Spring is finally here, baseball is 10 days away and there is just one small problem, it is still cold outside, really cold. Not only is it still cold, the Chicago Cubs do not get a break from it in the first month of the season.
They play in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Colorado and Washington. Not exactly Arizona weather. Last April, the weather forced postponements across the league and featured fans making miniature snowmen in their seats. That kind of cold, below 40 degrees in my opinion, is not fun for anyone involved. Players can’t wait to get off the field and fans don’t show up or sit there too cold to move. Injuries happen because of hazardous or slippery conditions.
So what could Major League Baseball do? How about if we review the scheduling issue here gentleman. Option A could be to schedule road trips for cold weather teams at the beginning of the year. Imagine this, (and stay with me here) the Chicago Cubs start off the season playing the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have a dome. Common sense says maybe the Cubs should play in said dome, where even if it snowed three feet, it would not matter.
I know Bud Selig thinks this type of solution would give cold-weather teams a competitive advantage since they would then get two home series later in the season. That seems kind of silly to me since half of all major league teams open their season on the road anyway. Every team has stretches of 10 or more consecutive days on the road each season, if cold-weather teams happen to have their road trip at the beginning for the convenience and comfort of their fans and players, so what?Option B may be to shorten the season so baseball would begin mid-April. Yes, as soon as I typed that I know what you are going to say. There is no way in a million years our good friend Mr. Selig would shorten the season and lose money…no way. Although I think he would consider it if MLB could make MORE money doing it, you can bet on that.
So what does cold weather in April mean for the Cubs?
It may mean trouble. Consider this team is struggling with the bats in late spring training, what is going to happen when they are playing in 32 degree weather with wind off the lake? It means Soriano should definitely NOT be in the number one spot. It means fans are going to jump on Fukodome’s back when he has a slow April, which may lead to frustration. What cold weather in April really means is the Cubs will have to (gasp) manufacture runs and play fundamental, error free baseball. By the way, manufacturing runs is a whole lot easier to do with a legitimate leadoff hitter.
What do you think? What are the keys to success for the Chicago Cubs in April?