Workers toil on the field as the outfield scoreboard displays notice that a water main break has forced the delay of a baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014. The game was eventually canceled and will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Sunday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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DENVER — The sun was out and the sky was clear around Coors Field. So this was one unusual postponement.
The game between the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds was called off Saturday night because of a water main break just steps from the primary entrance to the ballpark.
It will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Sunday. The first game will start at 4:10 p.m. and the second at 9:10 p.m.
The Rockies originally said the game would be delayed 30 minutes, and that city officials were on their way to fix the issue. There were pools of water visible on the street and sidewalk near Blake Street.
Restrooms inside Coors Field were not working and there were only limited concessions as the water was turned off to the stadium. Yellow tape was put up to keep fans away from the street and police officers patrolled the area.
About 45 minutes after the scheduled first pitch, the Denver Office of Emergency Management requested the game be postponed.
“We were told no restrooms. No concessions. You have to have them,” said fan Don Evans of Denver. “Important parts of a game. They told us they’d have everything fixed.”
Stacy Chesney, a spokesperson for Denver Water, said a pipe installed in the 1900s ruptured around 7:30 p.m. EDT. She also said Coors Field was the only customer in the area without water.
“We’re working as fast as possible to get it repaired,” Chesney said. “We’re really sorry for the inconvenience to the fans.”
Water service was eventually restored to the stadium shortly after midnight, Denver Water later said in a statement.
All this with the sun out and the temperature in the high 80s.
“I wasn’t sure what was happening,” said Reds manager Bryan Price, who met with Rockies skipper Walt Weiss at home plate for several minutes before the game was scrubbed. “There was water on the road, and next thing they are calling the game.”
Rockies second baseman Josh Rutledge was just as stunned. He said it reminded him of a time when he was with the Tri City Dust Devils in Pasco, Washington, during rookie ball and a fire in the area interrupted a contest.
“But I don’t know if the game got canceled,” Rutledge said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”
This has simply been that kind of season for the Rockies. They’re last in the National League and in danger of losing 100 games for the first time in their history.
“Whatever can happen will this year,” Ryan Lewis of Billings, Montana, said. “I’d be surprised if we didn’t have a hurricane.”
The impromptu postponement did help out a few banged-up sluggers. Reds first baseman Todd Frazier was going to take a second night off with a strained lower back.
For the Rockies, first baseman Justin Morneau was a late scratch with a stiff neck.
The Rockies will retire Todd Helton’s No. 17 in a ceremony Sunday. The longtime first baseman wrapped up his 17-year career in the Mile High City last season, departing as the franchise’s career leader in games played (2,247), hits (2,519), doubles (592), homers (369) and RBIs (1,406).
Helton will be the center of attention, something he never really craved during his career.
“He’s going to have all the eyes on him,” said outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who was activated off the disabled list Saturday after missing more than two months. “I know he’s going to feel awkward, but he deserves to feel awkward.”
Cuddyer firmly believes Helton belongs in Cooperstown.
“He’s a Hall of Famer,” Cuddyer said. “I’d put his numbers up to anybody’s. He’s up there with them.”
Reds: INF Brandon Phillips (left thumb) was 0 for 2 with a walk and played seven innings during a rehab game with Triple-A Louisville on Friday. Price wants to see how the rest of the weekend goes for Phillips before making any decisions on when he might rejoin the team. “We’re anxious to have him back,” Price said.
Rockies: LHP Franklin Morales missed his start Friday when his wife went into labor. Morales proudly announced his wife had a girl they named Mariana Elena. She was born at 5:37 p.m. Friday and weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces.
Reds: RHP Mat Latos (4-3) will start the first game and RHP Dylan Axelrod the second. Axelrod is taking the place of Homer Bailey, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right elbow.
Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (6-1) gets the ball in the afternoon contest and LHP Yohan Flande (0-5) will go that night. Flande will try for his first major league win in his eighth start.