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Baby, it's cold outside ... let's play some baseball

April 01, 2003|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Brrr parkas, longjohns - and this is spring?

Yep, good ol' baseball opened Monday at Oriole Park.

My beloved (gulp) Indians were in town for their only visit this season (thanks, Bud).

They've still got games Wednesday and Thursday (I'll be there) and hopefully the nighttime temperatures will be more conducive to enjoying major league baseball.

Thank goodness it was a day game! Probably 25 degrees better than at night.

No beer Monday just hot chocolate and coffee.

And like so many others, I was on my way home after the fifth inning.

Early on, the field was sun-drenched. By the second inning, there were snow flurries. Then a snow delay in the third inning. Was I at a baseball or football game?

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It was also very reminiscent of an opener in Cleveland on April 8, 1975 and it involved ex-Orioles.

It was the debut of the Indians' new player-manager Frank Robinson. It was also the debut of Boog Powell in a Cleveland uniform, having come to the Tribe two months prior to the start of the year.

It had snowed in Cleveland prior to the opener. On opening day, it was 35 degrees, the field was drenched with sun, there was a breeze and snow was piled along the bullpens and behind the fence.

The Indians unveiled their new uniforms and looked like a patch of well-grown tomatoes with their all-red uniforms. And the dreaded New York Yankees were in town.

Inserting himself into the lineup as the designated hitter, Robinson, in his first at bat, promptly drilled a line drive over the fence in left-center off the Yanks' Doc Medich.

Combined with Powell's homer, double and single in a 3-for-3 day, the Indians won 5-3 with Gaylord Perry on the mound.

I think it took forever that day, as it did Monday, to thaw out from the tundra-like temperatures.

Monday could very well have been a day watching the old Browns and old Colts battling for an NFL championship as they did twice in the 1960s. Johnny Unitas and Frank Ryan would have felt at home in the freezing temps yesterday calling signals.

But, we had baseball, and thanks to Selig and the big boys in New York, the season keeps starting earlier, and earlier.

Before the big days of contracts, TV revenue etc., etc. teams had Sunday doubleheaders and twi-night twinbills scheduled. Aah, what great memories.

And more recently, there was a vow to cold-weather cities that the season would open in warm-weather locales. Someone, probably Selig, forgot to check with the almanac. Granted, it was an unusual snowfall Sunday (at least I'm told) here. But look at some of the other games.

Why is Minnesota in Detroit? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Midwest and Eastern teams should be on the road for the first 10 days. Why were Texas and Anaheim playing one another? Wouldn't it be more suitable that both teams host a cold-weather city? And, anyone with a dome, at home.

Oh well, at least you don't have to freeze reading boxscores and keeping tabs on your fantasy teams.

The calendar says spring, the boys of summer (soon) are here and play ball!




Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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