'Play Ball'? More Like 'Game Called!'
April 16, 2018

Mother Nature has not been kind to the Upper Midwest so far this year, and now she's battling with the baseball gods. I'm sure if you go to Major League Baseball's website, and enter the promo code 'postponement', there should be some sort of deal for you. And the kicker to this weekend of rainouts, snowouts, and other inclement weather? The Toronto Blue Jays home game was called off today. And they have a roof!

Get into this conversation with a group of people who call themselves baseball fans, and one will invariable say something to the effect of, “Well, they shouldn't have moved up the start of the season”, or the even better, “Why can't they just put all the cold weather teams on the road?” Knee-jerk reactions to a simple problem. The better questions are “How come they built a new ball park in Minnesota, and it doesn't have a roof?” Same would go for Detroit.

In the first 12 days of the season, which began March 29 this year because a new agreement between players and owners allows for more off days, there were 11 postponements. Not once did we go two days without one. Detroit had two, Minnesota had one, but the Yankees and Mets were rained out, and so were the San Francisco Giants (against the Dodgers). You could blame the early start if you want to, but we are now into the middle of April. Even in the Jackie Robinson days, the season had started by now.

This past week actually had a promising start. April 10, 11, and 12 had no postponements. Everything was fine. On Friday the 13th, it snowed in Minneapolis. Not a good day for the White Sox and Twins to play, so they called the game off. The forecast called for more snow, so they called the Saturday game at the same time. That was pragmatic, considering they played ball Saturday in Chicago and Kansas City. Cubs manager Joe Maddon called it the worst conditions he had ever been part of, and his team won. The Angels and Royals were playing in snow flurries in the eighth and ninth innings, which was pretty fun to watch, if you were at home in your cozy living room with the TV on.

Sunday was Snowmegeddon. Six cancellations in all, including a doubleheader in Detroit that the Tigers and Yankees thought they could get in after calling the game on Saturday. Cleveland, Minnesota, Kansas City, and Chicago's Wrigley Field didn't have games either. Today's Patriots Day game in Boston was called on the count of rain, and roof damage to the Rogers Centre (the original retractable roof) in Toronto postponed the Blue Jays and Royals into a doubleheader tomorrow.

Look at it this way. There's plenty of time to make the games up. We'll be wondering in June, July, and August why there are so many doubleheaders, and when we're reminded, we'll just shake our heads and say “oh, yeah.”

There's a simple solution on how to deal with this “problem”. It's not having the Minnesota Twins go on the road for a month or make everybody play in Milwaukee where they have a roof. It's this. Deal with it. Weather happens. It doesn't always snow in Cleveland in April. Minneapolis doesn't have a blizzard every couple of years. Weather happens. That's all there is to it.

It seems to me (and I don't remember the year) that they tried this before. This would take to long to verify, but some time in the mid to late 1990s, they tried having the cold weather teams open in warm weather cities, or in a dome somewhere. The Dodgers and Angels were both home, the Yankees and Mets were both on the road, and so were the Cubs and White Sox. The Cleveland Indians did something like a Seattle-Oakland-Anaheim trip to begin the year, or went to Texas. You know what happened when they got home? Yep. It snowed!

This wasn't planned because of the weather, but the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians play each other this week, in Puerto Rico. Sounds like a good time to get away. Hope it doesn't snow.

Free baseball!: Tomorrow night's Oakland A's game against the Chicago White Sox should pack the Coliseum for the first time in decades. In celebrating 50 years to the day that the A's played their first game in the Bay Area, tickets are free. They've opened the upper decks and should have about 50-thousand people on hand. That should be fun to watch, and no snow is in the forecast.

Hockey anyone?: With pictures of snow on baseball fields and the white stuff falling in the Midwest, it can put you in the mood to watch the National Hockey League playoffs. The Los Angeles Kings are already down 0-3 to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, but that's okay. Since I haven't watched much regular season hockey, I'm kind of adopting Vegas this year (although I still want the Kings to win). My favorite team (for the next few weeks anyway)? The Winnipeg Jets. This is the first year this franchise has ever had any kind of success, and it's fun to watch. They lead the Minnesota Wild in the best-of-seven series two games to one.

Speaking of snow...: It snowed in Grass Valley today. On April 16. Only for about an hour or so and it didn't stick to the ground, but it snowed. In Grass Valley. On April 16! Crazy.

My mom's birthday was Friday. She turned 92. Unfortunately, I didn't do anything really special for her this year, but she got lots of phone calls from nieces, and cards, and her caregiver Ana took her out to lunch. It sounds like she had a pretty nice day, and she deserved it. Mom is doing remarkably well, and I hope that continues for a long time.

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