WATCH: Tarp Takes Out Baseball Crew During Game

A dozen Joliet Slammers staffers get swept off during a wind storm

By Lisa Balde
|  Tuesday, Jul 3, 2012  |  Updated 3:36 PM CDT
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Crews couldn't handle a rogue tarp during a rain delay at a Joliet Slammers baseball game on June 29. Watch what happens.

Crews couldn't handle a rogue tarp during a rain delay at a Joliet Slammers baseball game on June 29. Watch what happens.

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The Joliet Slammers call it "Tarpocalypse." So do about a half-million YouTube viewers by now.

High winds last Friday lifted the pro baseball team's field tarp during a rain delay and carried the heavy-duty covering clear across the field.

In its path were a dozen staffers, including team president Bill Waliewski, who were knocked off their feet and dumped into a corner of the field. It was all captured on a team Ustream channel and posted to YouTube labeled as the Slammers' "Tarpocalypse."

"We heard the wind come up, and we start running from first base to third base," Waliewski remembers. "The edge curled up," and the next thing he knew, "there's a sea of tarp coming at us."

Waliewski had been monitoring reports of approaching severe weather all night and warned the park's sizable crowd of potential inclement conditions. Crew members laid out the tarp and, as the weather got worse, began getting fans below the stadium.

The tarp rippled like waves across Silver Cross Field and swept away about a dozen crew members, including Waliewski who ended up buried beneath the tarp.

"It knocked me to me knees," he said. "I tried to get up, but it just engulfed me."

Waliewski figures the force of the wind took him from short stop past first base. He became trapped for several minutes and told himself to find a way to breathe under the tarp.

Front staff members came to his rescue, and Waliewski and everyone involved was fine. The same can't be said for the tarp, which suffered major tears and likely will need to be replaced.

But Waliewski said he wouldn't have done much differently.

"The captain's got to go down with the ship," he said.

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