Pushing the start of the MLB season up too far in the calendar runs a higher risk of not actually playing some of those early season games as scheduled.
I love baseball as much as the next guy, but anyone living in Chicago — and those living in the Midwest in general — have the unfortunate battle against the all-powerful Mother Nature.
Those who are brave enough will attend cold-weather games to watch their favorite teams. Bundled from head to toe, spring baseball games feel more like a December NFL game for a number of teams.
As the early tone of weather has dictated, there have been a number of games canceled due to inclement weather or heavy rainfall.
- Atlanta Braves: one game
- Baltimore Orioles: one game
- Boston Red Sox: one game
- Cincinnati Reds: two games
- Chicago Cubs: four games
- Chicago White Sox: four games
- Cleveland Indians: two games
- Detroit Tigers: six games
- Kansas City Royals: four games
- Los Angeles Angels: one game
- Los Angeles Dodgers: one game
- Minnesota Twins: four games
- New York Mets: one game
- New York Yankees: four games
- Pittsburgh Pirates: three games
- Philadelphia Phillies: one game
- San Francisco Giants: one game
- Seattle Mariners: one game
- St. Louis Cardinals: one game
- Tampa Bay Rays: one game
- Toronto Blue Jays: three games
- Washington Nationals: one game
Total: 47 games
Twenty-two out of 30 teams — certain teams did match up together like Detroit and Pittsburgh –had games canceled due to inclement weather from Opening Day on March 29 to April 16. A total of 73.3 percentage of teams have games to make up and/or doubleheaders to schedule down the road to make up.
What can be done?
Well, unless you have a weather-controlling machine — and if you do, have your people call my people –there’s not much that can be done for cold-weather cities. One thought that has been thrown around is limiting the MLB season down from 162 games to around 148 games or even lower.
If you’d like to play the extreme what-if game, one could make the argument to turn non-dome ballparks into domed ballparks. That would negate the outside weather, and to take it one step further, you could make the domes retractable for those blistering summer games.
Though I guess snow will always pose a problem. Just ask Toronto.
The other argument that could be made is to just simply push Opening Day back into April, and perhaps the middle or end of April. Baseball purists might not enjoy having to wait a few extra weeks, but if the early games are going to get canceled, then doesn’t that add up in the end?
Now this is the first time in a long time that games have been so severely affected by weather, but if it happens again in the same amount, say in the next two to three years, the MLB might seriously look into its starting date.
Not to mention, I’m no expert of putting contact on the ball with a bat, but you have to imagine the cold weather is affecting player performance either from the mound or the plate. Balls that normally would carry out are being knocked down by the harsh winds. It’s a small point, but still one worth thinking about.
With the World Series having gone into November, it’s best to keep the threat of cold weather in the back end of the season, rather than the start.
How would you approach the weather dilemma MLB has faced so far this season? Let us know in the comments below!