Opening Day of the MLB season is just a little over a week away. In its recent history, some very wild weather has thrown a wrench in its festivities.
For most of the country, you don’t have to look very far to know spring weather can be highly volatile. Conditions can go from warm and sunny to cold and wet to stormy all in the matter of a few days.
This can throw off the ‘boys of summer’ when the first pitch is thrown on opening day of the Major League Baseball season.
From 2016 to 2018, there were at least three games postponed due to inclement weather in the first few days of the season. These were primarily rain delays or for the chances of thunderstorms in the forecast.
However, in 2018 Mother Nature gave baseball the cold shoulder. An April 1 game between the White Sox and Royals was postponed due to bitter cold in the Midwest. Then the next day, the same weather pattern impacted the Northeast as the Rays and Yankees and the Phillies and Mets had snow days.
So, Why Not Change Opening Day?
Usually, the first few weeks of the season feature a postponement every other day, on average. The year 2018 was a big outlier, but some people still wonder why MLB doesn’t just move back the start of the season when the weather is more tranquil.
Well, if you know any baseball purists, they hate change. Baseball’s roots go back more than 150 years, and for those who run the game, they are perfectly content with doing things how they’ve been done for years.
Thankfully, when a game is postponed nowadays, it doesn’t end in a riot. Thanks to Baseball Almanac for this story of a game that tried to get going after a heavy snowfall in New York:
“At the start of the 1907 season, the New York Giants opened against the Phillies following a heavy snowstorm. In preparation for the game, groundskeepers were forced to shovel large drifts of snow onto the outer edges of the field in foul territory.
After falling behind 3-0, the disappointed fans at the Polo Grounds began hurling snowballs onto the playing field, disrupting play. As the melee progressed, chaos ensued and fans began rushing onto the field to continue the snowball fight.
After being pelted, home plate umpire Bill Klem had enough and called a forfeit in favor of the Phillies.”