Saturday, April 24th, 2010

And Then There Was Rain

Last night, rainy weather in the Rocky Mountains washed out the baseball game between the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies at Denver's Coors Field. The postponement means they'll play a doubleheader this evening. But why is that a big deal? Inclement weather occurs often during the early portion of the baseball season, but not this year. After two and a half weeks of April baseball, this was the postponement of the season.

During April, Major League Baseball games often get cancelled due to cold and rainy conditions in several markets. I know locally, opening week can be sunny and gorgeous, or bitterly cold. The last few nights, temperatures have dropped into the 40s, and we even had brief showers on Friday. A few years ago, Cleveland was hammered with intense snowstorms which forced the Indians to relocate for a series and play in Milwaukee's Miller Park, complete with retractable roof, while the Brewers were on the road.

With the Minnesota Twins packing up and moving out of the Metrodome, most fans would have wagered that the first postponement would have taken place in Minneapolis' new open-air Target Field. Everyone assumed the baseball gods would punish the Twins for not constructing a retractable roof in the Twin Cities. That wasn't the case. This current stretch of cancellation-free baseball was the longest since the second term of the Reagan administration. According to the Associated Press, the first rainout in 1985 took place on May 20 when the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians were cancelled on the 43rd day of the season. In 1995, the first rainout occurred on April 30, the start of the season was delayed due to the lingering players' strike. Even in the age of retractable roofs, this is still an unusual accomplishment.

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