Weather, or not

Rainout in Pittsburgh

You know the old cliche, “April showers bring May flowers?” Well, Major League Baseball certainly hopes so. The month of April turned out to be a wet one for baseball, with rain, snow and even ice storms postponing games. The result will be a busy make-up schedule at later points in the season.

Usually about this time of the year, we’re talking about the fact that the first quarter of the MLB season is behind us. And while the results from those first 40 games might show some insight on what might lie ahead in the next 120, this year may be a little different, thanks to the fact that there were a record number of postponements of MLB games during the month of April.

The postponements drew the attention of The Weather Channel, who covered the situation in their broadcasts and even on their website. Not only did TWC discuss, in depth, the stormy weather, but also the below-average temperatures across much of the northern part of the nation. But storms in cities like Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cleveland (to name a few) and even Toronto (which has a domed stadium), caused postponements. The question is, how will this impact the teams involved, and, can it potentially affect a team’s record and season outcome?

Take the Detroit Tigers for example, who had six postponements in the first month of the season, including opening day against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They made up the game over opening weekend, but had another against Pittsburgh canceled later in the month in the Steel City. That too was made up during the series.

But two of three games in a mid-April series that Detroit hosted against the New York Yankees were both rescheduled for June 4; a Monday that both teams otherwise had off. Detroit’s ability to contend this season is questionable, but the Yankees are among the top teams in the league, and manager Aaron Boone will have to juggle his pitching rotation carefully that week. For some teams, this basically throws out the window MLB’s strategy to start its season a little earlier and provide more off-days for teams throughout the season.

Which brings up the question many baseball fans, and even some players, are asking. That is: if baseball season starts too early. As The Weather Channel pointed out, this year temperatures were cooler in April and storms were more prevalent. While it’s doubtful that baseball will ever shorten its season, perhaps they should be a little more careful with scheduling and have more early-season games in warmer cities or domed stadiums.

That would be easier on the teams, better for the fans attending the games and also result in a more frequent TV product.

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd is a freelance sports writer who works out of Gracenote’s Queensbury, NY office.

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