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Weather continuing to play a factor for baseball teams in May

The grounds crew covers the field with a

The grounds crew covers the field with a tarp during a rain delay before a game between the Cubs and White Sox on Saturday. Credit: AP / Nam Y. Huh

Saturday’s Mets game in Philadelphia was postponed because of heavy rains, a tornado watch and basically unpleasant playing and watching conditions.

The teams will play a single-admission doubleheader on Aug. 16, starting at 4:05 p.m.

It was raining and a chilly 46 degrees in Chicago earlier on Saturday as weather delayed the start of the crosstown rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox at Wrigley Field for two hours and 15 minutes.

Games in Miami and Baltimore were also interrupted by weather Saturday.

If baseball fans learned anything from the numerous postponements in March, April and early May, it’s that, well, outdoor games in traditionally cold-weather cities are usually played under less than optimal conditions. This year, there were 28 postponements in the first 33 days of the season (March 29 through April 30).

Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Twins had played the fewest games (34, compared to a maximum of 40) because of four postponements going into Saturday’s action.

The Twins haven’t seen their preliminary 2019 schedule yet, but they’re already bracing for their first-ever outdoor game on March 28 or 29 because of scheduling conflicts with the NCAA Final Four across town. This season, the Twins’ April 8 game against the Mariners was postponed due to temperatures in the 30s.

April games, good weather or bad, are the poorest-drawing games on a schedule, since kids are still in school. So teams in domes or warmer climates balk when their schedules are loaded with April home games, meaning Twins players should get used to wearing stocking caps and long underwear in April.

There is one adjustment the Twins — players, manager, president — would like to see: Play division foes in April, at least where weather is a concern. The Twins had to postpone three straight games this year for a mid-April blizzard; if they hadn’t been playing the White Sox, who come back two more times, Twins president Dave St. Peter said, they would have had to move the games to a dome or warmer climate, “and we don’t ever want to do that to our fans.”

That’s as much of an adjustment as can be made, Twins infielder Brian Dozier said.

“We just need to be smarter with the schedule. Make the schedule flexible by playing division opponents, so aren’t such a big deal. You can’t fix the weather, but we can be smarter about how we deal with it.” — With AP

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