Baseball is a warm weather game, and so it seemed more appropriate when the World Series was played in early October, rather than stretching into early November as does is now.
In the sport’s heyday in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, not only was early October more comfortable, but games were mostly played during the day. Mid-autumn temps could climb nicely into the 60s and even low 70s in places like Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New York.
But new-era baseball playoffs are under the lights so teams can get the maximum prime time TV exposure. That means more money for everybody, but a lot less comfort for the fans.
A hot dog and a cold drink might hit the spot when you’re on the sunny side of the stadium with a cool fall breeze blowing in from center field. But it’s a different ball game when you’re sitting in 40-degree temperatures as late as 11 p.m.
That’s the forecast for Progressive Field in Cleveland as the World Series begins. Tuesday and Wednesday games, which start at 8 p.m., are expected to be in the 40s and could hit the 40-degree mark by the ninth inning.
Those attending the event are getting advice normally reserved for football fans: Dress in layers.
It’s a historic match-up between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, one that presumably will warm the hearts of die-hard fans in two of the country’s coldest cities.
Ironically, conditions may be considerably better when the teams convene in Chicago on Friday. A mild spell is forecast with nighttime temperatures in the 60s, slipping into the 50s on Saturday night and Sunday night.
Both Wrigley Field and Progressive Field are outdoor venues.
If games six and seven are necessary in Cleveland next week, nighttime temperatures may be a little more tolerable in the upper 40s.
Interesting to note that the last time the Indians were in the Series, 1997, game four was the coldest ever played. When the first pitch came to the plate, the wind chill was 18 degrees and snow flurries fell during the next nine innings. Umpires wore ski masks.
Ticket prices for game one were starting at $809, topping out at $4,883. For game three on Friday at Wrigley, ticket prices posted Tuesday started at $1,629 and went to $19,327.
Nothing, apparently, can put a chill on fan enthusiasm for this historic World Series.
Image credit: By Tage Olsin via Wikimedia Commons