At this point in my baseball fandom, I've established climate limits for my in-person game attendance. Opening days are pretty much out of the question as the weather is more often than not somewhere between miserable and insufferable. The draw of that first game, the excitement of greeting baseball back like Persephone, is always strong, but I remember shivering for hours and I can welcome back baseball from my couch just as well. It may very well be into May before a day is pleasant enough to make the trip to the old ballpark.
The fickleness and absolute awfulness of spring time weather in the Northeast and Midwest is no surprise to anyone who has lived between Chicago and New York for more than one year. And yet, like the return of crocus and tulips, the local and national media must cover the terrible weather that greets spring baseball. To be sure, 2018 has been a banner year for postponements, but the amount of hand-wringing and complaining about the weather, the very predictable, unpredictable, awful weather makes one wonder if Joe Maddon has ever paid attention during his first seasons in Chicago (not to mention growing up in eastern Pennsylvania.)
The inevitable commentary about changing the schedule so games are only played in nice weather or domed stadiums is already in full force. So is the call for a shortened season. However, from financial to logistical reasons, neither of those solutions will probably ever happen. Every team gets 81 home dates in a 162 game schedule, no way around that (yes, shorten the schedule, I know, I'll get to it.) When 13 of the thirty teams are in decidedly volatile weather areas, 15 or half of the league if you count Baltimore and Washington, keeping baseball in the warmer climes for a month is pretty much impossible. Factoring in the unbalanced schedule, it becomes even more impossible if that is such a thing. Lastly, even if the entire month of April was played in the south and west, there are no guarantees that the weather in May will picture perfect.
Now, just to get it out there, Major League Baseball will never shorten the season. Before my life is over, we might even see December baseball after the playoffs expand to allow 16 teams. But! I do think if the season was shortened to 144 games, two expansion teams were added and a single table was brought back, thus making the imbalanced schedule unnecessary, then some of the weather issues would be alleviated. The focus on regional games would be lessened, especially when so many regions of the US are not spring time hubs. Also, obviously, with less games, the season could get started later and end earlier.
That is of course blog posting fantasy. More is always better. So even though we get to either watch or sit through awful games in awful weather, the conventional wisdom will remain that 162 games is what fans really want. Even if it isn't.