Archive for Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Early-season baseball games can be too cold to enjoy

April 2, 2008

The weather was cold last Thursday.

Games were played in windy conditions. Parents packed blankets, scarves and hats. Players wore gloves and did whatever they could to stay warm.

Shawnee Mission North coach Jayson Poppinga was right at home, though. He's used to the cold.

"This is like summer in North Dakota," he told the players while his team was preparing to play Lawrence, the same thing he has said throughout the practice season. "They are complaining about how cold it was."

Personally, being cold while covering or watching cold baseball is a little like eating cold soup, it will work if a person is really hungry and there is no stove or microwave available, but it needs to be warm in order to be enjoyed properly.

Cold baseball just isn't a lot of fun.

The wind rips at your face. The ball smacks the glove the way it only can when it is cold, with a raw sound that stings a person's hand. The metal bat stings when you connect with the ball.

No matter how much coaches hate to say it, weather affects teams play.

The weather can make teams inconsistent. A few teams are simply warm weather clubs whose averages heat up as temperature rises.

Of all the seasons, I sometimes feel the worst for the spring sports athletes. The weather and short time frame can cheat them out of games.

The spring season seems to end before it starts, with a whirlwind of games played in a thousand different places.

The other strange thing about the spring is that while the regular season starts and ends in about six weeks, teams can improve dramatically in that time period.

The teams we cover now likely will be a shell of what they are when regional competition starts in May.

In another way, the season is a precursor for summer baseball and the games that will be played.

In the end, regardless of how cold it might be outside, it is still baseball, and the game can make any day better.

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