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Littlefield: Sox Early Season Leaves Fans Feeling Numb, Literally

This article is more than 11 years old.

“A frighteningly frigid wind ripped through the gaps in the Coliseum’s upper bowl.”

So begins the game story on SportsIllustrated.com about how the Oakland Athletics outlasted the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night. The story recounts that the “frigid wind” howled throughout the 12-inning game, “making even the simplest baseball tasks both painful and perilous.”

“Perilous” might be a stretch in the interests of alliteration, but “painful” sounds right. Boston’s second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, said after Tuesday’s night’s ordeal that it was “the coldest game” he had ever been a part of.

It’s not news that at the beginning and the end of the Major League Baseball season, games are frequently played in conditions more suitable for the Iditarod. Several decades ago, then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn made an ass of himself by sitting through a freezing World Series without a coat, apparently attempting to convince the people laughing at him that it was a terrific night for baseball. ("It’s not cold, you see, because if it was, I’d have dressed warmly.")

But silly precedent is no excuse. Tuesday night’s game in Oakland provided another demonstration of avarice triumphing over good sense. In a lot of the cities where Major League Baseball is played, it’s cold in the early spring and late fall. MLB fails to acknowledge this because to do so would mean fewer games, so less money for them.

Whether it makes sense or not, it was long ago established that football players and football fans who endure freezing winds and snow are heroic rather than stupid.

Baseball fans, not so much. Their game gets called off when it rains.

But as it has expanded to more and more teams and three levels of playoffs, Major League Baseball has continued to insist that early April and now early November are dandy times for games, never mind that sometimes the pitchers can’t feel their fingers, and the hitters pray through chattering teeth for walks, so they won’t have to endure the sting of the bat on the ball.

Common sense hasn’t changed that. The most recent round of soaring ticket prices won’t either. Greed 9, Art nothing.

This program aired on April 16, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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