Posted: 11:34 am Thursday, February 13th, 2014
By Chip Towers
UPDATE: Georgia baseball’s season opener against Georgia Southern scheduled for Friday night has been postponed until noon Saturday and will be the first game of a double-header. Field conditions are unplayable. . . . Also, the Gym Dogs’ home meet against Missouri scheduled for Friday night has been canceled due to travel issues for the Tigers. . . . The men’s basketball team, which beat Mississippi State 75-55 on Wednesday night, remains in Starkville and was scheduled to practice there at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday. The Bulldogs were hoping to fly out of get a Columbus, Miss., by about 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, “or whenever Delta can get a plane out here,” a teams spokesman said.
ATHENS — Slowly but surely the snow and ice is beginning to thaw on the campus of the University of Georgia. But it’s impact is likely to be felt on the field of competition at least another day or so.
The Georgia baseball team is scheduled to open its season Friday evening at Foley Field against Georgia Southern. The trouble is, the tarp covering the diamond is covered at least an inch deep in ice with snow on top of that. First-year coach Scott Stricklin said grounds crews were going attempt to remove the tarp Thursday afternoon — and enormous undertaking — and then they’ll still have the prospect of clearing and drying the outfield and foul areas.
Stricklin put the odds of having to postpone Friday’s opener and play a Saturday double-header at “50-50.”
“Getting tarp off the field and the ice off the field is the biggest concern right now,” Stricklin said Thursday morning as he drove through the snow to the baseball complex. “If we can’t get the tarp off we can’t play. First we’ve got to get the ice off and then we’ve got to get the tarp off and then we’ve got to clear the outfield. It’s an inconvenience, but compared to what a lot of other people have had to go through, it’s a minor inconvenience. If we have to play two games on Saturday and one on Sunday, that’s fine. “
Based on the forecast it would appear there’s little chance Georgia won’t be able to get its first three games in this weekend. In the meantime, the snowstorm already impacted the team’s preparations.
Instead of what would have been a heavy work day on Wednesday, Stricklin had to give the players the entire day off. They are going to attempt to get in an indoor workout on Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve had to be inside the last few days and Wednesday we had to give them the complete day off because we just didn’t want them to be driving,” Stricklin said. “Some of them walked their way to the field and got in some hitting on their own and got some work in. Hopefully we’ll get some more work in today, but most likely we won’t get on the field.”
The Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team was able to negotiate the storm and get to Starkville, Miss., where they put together one of their best performances of the season to dispatch Mississippi State, 75-55. Georgia (13-10, 7-4SEC ) got 19 points, six rebounds and five assists from Charles Mann and 16 off the bench from Juwan Parker (14 in 2nd Half). That represented a 34-point turnaround for the Bulldogs, who trailed by 14 in the first half.
Just getting to Starkville represented a big enough challenge for the Bulldogs. They were going to bus the six hours there after their charter flight out of Athens was canceled, but 20 minutes into the drive they were able to get the team on a Delta flight out of Atlanta to Columbus, Miss. That was the good news.
The bad news is Georgia has not been able to get back home. Delta flights are understandably backed up and the Bulldogs were forced to remain in Starkville Wednesday night. The hope was that they would be able to fly into Atlanta sometime Thursday afternoon.
Mark Fox’s team, which is showing great improvement as year progresses, plays host to very good Ole Miss team on Saturday at 4 p.m. The teams are currently tied for third in the SEC.
Georgia’s women’s basketball team left Athens on Tuesday — a day earlier than planned — to get College Station, Texas, for tonight’s game against Texas A&M. They were not anticipating any issues getting back on Friday. At this point, odds are UGA will be closed another day.
In the meantime, please know that, as a service to metro Atlantans during the winter storm, the AJC is offering free access to the online newspaper (a PDF-style version of the printed paper; link here) and myajc.com. For those of you who are not subscribers, you should take advantage of both. Today’s paper is packed with valuable and insightful information about the storm. Myajc.com has all of the content that goes into the paper as well as the online blog content in a cleaner format than AJC.com.