Mike Dittelman loves baseball, but he’s not loving Opening Day in the cold. Here’s his simple proposal…
Why sit in the cold?
For me, MLB’s Opening Day is a holiday. It’s a celebration of Spring, coming out of the cold and doldrums of Winter. It’s the smell of hot dogs, beer, fresh cut grass and the crackle of peanut shells. But I HATE sitting in the cold…
Living in NY, it’s a near certainty that the weather in early April will be cold, or chilly at best. Sitting in 35, 40 or even 45 degree weather on April 6th in the Bronx or Queens, with winds blowing and shade covering the grandstand can take away from the fun, the “playing hooky” feeling, and the romance of Opening Day. So, why shiver when the Home Opener can be two weeks later?
With so many MLB teams playing in warmer climates, and a handful in colder areas playing in indoor stadiums, it stands to reason that all Opening Day games could be played in warmer weather environs. Consider this: There are twelve – count ‘em – 12!! — MLB teams who play in cities where the weather in early April is significantly warmer than the Northeastern corridor between Boston, NY, Philly, Baltimore and DC. Those teams are as follows:
- San Fran
- San Diego
- Texas (Arlington)
In addition, in both Toronto and Milwaukee – where the weather in early April could also be close to freezing – there are indoor stadiums, where weather isn’t a factor. Finally, in Denver, where early April temperatures often approach 75 degrees, bringing the count to 15 MLB teams where Opening Day in early April doesn’t have to be played in sub-50 degree weather.
Here’s a map, proving the point:
While the Yanks, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, O’s and Nats all sit in major media markets, where MLB relies on ratings, sponsors and fans of these densely populated cities to drive business, those same ratings and sponsor engagements could occur in warmer climates. What’s more, should Home Openers be held in these cities a week or two later, say on April 20th, the teams would still enjoy the same excitement, the same celebratory atmosphere as on April 5, 6, or 7th.
In the movie “Field of Dreams,” James Earl Jones’ character Terrance Mann waxes poetic about fans “sitting in shirtsleeves,” while finding seats in the grandstand to soak in a game.
“People will come,” he chides, “people will most definitely come.”
Oh, they’ll come. But if it were warmer than 35-degrees, it’d be a lot more fun.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Mark Lennihan (cover); Reddit/clemalum07 (map)