DENVER—A few years ago a friend moved from the harsh cold of New England to San Francisco. Needless to say this was quite a change for the guy. Instead of shoveling snow and dressing up to fend off the bitterly cold winters, all he had to do was layer up for summer nights.
That was until he felt his first earthquake. Actually, by California standards it was a pretty tame one, but unnerving for an easterner, nonetheless. Worse, the quake came at 2 a.m. when he was sitting at home and ready to call it a night. All of a sudden he heard a loud noise that sounded like a truck backfiring in the next room and some wobbling that sent a dish flying off a counter.
In all, it was no big deal. There was hardly any damage to the city other than a few cracked glasses and plates and most folks seemed to sleep right through it, he said.
But 3,000 miles away, the entire eastern seaboard was gripped by a deathly cold snap from Ol’ Man Winter. Apparently, when folks even considered going outside they moved quickly and stealthy like alligators. They did what they had to and went straight back indoors and spread Vaseline all over themselves as if they were about to swim across the English Channel.
Yes, it was that cold.
Interestingly, my friend got a few phone calls from his friends back east asking questions about San Francisco and the earthquake. Really, easterners just don’t know despite the fact that earthquakes are quite common throughout parts of New England and even Pennsylvania. In fact, a few months ago we even had a little rumbler of about 4.2 magnitude in Lancaster, Pa.
It sounded like a truck backfiring.
Anyway, the best question my friend was asked compared the earthquakes to the cold snap. Having been through both at different points, my friend was an expert.
“Which is worse,” he was asked. “The earthquake in California or the below-zero temperatures in the east?”
The answer was pretty comical.
“Well,” my friend said. “I never had to run screaming at 3 a.m. in my underwear looking for a doorway for protection because it was cold. I’m going to say the earthquake is worse.”
Here in Denver a bunch of us are acting as if we’re running around in our underwear looking for a doorway. It’s cold. It’s damn cold. And it’s certainly too cold to be out running around in your underwear.
But that’s it—it’s just cold. Sure, there is snow on the ground and the nighttime temperature for tonight’s scheduled Game 3 is forecast to be in the single digits. Remember how it was playing baseball when it was freezing cold and you hit a ball with an aluminum bat? That’s stinging sensation in your hands happens with wood bats, too. That’s especially the case when the pitcher purposely throws it in on the hitters’ hands with the intent on causing that feeling.
Still, it’s just cold. Cold happens sometimes. Football players layer up when it’s cold, golfers have certain clothes and precautions for when it’s chilly and distance runners, the toughest of the lot, just go run. They might put on some mittens.
Though the extra weight of the mittens might not be worth it.
Baseball is different. A summer rain sends players scurrying for the clubhouse because rain causes grass to get slick and then someone could fall down.
Really… someone could fall down.
Publically, the players on the Rockies and Phillies said all the right things about the prospect of playing Game 3 in record-low temps on Saturday night. Pedro Martinez, who is from the Dominican Republic, said he couldn’t wait to get out there and have fun. Cold? Whatever. Pedro even talked about the very first time he saw snow.
“When I saw snow, I actually stopped to grab a little bit and put it in my mouth and see if it felt like ice,” Pedro said. “But it’s something you get accustomed to.”
Yes, because it never got cold when Pedro was pitching in Boston. What would he do?
Pedro doesn’t have to worry about it now. Apparently, all it took was a cold day in Denver to get him off the mound. Instead, J.A. Happ, a kid from the Chicago suburbs, will pitch in Game 3 in the relatively mild climes of Sunday night. Better yet, Happ, Pedro and their teammates can breathe a faux sigh at the prospect of not going out there on Saturday night.
The funny part was that the only guy who went on record to say it would be silly to play baseball in single-digit weather with snow flurries at mid-level altitude was the dude from Canada.
“When it’s cold, you look for that sweet little spot so you can hit it on the nose every time,” Stairs said. “It’s uncomfortable for fans to sit there and watch a game. For me, I’m warm up here watching the game on TV till I have to pinch hit. I feel bad for the guys who have to play every day. There’s no advantage to either team in cold weather. You’re more patient as a hitter. It might knock down a run game a little bit with the tight muscles.”
Nevertheless, Stairs, from New Brunswick, isn’t impressed with the forecast though he says it makes for bad baseball.
“That’s short-sleeve weather,” he said. “I’ve played in games when it was 30 below.”
Maybe so, but not this time.