Baseball’s back, and while I sat in my cozy living room watching the Tigers carve up the Twins in Monday’s season opener, all I could think was, “Man, I’m glad I’m not out there.”
The temperature at game time was 35, with a wind approaching 20 mph. When the sun began to set about halftway through the game, it became noticibly colder, with players pulling on face mask and looking like the guy from that convertible Volkswagen commercial.
All of this begs the question, when is Major League Baseball going to wise up and send all the teams south for the first week or two of the season?
Look at Monday’s American League matchups. Detroit at Minnesota. Boston at New York. Kansas City at Chicago. Cleveland at Toronto, where at least they have a retractable roof to seal out the cold.
There were some frigid outings in the National League, too, with Miami at Washington, the Cubs at Pittsburgh, the San Diego at the New York Mets and Colorado at Milwaukee.
Seriously, who wants to sit outside and watch baseball when the temperature is so cold, the fans drink beers to keep warm?
Baseball is a warm-weather sport. There are a few exciting bursts of action, surrounded by hours of inactivity. That holds true for players and fans alike.
When it’s 75 degrees out, there aren’t many places better than the ballpark for a leisurely afternoon or evening.
But on Monday, the talk before the game was that Justin Verlander, who never wears long sleeves when he pitches, was wearing long sleeves. And further, the big worry among the pitchers is that it was so cold, their hands might go numb.
So here’s the solution. Wrap up Spring Training and keep every team in the south for the first few weeks of the season.
Oh, I realize that there are times when the temperature climbs into the 60s (or, in the case of last year, the 70s and 80s) by early April, and there’s always the freak chance of a cold front bringing snow to Atlanta at the same time.
But let’s look at averages. The average town in the Midwest and the Northeast this time of year is cold, especially when the sun goes down.
So instead of opening the baseball season in Detroit or Minnesota or Boston or New York, let’s keep those early-season matchups in warm-weather locations. Tampa. San Diego. Los Angeles. Arizona. Heck, even Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland are better options than Chicago.
Because cold-weather baseball is about as annoying as those DIRECTV Genie commercials.