Monday, April 6, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Day of the Year...well, Except for the Weather

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in American sports as wonderful as Opening Day!

Of course, given the rain and snow today that is more or less soaking the entire country, you'd never know it. Already two games have been postponed (CHW/KC and BOS/TB) and I'd be a little shocked if they played ball in Saint Louis.

This begs the simple question: Why do so many Opening Day games take place in cold weather cities, where there are no domed or retractable roofs?

It hasn't been until recently that Opening Day started this early in April (in non-WBC years it's April 1 or earlier), but the fact is, early April weather is a gamble in a lot of places, not least of which is New York.

In the American League, Tampa, Toronto, Minnesota (this year only), Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles and Texas all either play in warm or warm(er) weather or with domed/retractable roofs. That's seven teams in a fourteen-team league--exactly half. That would make it entirely possible to hold Opening Day games and opening series all in warm weather or indoor locations, where weather would likely not be a factor. It's true, Minnesota's moving into a new, outdoor and roofless (in Minnesota, huh?) park next year, which would mean one AL series would have to take place in questionable weather, but even then, a city like Baltimore is far less of a gamble than, say, Kansas City.

In the National League, Milwaukee, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, Arizona and Los Angeles all are warm weather or have retractable roofs--I've left Florida off the list because of the propensity to rain. Seven teams in a sixteen team league is a little less than half, but if two non-roofed teams play each other in the first series (perhaps in Washington or Florida), then that's only one game that needs to risk bad weather.

Baseball is an unusual sport in that it is so dependent on weather--games are called due to rain or snow--and that's never stopped a season before. Still, there's a difference between suggesting all of April being played in warm weather and just the opening series.

Yes, there's still significant weather risk throughout much of the rest of April, but Opening Day is something that exists on a higher plateau than just any other regular season game--doesn't it deserve to be protected in that every game has a reasonable shot at being played?

Just some food for thought.


I had wanted to liveblog the game today, but I may not be able to catch the first three or four innings, so that probably won't go along very well. Wednesday won't work, either (first night of Passover), but maybe Thursday will be kind...

No comments:

Post a Comment