Saturday, April 7, 2018

Double-header in the snow? Or is it just early-season baseball, the Chicago way

I usually get worked up whenever people complain about professional baseball beginning its season in the part of spring that’s really the tail-end of winter.
Helping Sox fans cope with cold

These are the ninnies who will complain that the season should start with the first games actually played in western or southern cities – or in places like Milwaukee where the local officials erected a stadium with a retractable roof.

AS THOUGH THE Chicago ball clubs, or teams from places like New York, Boston or other eastern or Midwestern municipalities ought to have to start out their seasons with a streak of road games.

Personally, I’d argue those are the franchises with the lengthy histories and cultural existence and where the locals know how to handle a little cold weather.

Just like on Thursday when the Chicago White Sox started out the 2018 season with their first home game a loss to the Detroit Tigers, and there were times one could see the heavy snowfall coming down during the ball game.

An early season freebie giveaway promotion the White Sox offered up? A stocking cap with the Old English “Sox” logo and in the black and grey of Sox colors. Truly an appropriate giveaway, and one that I’m sure many a fan who actually attends Saturday's game will bother to wear.
Will TV-viewing fans get to see ...

OF COURSE, THERE were those who felt compelled to mock – with the observation being that many of the people who theoretically gave the White Sox a capacity crowd by buying tickets somehow managed to disappear by about the fifth inning.

Resulting in many empty seats, particularly in the Sox stadium’s upper deck.

I’m going to be watching the crowds that show up at Wrigley Field come Monday, where the Chicago Cubs will have their Opening Day. Monday’s weather forecasts are for equally-dismal weather conditions.

Temperatures might get as high as 40 degrees, but it will be a cloudy, overcast day with light rainfall (and maybe even snow) expected to hit Chicago. Not ideal conditions for sitting outside in the stands to watch a ball game.
... split-screen, simultaneous home runs?

I DON’T DOUBT that the Cubs have sold the just over 40,000 tickets for Monday’s game against Pittsburgh (another ‘tough’ city that wouldn’t let some inclement weather put a stop to a ballgame) so they’ll be able to claim a capacity crowd. It will be “sold out,” even though I don’t doubt that watching the game on television will reveal many vacant seats.

It also will be interesting to see the White Sox game that same day. Because their game at Guaranteed Rate Field against the Tampa Bay Rays has been rescheduled from 7:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.

White Sox officials said they think making it a day game will be more comfortable for fans than having them sit in the stands during the evening hours.

But it also means we’re literally going to have both Chicago ball clubs playing simultaneously Monday afternoon. (The Cubs game is scheduled to start about 10 minutes after the White Sox take the field).

WE IN CHICAGO occasionally get the days when a Cubs game is scheduled for the afternoon, with a White Sox game in the evening. People can literally take the Red Line elevated train from one ballpark to the other to see both games in the same day. Which has its drawback -- a fan gets intoxicated during the day at Wrigley and is so wasted by nightfall at Guaranteed Rate that he acts stupid AND EVERYBODY wants to think it's the Sox' fault!
Monday not likely to look this idyllic
That won’t be possible on Monday – they’ll be simultaneous events and Chicagoans most definitely will have to pick one ball club or the other to watch. Unless they’re a wishy-washy sort who stays home and watches both games on television.

A split screen feature put to work on that new-fangled huge screen television. Maybe we’ll get the dual sight of Jose Abreu and Kris Bryant hitting home runs simultaneously on both sides of town.

Although knowing our city’s sporting mentality and likely crummy luck, we’re more likely to get two collections of fans suffering frostbite and two more digits in the “loss” column – just what Chicago needs on a dreary day when it seems like not even baseball can make winter go away!


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