Hard to have warm thoughts about baseball when you can’t feel your hands
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Marketing is about selling your best attributes, and on Sunday, the Padres were selling what we huddled masses now know to be the rarest of baseball commodities.
“Attention: Due to weather, today’s game will be … played as usual,’’ the team tweeted.
In case you didn’t get the Padres’ meaning, they included a sun glasses-wearing emoji and a photo of a sunny Petco Park.
Go ahead and hate them for their perpetually terrific weather. If it makes you feel better, remind them of the risks of too much exposure to the sun. But they were spot on: Foul weather has been the story of the 2018 baseball season so far. I’ll go one frozen step further: Baseball is not meant to be played in snow, rain, cold or winds that can unzip a parka no one should have to wear at a game.
Chicago woke up to a cover of snow Monday, which was only problematic because it was April freaking 16. The Cubs had a night game scheduled at Wrigley Field for reasons that escape all logic, other than the Cubs have made it their life’s work to play more night games. Well, they got it. And of course the game against the Cardinals was postponed more than six hours before first pitch in anticipation of wind chills that were supposed to dip to the 20s by the evening.
Here’s how the Cubs’ previous three games had gone: Friday, a 4-0 loss to the Braves at Wrigley, with a first-pitch temperature of 42 and 17 mph winds; Saturday, a 14-10 victory over the Braves despite rain, 24 mph winds and a 25-degree wind chill; and Sunday, postponed due to inclement weather.
Here’s how the White Sox’ previous three games had gone heading into Monday’s game in Oakland: Friday, postponed due to inclement weather (hail, snow, rain) in Minnesota; Saturday, postponed due to snow in Minnesota; and Sunday, postponed due to snow in Minnesota.
This isn’t baseball. This is the Winter Olympics.
As of Monday afternoon, 23 major-league games had been postponed because of unfavorable weather. In 2007, 26 games were postponed through the end of April. With about two weeks left in the month, you have to like 2018’s chances of obliterating that.
This is the second time in 11 days I’ve written about bad baseball weather. The first came during the Sox’ home opener April 5, when snow fell. It gave me an opportunity to rail against March and April baseball in cities such as Chicago, which sometimes don’t warm up until May. If we’re lucky.
As it turned out, that weather was amateur hour compared to the Sox’ four-day stay in Minneapolis, which included one actual baseball game on Thursday. The conditions had plenty of people asking whose bright idea it was to build a ballpark in Minnesota that didn’t include a roof.
I know that the weather has been unseasonably nasty so far this season and that other seasons have had relatively balmy starts. I also have no feeling in my fingers, and I don’t care about other seasons.
“If it was up to me, no one would play north of Atlanta or east of Colorado in the first few weeks, but that’s not going to happen,’’ Braves reliever Peter Moylan told the Associated Press.
No, it’s not. The answer, of course, is a 154-game schedule. Faithful reader Robert suggested that Major League Baseball start its season later and make up for it with doubleheaders, noting that the 1965 Cubs played 21 doubleheaders. It’s a nice idea, but the players’ union would balk at the idea of so much work in concentrated form. It thinks the sport is hard enough as it is and would view a slate of doubleheaders as forced labor.
I know this because the last time I broached the subject of baseball being less taxing than other sports, players and officials tried to shout me down, insisting that their game was the most demanding of all. My response was that it was only demanding because of the 162-game schedule and that the only reason there was a 162-game schedule was because the game itself didn’t involve a lot of heavy lifting.
The other side responded with, “I know you are, but what am I?’’
Anyway … weather. It stinks.
Bad weather is why the Red Sox’ annual Patriots Day game Monday was postponed for the first time since 1984. As it should have been.
Conditions for Monday’s Boston Marathon included rain, wind and temperatures in the 40s, turning the race into what looked like a Hefty trash bag convention. Runners wore all sorts of protective apparel meant to keep out the elements.
Baseball players can’t do that. Well, they can, but fans would confuse them with hot dog wrappers blowing around the field. Marathoners can keep moving, the best defense against the cold. Baseball players can’t. Fielders stand at the ready, waiting, praying for a reason to move their bodies and hopefully raise their core temperature enough to be reacquainted with their outer extremities.
On Monday, the Blue Jays played off the Padres’ tweet with one of their own:
“Weather update: Due to our stadium having a roof, today’s game will be … played as expected.’’
Hahaha. Then falling ice from a nearby tower put a hole in the Rogers Centre’s roof, putting the Blue Jays-Royals game in jeopardy.
Let’s play two. In San Diego.
Sun-Times sports columnists Rick Morrissey and Rick Telander are co-hosts of a new podcast called “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered.” Don’t miss their gritty, no-holds-barred takes on everything from professional teams tanking to overzealous sports parents and more. Download and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or via RSS feed.