Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is surprised by the high number of weather-related postponements during the early part of the season.
Wednesday’s postponement between the Cardinals and Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago because of wintry weather was the 25th through the first three weeks of the season, matching 2007 for the most weather-related postponements through April. Major League Baseball started keeping records of weather-related postponements in 1986.
“We were really surprised by these numbers,” said Manfred, speaking to a group of editors representing the Associated Press Sports Editors on Friday afternoon at MLB headquarters in Manhattan. “We only started four days earlier and quite frankly, our first few days were better than the days we would have been playing on if we had gone with a traditional schedule. Just really unexpected.”
There has been criticism pointed at MLB for putting together the schedule and not taking into account potentially bad weather in the Northeast and Midwest in March and April. Opening Day was held on March 29 this season — the earliest start in MLB history. There were two postponements on Opening Day (Pittsburgh at Detroit and Washington at Cincinnati). Baseball’s new collective-bargaining agreement requires additional off days for players within the 162-game season, which forced the schedule to start earlier.
“I think we have 12 markets where the average temperature is 10 degrees below normal,” Manfred said.
The Yankees’ series in Detroit last weekend was disrupted by rain. Friday’s game was played, but Saturday’s game was postponed and rescheduled as a split doubleheader on Sunday. That doubleheader, however, also was rained out and rescheduled for June 4.
Manfred acknowledged that attendance is down throughout baseball during the early part of the season but pointed to the bad weather as a main reason.
“What we have seen from an attendance perspective is weather-related,” he said.
He added, “It’s too early to tell if it’s something other than that.”
With Erik Boland, David Lennon and AP