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Rainout Drought: 2 1/2 weeks, still all clear in MLB

Nyjer Morgan showed up at the ballpark, ready to play on a sunny afternoon. Another winner for the weather.

Told it’s been that way most everywhere, the Washington Nationals center fielder leaned over and knocked on the wooden door of his locker.

No need to jinx this great Rainout Drought.

More than 2 1/2 weeks after opening day, there hasn’t been a single postponement in the majors. Not since 1985 has baseball gone this long into a season without losing a game to rain, snow, volcanic ash or anything else from the sky.

“Really? No kidding?” Colorado pitcher Jason Hammel asked Thursday. “That’s kind of a crazy stat.”

Odd, too, because so much of nation felt wicked weather this winter.

Plus, consider this: The PGA Tour had a rain date during the Bob Hope Classic — in Palm Springs, Calif., of all places. NASCAR had a washout in Texas. More than a dozen spring-training games got canceled because of showers, and several games in the minors have been called off.

“I would say it’s mostly luck of the draw,” Bill Simpson of the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass., said Thursday. “It’s been pretty much a normal rain pattern for April.”

In the last two decades, at least half the time there was at least one postponement in the first week of the season, STATS LLC found. In 1995, the first rainout came on April 30, but that year started late after the players’ strike was settled.

“I’ve kept up on a lot of the games, but I didn’t know that. That’s pretty cool,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “A little history, I guess. Hopefully we don’t have one. That would be nice. I’m sure teams don’t like the doubleheaders.”

Baseball has tried over the years to work around April weather. Sometimes, more openers were held on the West Coast or hosted by teams with domes. There’s also a push to play through, rather than complicate the schedule with rainouts.

“With modern drainage systems and the tarping that we do, it doesn’t really affect” the field, Nationals president Stan Kasten said. “But it’s such an inconvenience for customers to have to reschedule or to have to delay while they’re here. It’s a frustrating experience for them, because they’d like to know what’s going on — but because it’s weather, we don’t know what’s going on.”

On April 12, the start of Atlanta’s matchup at San Francisco was delayed by rain for 4 hours, 9 minutes. Chilly, cold conditions have prevailed elsewhere.

“It’s been terrible weather. The last three nights in Chicago, it’s 40 degrees and you see people with gloves on,” commissioner Bud Selig said.

Still, it’s better than last year, when there were 35 rainouts overall.

“That could mean one of two things,” Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham said. “Either it’s a really good year ahead of us, weather-wise, or it’s holding off until later in the summer.”

The longest MLB has gone into a season without a rainout was May 20, 1985, when Milwaukee and the Indians were called off at old Cleveland Stadium on the 43rd day of the season.

Many fans thought Minnesota would be in peril this year after moving out of the Metrodome and into Target Field. After it rained during preseason games, it’s been fine.

“It’s been beautiful. You can’t ask for much more than that,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s outdoors. It’s what we want.”

Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito is in charge of keeping things playable at the new park.

“We’ve been lucky we’ve had a lot of sunlight,” he said. “This spring is obviously extreme in a good way. We’ll have extreme in a bad way, and all over in between.”

DiVito said there are 41 miles of heat tubing pipes 10 inches below the Kentucky Bluegrass to keep it warm. Besides, he said, it’s not as if Minnesota is Siberia.

“The advantage of this place is that all the air is land-based. There’s no ocean effect, like you’d have in Boston or New York where you might get a storm coming up off the East Coast. And there’s no Great Lake,” he said.

AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich, Dave Campbell and Jon Krawczynski and AP freelance writer Tim Hipps contributed to this report.

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