About 8 inches of snow blanketed Coors Field overnight, and after declining the use of heavy machinery for fear of damaging the playing surface, the Rockies threw together an army of employees and executives in a frantic effort to rid the field of snow.
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The game started more than two hours late, fewer than 1,500 fans braved subfreezing temperatures, and the Mets appeared only half-thawed in a sloppy 8-4 loss to the Rockies in the matinee of a doubleheader. They then blew a six-run lead and lost the second game, 9-8, in 10 innings.
But in these brutal conditions, the Mets scored a victory by simply taking the field. Not only did they play the first game but the nightcap started on time, an important development for a team that can't afford to have more games washed away.
Wintry weather forced the postponement of Sunday's game at Minnesota and a massive winter storm snowed out Monday's scheduled series opener against the Rockies, resulting in Tuesday's doubleheader.
A postponement likely would have forced the Mets to return to Colorado later in the season for schedule-wrecking makeup games. With more bad weather in the forecast, the problem would have been accentuated had the Mets played none of their games Tuesday.
"We don't want to have to come back here,'' manager Terry Collins said. "I mean, it's a great city and all the other things, but we don't want to have to fly back here for a doubleheader or anything else.''
Considering the circumstances, the Mets were fortunate to get one game in after the storm caught the Rockies off guard to deal with the conditions.
With only shovels, sweat and a few small John Deere tractors at their disposal, the Rockies' monumental clearing project began before 8 a.m.
"I actually was just looking around,'' Monfort said of the snow-covered field he found Tuesday morning. "I was trying to come up with ideas on how to get this snow out of here, which were all [bad] ideas. And I just sort of just grabbed a shovel and the next thing you know it's like noon.''
Monfort's army grew as team employees flocked to the field. People from all departments joined in the effort. It took more than six hours of work, a total of 75 shovels -- some borrowed from the Broncos -- and countless sore backs and knees.
Alderson grabbed a shovel, underscoring just how badly the Mets want to clear these games from the schedule.
Said Monfort: "He's as interested if not more interested than we are in getting as many of these in as possible.''
At 3:12 p.m. -- little more than two hours after the game originally was scheduled -- Rockies righthander Juan Nicasio threw the first pitch. The scoreboard read 39 degrees, the outfield remained slick, and according to several weather services, the mercury dipped below freezing.
Yet, the conditions were barely passable.
The Mets and Rockies won't have much of a reprieve. Forecasts are calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow Wednesday night with a low temperature of 19 degrees, leaving the teams staring at another likely snowout. In that case, the Mets could be in a similar spot Thursday, desperate to squeeze in a doubleheader.
"We may have to think about how we're going to do it Thursday to get that game in, too,'' Monfort said. "I'm sure we'll sit down and talk about some better ideas.''