When it rains, it's Florida

The Phillies and Marlins started off Friday night's game in Miami with a rain delay, which was probably no surprise to Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez.

After waiting out a rain delay of 1 hour, 17 minutes in the middle of an 8-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night, Gonzalez waxed philosophical about the meteorological: "That's the stuff you have to deal with here. [Both teams] lost our starters and had to go the bullpen. You try to push it, because nobody wants to lose their starters, but you can't control Mother Nature - not yet anyway." (Hey, does he know something? Is Bud Selig in the basement cooking up a weather-control ray or something? Do they aim to test it sometime in 2014, say in February, in New Jersey, near the Meadowlands, on those NFL guinea pigs?)

The Braves led, 3-2, when the tarp came out after the fourth inning, then scored five runs when Ricky Nolasco didn't return to the mound after the rain stopped. Nolasco was relieved by, among others, Jay Buente, making his major league debut; Taylor Tankersley, who had not pitched in the majors since July 29, 2008; and Dan Meyer, who gave up three runs on two hits while walking five and was designated for assignment after the game. (Tankersley actually did all right, pitching out of a jam in the sixth - we just like writing the name "Taylor Tankersley").

Braves starter Tim Hudson tried to return to the mound after the delay, but could not escape Atlanta's sharp-eyed manager Bobby Cox.

"I knew it was a long shot," Hudson said. "I went out there and started getting loose again and Bobby came out and said, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm getting ready to pitch.' He said, 'The heck you are.' "

Peter Moylan (2-0) pitched an inning in relief for the win.

Class of 2010

Sports Illustrated's Cliff Corcoran rates the National League rookies ahead of the junior circuit's newbies, ranking five ahead of the American League's best. They are, in order: Braves outfielder Jason Heyward (.287, 9 home runs, 35 RBI); Cardinals lefthander Jaime Garcia (4-2, 1.14 ERA); Reds righthander Mike Leake (4-0, 2.70 ERA); Mets first baseman Ike Davis (.280, 4 home runs, 12 RBI); and Cardinals third baseman David Freese (.313, 3 home runs, 28 RBI).

The international pastime

Here, it's soccer, but most everywhere else it's football, the "beautiful game." We happen to think it's still second on the beauty list to baseball, but with the World Cup looming (starts June 11, sports fans), it's good to see the two top athletic endeavors in the world making contact.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson recently stopped by to visit with the New York Yankees, and on Friday afternoon, former Brazil superstar Ronaldinho threw out the ceremonial first pitch in Chicago before the Cubs' game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The AC Milan midfielder, surprisingly left off his country's World Cup squad, didn't boot it (though he probably could have - there's some amazing viral video of him repeatedly bouncing the ball off the crossbar). It probably helped that he got some tips from Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano before making the toss.