Baseball is a dish that is not served cold

Opening Day is one week away.  Normally, that is a sign that spring is in the air.  However, if you have spent any time in Chicago over the past few weeks, you would know that spring is nothing but a pipe dream.   High temperatures have been below average, and the forecast for April 1st calls for sunny skies and a high temperature of 45.

Game two on April 3rd will be cloudy and 50.  I’m not Tom Skilling, but I would hazard a guess that this will be one of those springs that won’t really start until the middle of May.  Oh, joy.

This also means the White Sox offense will be just as cold.  The Sox have traditionally been slow starters at the plate, and the team almost always blames the cold weather.  The White Sox offense had a triple slash line of .241/.305/.398 in April of 2012.

In 2011, the Sox hit .252/.319/.388 in April, despite the fact that is was much cooler.

April 2012 was a relatively warm month.  There were 13 days in which the temperature was above average.   The average temperature that month was 51.1 degrees.  Let’s contrast that to April of 2011:  the average high was 47.7.  There was only one sunny day, compared to 18 days of cloud cover.

A cold offense combined with a freakishly cold April could really put a crimp in the team’s plans to attract more fans to the ballpark this year.  All of the cheap tickets in the world can’t compete with the fact that frigid nights in April are unpleasant.  You really have to be a Sox fan to willingly endure a sustained 20 mile an hour lake breeze on a night when the low temperature is in the 30’s.  It’s one thing during football season to endure a frozen Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.  It’s another thing to do the same thing in April, especially when you can save your money and go to a game in June.

If the prospect of freezing your tail off on a cold April night doesn’t get your motor running, what about the idea of a space-suited Alexei Ramirez hitting weak ground balls to the left side?

The White Sox hit home runs.  Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and the Sox have traditionally followed the Earl Weaver path to victory.  On warm nights in July, that plan works swimmingly.  Balls hit into the warm, humid air have a tendency to go a long way.  It’s a different story in April.  The colder, heavier air tends to knock down fly balls that would typically land in the seats.  We’re all used to saying “that will be a home run in June!” when a long fly ball dies at the warning track.

The schedule won’t help the Sox either.  They have 16 home games in April…which is the most of the season.  Assuming the cold weather continues until May 1st, the Sox could see depressed attendance for 20 percent of their home schedule.

We know the name of this movie, so don’t be surprised when it happens again.

Filed under: Box Office

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