UPDATE: The Missouri baseball series against Northwestern that was scheduled to start Friday has been canceled because of snow on the field, according to a notice on the Missouri athletics website. There are not plans to rescheduled the series. Missouri's next home games are scheduled for March 5 and 6 against Eastern Michigan.
COLUMBIA — Wielding plastic snow shovels and wearing various collections of winter clothes, the Missouri baseball team gathered Wednesday afternoon at Taylor Stadium to try and salvage its opening weekend.
The Tigers are scheduled to begin their first home series of the season Friday against Northwestern. Without much time to make other accommodations, head coach Tim Jamieson joined his players in center field to begin shoveling a thick blanket of snow off the field.
“It kind of sucks, but we’re having fun, throwing snowballs and enjoying it,” catcher Dylan Kelly said.
The baseball players were throwing snowballs at each other Wednesday, but their targets were different on Tuesday . While eating lunch at home, pitcher Brett Graves heard a knock at his door. When he opened the door, he was ambushed with snowballs by five members of the Missouri basketball team.
"From there, it was on," said sophomore pitcher John Miles, who is roommates with Graves.
The scene Miles described was one of snow-fueled chaos. Two houses worth of baseball players, a total of eight, mobilized against their neighbors from the basketball team. Members of both the hardball and hardwood companies climbed in and out of windows, pelting one another with snowballs both indoors and outdoors.
"It was a good time with those guys," Miles said. "But if you’re wondering, baseball did win."
If the baseball team was triumphant, it was by split decision. Following the fight, senior basketball player Laurence Bowers declared victory for the basketball team, tweeting "Definitely just destroyed the baseball team in a snowball fight... They don't wanna see us!!"
Not happy being dubbed losers, several members of the baseball team went to Twitter to set the record straight.
"How's that snowball to the face feel?," catcher Patrick Quintanilla tweeted at Bowers.
Whether the Tigers baseball players will have the chance to bring the same intensity to the diamond this weekend is yet to be determined. Jamieson said he and his staff considered finding another place to play, but financial constraints have proven to be an obstacle.
“We give teams guarantees to come down and play, so there’s a financial obligation, there’s a hotel room obligation,” Jamieson said. “So if we’re gonna take this show on the road then we have to take care of ourselves plus the opponent, it’s substantial.”
Without the financial resources to move the game to a neutral site, Jamieson said playing in Columbia is the most practical option. He said he anticipates that his team can have the field cleared by Friday at the earliest, making the most realistic start date for a mini-series Sunday, with a second game Monday. Northwestern’s academic calendar will likely squash that plan.
“We could probably play here on Monday, maybe Sunday, but because they start midterms next week Monday’s probably not a day that they can play,” Jamieson said. “So, we’re kind of tied into a fairly short window and the weather forecast is not good during that time.”
Acknowledging that the odds for a series with Northwestern this weekend look bleak, Jamieson said he and his staff might try to find another opponent willing to play Sunday and Monday. The Tigers have games against Eastern Michigan scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Unsure of what the weekend ahead will hold, several of the Tigers took a break from shoveling Wednesday to build a snowman in center field. Jamieson wasn't impressed.
"You wanna know why we’re 0-6, there you go right there," he said. "Can’t even make a good snowman."