I'm sure there have been columns aplenty written about this year after year after year (I think I remember a Bring the Crazy, nee Planet Killer, post about this awhile ago), but I'm going to write about how stupid it is for baseball to play games in 30 degree weather to start the season.
Let me just say to start that I'm all for cutting the regular season to 150 games--or even shorter. I'm just skeptical that MLB and Bud Selig, in his infinite wisdom, are even entertaining the idea of giving up the revenue from those 12+ games. So what are our other options? The best one, it seems to me, is to force cold weather teams on the road for the first week and a half of the season.
Today the White Sox-Twins game was postponed due to cold weather. Why weren't they playing in Minnesota's cozy Hefty-bag dome? The Indians-Mariners game was postponed due to snow (Update: this is even more ridiculous when you consider what happened in this game, called in the 5th inning). Why weren't they playing in Seattle, where the weather is milder and there's a partially retractable roof? Yesterday, the Tigers-Blue Jays game was postponed due to cold weather. Why weren't they playing up in Toronto's dome? And that's not even counting games that were played despite the brutally cold weather in Philadelphia and New York. Because it's not really just about the postponements; the games actually played in inclement weather are almost worse. Pitchers can't grip the ball, hitters can't feel their bats, fielders can't feel their hands, and the fans are miserable. It's just not the way baseball should be played.
Breaking the teams in each league down geographically, it's nearly mind boggling why this continues to be a problem. To wit:
Warm weather/ domed/roofed AL teams (7)-LA Angels, Oakland A's, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Cold weather/ open air AL teams (7)-Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals
Warm weather/ domed/roofed NL teams (8)-Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, LA Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants
Cold weather/ open air NL teams (8)-New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies
Yeah, a lot of teams from the East and Central would have to open on the road in the West. Yeah, Seattle won't necessarily be warmer than Baltimore or San Fran warmer than Washington, D.C. But when you see games, as you have this week, with the Twins visiting the White Sox, the DRays visiting the Yankees, and the Mariners visiting the Indians, it just makes so little sense to have those games in the colder cities. Stadium snowglobes should be more novelty than reality.
No, this doesn't have to be a hard and fast rule. You wouldn't want the White Sox to open on the road in perpetuity. God forbid the almighty Yankees have to open in Tampa. And you wouldn't want to see Cincinnati's precious parade tradition be ended. But maybe the cold weather teams should open at home only once every 3 or 4 years--and then promptly head out West after a quick 2 or 3 game set. I don't really know. But I do know that I don't want to see Ozzie Guillen wearing a sock hat over his baseball cap. Because that's just dumb.