Saturday, October 17, 2009

Field Of Frozen Dreams

I am a native Southern Californian, love baseball, played it as a youth and because my hometown San Diego Padres suck, don't follow it that much on television until the playoffs. Watching Friday night's game in New York with the Yankees playing the Angels I may have caught a case of pneumonia in my own home 3,000 away from home plate.

Believe me, it was a lot warmer at Yankee Stadium than Coors Field in Denver when the Rockies played the Philadelphia Phillies last week and the World Series several years ago in that mile-high city.

Why can't Major League Baseball wise up and at least play the World Series in a dome or warm weather park? These frigid nights playing baseball ruins the game. Oh, I know both teams face the same conditions. The National Football League always schedules the Super Bowl in a dome or nice winter weather city. No one complains even though the sport can be played in a snow storm or on a frozen tundra with less problems than the game of baseball.

I played right field for my high school team once in a mist and temperatures around 40 degrees. It wasn't much fun. My hands suffered what seemed like an electrical shock after fouling off a pitch. My cleats were caked with mud.

Major leaguers fare much better but the cold weather still distracts from any given strengths and accentuates its weaknesses. In short, the elements change the game the way it is designed to be played.

Television revenue is the driving force for mostly night games in mid-October. I'm not knocking that except for one humongous flaw. Night games are played so late that children -- the future of the sport -- should be in bed asleep. I pine for the days when we listened on our radio transistors
in sophomore science class the 1954 World Series between the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants or cutting a college class to watch Don Larsen pitch a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I don't want to change the game by shortening the regular season from its current 162-game schedule nor abbreviating the playoff system.

I just want to watch baseball played as it was designed for fair weather and batted balls that don't create a splash when landing in the outfield or skid crazily on half-frozen grass. Except for the high stakes, the game we see this late in the year is not the one we saw in August.

Unless the Padres are involved, I don't have a dog in this show.

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