AccuWeather reports the first month of the Major League Baseball season will likely be remembered for the many games that didn’t happen as opposed to the ones that did.
When the game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals was postponed on April 18 in Chicago, it marked the 25th postponement of the young season. The 25 postponements in April tied a record previously established in 2007, according to the Associated Press.
That number reached 26 when the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets were postponed on Sunday, April 22, due to rain in Atlanta.
Snow, brutal cold and wet weather have taken turns causing officials to call off games. The inclement weather has kept grounds crews busy rolling out the tarp over the baseball diamond and squeegeeing puddles off the turf.
In some cases, even teams with domed stadiums have not escaped the challenges of wintry weather. On Monday, April 17, a large chunk of ice fell from the CN Tower in Toronto. The chuck of ice fell onto the nearby Rodgers Centre and caused damage in the roof, forcing the game between the hometown Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals to be rescheduled for the following day.
Even when games aren’t canceled, they’re being played in cold weather that isn’t always the most appealing for baseball fans and players alike.
As reported by Jayson Stark, a senior baseball writer at The Athletic, there have been 27 games with temperatures in the 30s F so far this season. For the entire 2017 season, only one game featured temperatures that low.
For the April 9 game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, temperatures were in the mid-30s to go along with cloudy skies. While the announced attendance for the 1:30 p.m. CDT game was over 10,000, some reports have said less than 1,000 people attended the game.
According to a report in Newsday, the league is seeing a decline in attendance this year, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has pointed to weather as a factor.
“What we have seen from an attendance perspective is weather-related,” he said.
Temperatures have been below normal this month in a number of baseball’s biggest markets.
The cold weather and frequent postponements have led to a number of exasperated players. Some, including Chicago Cubs First Basement Anthony Rizzo, have called for a shorter schedule.
“I think playing in the cold sucks,” Rizzo told ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
“In a perfect world, we’d start the season later and play a few scheduled doubleheaders going into an off day,” he said. “As a fan you’re going to a baseball game in April, and it’s raining, snowing and [with] freezing rain. Is it really that much fun? That’s my question.”
Rizzo’s manager, Joe Maddon, voiced his displeasure after MLB did not cancel his team’s game against the Atlanta Braves on April 14 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Temperatures were in the upper 30s along with drizzle and winds over 20 mph blowing in from center field.
“This is not baseball weather,” he said. “The elements were horrific to play baseball in. That is the worst elements I ever participated in in a baseball game. Ever.”
Matt Carpenter, an infielder for the Cardinals, took to Twitter to share his thought on the persistent dreary weather his team encountered.
“I would do just about anything to play a baseball game in 45 degree weather…” he wrote.
By Kevin Byrne, Staff Writer for AccuWeather.com