April is a wacky month for baseball in Boston.
2012 brought record heat for the Red Sox’ Patriots’ Day game, but the days leading up to the 2013 Marathon Monday matinee have been far less balmy. Friday’s weather — which forced the Red Sox-Rays series opener to be postponed – was downright gross.
It’s difficult to determine when to cancel or suspend a game, though. While life would be much easier with some sort of guideline to go by, installing such a system is an unrealistic expectation given the amount of variables involved.
“I think everybody does a pretty good job as far as assessing the current weather conditions,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Saturday’s game. “I think you get to a certain point where temperature really starts to factor in, whether that’s low 20s or mid 20s, whether it’s wind chill.
“There’s a number of different factors. I don’t know that you can just say, ‘Here’s a threshold that you can’t play below a certain temperature,’ because it’s going to be different city to city or day to day. But I do think in general the players’ safety and certainly the comfort of the fans are always taken into account.”
Certainly, New England poses a threat as unique as any when it comes to dealing with inclement weather, although Farrell pointed to a heavy snowstorm in Cleveland when asked about the worst weather he’s ever played in.
The biggest fear when the weather sucks is that players could suffer injuries they otherwise wouldn’t suffer. Whether it’s landing awkwardly off the mound, getting a cleat caught in the batters’ box or sliding in a slippery outfield, it seems like there are just way more ways to get banged up when the conditions are less than ideal.
Farrell is unsure if there’s a direct correlation between injuries and weather, though, especially as it pertains to temperature.
“I think once guys get loosened up, and guys are going to layer their clothing or whatever. I think they find ways to stay relatively warm,” Farrell said. “I don’t think you see the speed of the game the same just because of the coldness, or the range of infielders maybe being a little bit less. But I don’t know that there’s a greater rate of injury.”
Obviously, an unfavorable climate makes life difficult for all parties involved, so it’s unfair for one person to complain more than another. One might think a pitcher would have a harder time adapting because of how much he’s forced to work in the conditions, but the Red Sox skipper thinks it’s quite the opposite.
“I think you have the advantage,” Farrell said of pitchers playing in cold weather. “Ball’s not going to carry as much. I don’t think hitters really are fond of getting jammed in 30-degree weather, and you’d find the guy on the mound is going to be the warmest guy in the ballpark.”
Well, with one Boston rain-out already under the belt for 2013, the old adage continues to ring true. If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a minute — or, in the case of baseball, roughly 18 hours or so.
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