Reducing Cold Weather Baseball

The Mets-Twins game on Sunday was suspended because of freezing rain and other wintry elements. Friday’s game opened with flurries and ended with temperatures near or below freezing. Did anyone expect anything less, what with scheduling games in Minnesota in early April? It is bad scheduling, just asking for cold weather baseball, and it could and should be changed.

cold weather baseball
David Wright battles flurries in Minnesota Friday night.

I have written before that there are enough warm weather cities and domes to house every baseball game for at least the first two weeks of the season. This would reduce the chances that games would be played in frigid conditions. Sure, the Mets and other Northern and Midwest teams would have to wait two weeks for their home opener, but it would be worth it to play the game the way it is supposed to be played.

Of course, it wouldn’t eliminate all cold weather baseball games. The Mets are in Denver starting Monday, the third week of the season, and the thermometer is not predicted to rise above 42 during their stay. It could be as low as 17 degrees for Wednesday night’s game.

To combat that, games in these extremely cold cities should be scheduled for daytime in all of April. It might still be cold, but it won’t be as cold as when the sun sets. It offers at least some relief to the players and fans.

Another issue that cropped up this week for the Mets and the Yankees, which lost two games in Cleveland this week because of weather, is scheduling games between teams who will only visit that city just one time. The Mets now have to make up this game with the Twins on August 19, which was supposed to be an off day for the Mets to fly back from San Diego. The Yankees will have to make an extra trip to Cleveland on May 13 to play a doubleheader.

This can be avoided by only scheduling division games in April. This way, if a game is postponed, it can easily be made up during another series with the team, since division rivals meet each other multiple times.

Certain series can also be moved if it is predicted well in advance that extreme weather is on tap.  MLB has known for a week about what might happen in Denver over the next few days. The series could have been moved to Phoenix. The Diamondbacks are out of town, and the Rockies play there after the Mets series anyway.

This would, of course, hurt the Rockies financially; they would lose home games and the revenue they generate. But MLB could maintain a fund to compensate teams in such situations.

Such a move is not unprecedented; an Angels-Indians series in April 2007 was moved to the retractable dome Miller Park in Milwaukee because of snow in Cleveland. The average attendance for the three game set was around 18,000, which was not terrible.

MLB really has to do something about this before a player suffers a catastrophic injury because of cold weather baseball. Only then will baseball be forced to take action. And then it will be too late.

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