A Better Climate, a Better Brand of Marathon

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on Wednesday evening, April 4.

Today’s 13-inning game in which the Indians were beaten by the Angels in Anaheim isn’t the first marathon this year.   However, it was a much more crisply played game than the sloppy 13-10 win in 13 innings by the Pirates in Detroit this past Friday.  In today’s game under the California sun, the Angels’ newcomer Zack Cosart launched a walk-off home run against Zach McAllister, the last available pitching arrow in the Indians’ quiver. Cosart’s “no-doubter” won the game 3-2 for the Halos. Cosart, age 32 is a Memphis native who has toiled in obscurity at shortstop and third base for the Reds, easily one of the  worst teams in the majors over the last few years. Even in a band box like the present Cincinnati park, home runs have been rare for Cosart-83 over 6 years. Of the 83, none was a walk-off shot.  He was today’s hero in a game that was wrapped up in a comparatively quick 4 and a half hours. The Pirates-Tigers’ Winter Olympic game Friday took more than 6 hours to conclude. Each team put up 4 runs in the 9th, converting a 6-6 game to a 10-10 game.  Tiger fans had to sit through a 10-minute review of a play which cost them a chance to win in the 9th.   I’d like to know how many Michiganders sought out urgent care for frostbite, hypothermia or both. I’m only sort of kidding.  Following a frigid game I broadcast in college in 1984, our shortstop came down with pneumonia and was out for the season.

For many years I’ve felt that the majors should manage not to play April games in frigid climes-Minneapolis and Denver being the most extreme examples.  Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Boston aren’t exactly pleasant cities to play ball in before May, and Minnesota can’t even count on May.  When I broadcast for the St. Paul Saints, we encountered sleet in Duluth on Memorial Day weekend 1998.  I only wish I were kidding.  My broadcast partner and I were both newlyweds and had our wives along on the trip.  The women vacated the open Duluth press box, taking my Seeing Eye dog with them and chose the relative warmth of the car.  The farce was called off after 2 innings.

Now the game that has far too many teams can’t figure out a way to keep their players defrosted, along with the myriad other injuries and ailments baseball players fall prey to.  This past weekend, the Texas Rangers faced the Houston Astros. Why?_  Can’t some computer geek at the MLB office manage to allow two cold-weather teams to play against the Astros and Rangers?  On Wednesday, both the Mets and Yankees played at home, which is insane (although they both won.)  I live just a long fly ball from both New York stadiums, and all day the wind has been blowing a gale here with torrential rains. A package was delivered to me by FedEx, and it was so wet you would think the delivery man had dunked it in his bathtub before delivering it. How the Mets and Yankees managed to play today is a mystery to me.

Thursday, as I turn 55 a full slate of games are available to listen to.  Boston has a home game, and barring a miracle they’ll get the same sloppy weather the New  York area is dealing with now. The Tigers, who were rained  (or maybe snowed) out in Detroit move on to another unfriendly climate in Chicago. The Twins pray they can have a home opener tomorrow against the Mariners.  Why the Twins didn’t arrange  for a retractible roof when their stadium was built is beyond me.  As awful as the MetroDome was, playing outside at Target Field for the next couple of months will be an exercise in frigid torture. While New York’s climate is usually_ easier to bear than that of the upper Midwest, the latest forecast has a gametime temperature of 34 degrees at Yankee Stadium Thursday night as the Bronx Bombers open their home slate against the Orioles. The Brewers and Blue Jays are two teams which can play, with players and fans alike impervious to the weather because each of those parks has a roof. You would figure, between teams based in warmer climates-San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Arlington and Tampa Bay, and the teams with roofs it could be arranged for those teams to front-load their April schedules to keep players and fans alike safe from the bitter weather in some cities where baseball is a cherished tradition.

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