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Rangers celebrate rainout with tarp slide

Gabbard will go at it again on Sunday

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NEW YORK -- Rain kept the Rangers from playing a game on Saturday night at Shea Stadium. It did not keep a few of them from getting in some sliding practice.

Tarp sliding practice in a driving rainstorm -- it was second baseman Ian Kinsler's idea and Milton Bradley seconded it.

"If you want to get on SportsCenter, you might as well do it," Bradley told his teammates.

So there were the six of them -- Bradley, Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Gerald Laird and Josh Rupe -- emerging from the Rangers dugout into the pouring rain and sliding head-first across the rain-soaked tarp covering the Shea Stadium infield.

"We were having some fun," Young said. "All I heard was, 'Tarp slide! Tarp slide!' I couldn't get my cleats off fast enough."

The six were out there for only a few minutes, but long enough to get the Mets crowd cheering for them as they waited for the rain to stop. "Let's go Rangers!" is a chant usually heard in New York only at Madison Square Garden during a hockey game. But they were singing that at Shea Stadium as the Rangers went plowing head-first through huge water puddles.

"That was sweet," Young said.

"That was awesome," Kinsler said.

"That's what you call having fun," Hamilton said. "Team unity. We were saying we might be the last ones to do this in Shea Stadium. We'll be a trivia question: 'Who was the last team to tarp slide in Shea Stadium?'"

Shea Stadium is in its last year before the Mets move across the parking lot to Citi Field. The Rangers also may be the last opponent to play a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. The two teams will play a doubleheader at 12:10 p.m. CT on Sunday to make up Saturday's postponement. The Rangers will be at full force with Kevin Millwood pitching in Game 1 and Kason Gabbard pitching in Game 2.

Nobody was hurt in the Great Shea Tarp Slide.

"I've done that before," Kinsler said. "Didn't you see my form? I was trying to get somebody to go over the mound, but there were no takers."

Kinsler was basically using the same head-first sliding technique that caused him to tear his thumb in his rookie season. But he did that sliding into a base defended by an infielder. This was a rain-soaked field.

General manager Jon Daniels didn't seem to mind.

"It was spontaneous, guys blowing off steam and having fun," Daniels said. "No damage, nobody got hurt. It's not too often you get 'Let's Go Rangers!' in Queens."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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