the ice just melt?”

“When you apply for that job, do you submit a resume or just a picture of your hosing down your back yard in January?”

“Have the Flyers ever ended up playing in roller blades on the hard wood because you guys messed up?”

And so on. I definitely should have lost some teeth that night.

Anyway, this story popped into my head tonight as the condition of the field mere hours from the start of tonight’s scheduled game with the Washington Nationals led to some pretty interesting scenes:

To the surprise of few, this creative but extremely limited solution did not have the desired effect:

As the start time approached, and then passed, the explanation for why the field was in this condition made its way onto the Phillies’ pregame show and was disseminated elsewhere. What happened? The Phillies had a scheduled maintenance day on Friday for the tarp not to be on the field, got a lot more rain than they expected, and then it never stopped raining all weekend so the field never properly dried out:

To the Phillies’ credit — maybe because there was nothing else to do, but still — they have been entirely honest about what happened here:

And the Phillies are even being more than reasonable about trying to make this bad situation better with regard to the ability to exchange your ticket for tonight’s game, if that’s what you need to do:

But there are some uncomfortable truths to face about this marginally humorous postponement. Jake Arrieta was scheduled to start tonight against Erick Fedde, a 1-3 pitcher this season with a 6.00 ERA in 33 innings. For a team as win-starved as the Phillies have been lately, this looked like a premium opportunity to slow the team’s slide in the standings.

In the longer view, one of the Nationals who spent the most time toeing the infield dirt while the grounds crew tried to salvage the night was soon-to-be free agent outfielder Bryce Harper. If the Phillies have any sincere interest in trying to sign Harper, this really wasn’t the best advertisement for the Phillie experience — especially since Harper has previously been betrayed by poor field conditions in the recent past.

Ultimately this agronomic mishap will be a footnote in a season full of more interesting stories. Still, there really isn’t any excuse for the Phillies’ grounds crew to have screwed up this badly:

Cecily and the gang tried to warn you people.

It’s too bad I don’t know any Phillies groundskeepers, because I got jokes.