The first game of the Cubs-Cardinals series was postponed Monday due to snow and cold. This marks the Cubs fourth contest to be called off in the first three weeks of 2018. Chicago is not alone.
That’s 20 postponements thus far in 2018. In 2016, there were 25 postponements all season.
— Dayn Perry (@daynperry) April 15, 2018
Three more games lost today makes it 23, including the Blue Jays game in Toronto. You may be asking, doesn't the SkyDome (It will always be the SkyDome) have a roof? An ice storm damaged the roof forcing the cancellation. These games have to be made up, which means lots of doubleheaders and playing on scheduled off days.
This doesn't even include the games that are played in rough conditions, like the Braves and Cubs matchup on Saturday. Joe Maddon complained about having to try and play in brutally cold and wet conditions. News came out today that league-wide attendance has taken a dip in the cold conditions. Are there any ways to try and reduce the number of early season postponements? There are, but each of them have issues of their own.
The easiest solution would be to reduce the number of regular season games from the current 162. Two common suggestions are 154 and 144 game slates. Starting the season in the middle of April would hopefully reduce the number of snow storms and cold games. The problem of course are those pesky owners, losing anywhere from 8 to 18 games is a lot revenue to give up. So consider that plan dead in the water.
What about starting the season in late April while still playing 162 games? The problem with that is, the World Series would be played on Thanksgiving weekend. While that would make for an interesting black Friday, it isn't like November weather is a real guarantee. Better to snow out April games than the seventh game of the NLCS.
Some people like a blast from the past, playing several scheduled doubleheaders. That way the season can start in late April while still ending in early October. Small market teams will have no issue scheduling two games with one gate, not so much for big market teams like the Cubs who can sell out many of their games. Add to that players who might not be crazy about having to play 18 inning days ten times a season.
Some, this author included, have wondered if early season games could be scheduled mainly in domes and warm weather cities. By my count 14 teams play in domes or warm weather climates. That means there would have to be at least one cold weather game every day. It also would mean teams that play in climate controlled situations get the advantage of long homestands to start every season. A 15-game road trip to begin a season is a lot to ask of any team.
The games actually started four days early in 2018 to give the players more days off throughout the season, that's a move in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like any changes are imminent. For the time being, the season will start at the end of March and weather will be an early issue. My advice, bring an umbrella and be sure to bundle up.