Friday, April 12, 2013
Brrr: Mets and cold-weather games
By Mark Simon
Accuweather.com forecasts that it will be 36 degrees with snow flurries when the Mets and Twins take the field at Target Field this evening.
It is rare, but not unheard-of, for the Mets to play a game in these sorts of conditions.
Baseball-Reference.com has a virtually complete game-time temperature database dating back to 1998 (with good amounts of data from other years as well). From it we learned ...
The last time the Mets played a game in sub-40 temperatures was April 6, 2009 -- a season-opening 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on a 37-degree afternoon. Daniel Murphy and David Wright were both in the Mets lineup that day, with Murphy accounting for the go-ahead hit, a fifth-inning home run against Reds pitcher Aaron Harang.
The last time the Mets played in a game in which the temperature matched or was below what the forecast was in Minnesota was April 5, 2003 -- a 3-1 win over the then-Montreal Expos on a rainy-36 degree afternoon. That was actually the third game in a season-opening homestand in which the temperature was sub-40 degrees. The night before, David Cone beat the Expos on a 37-degree night for his 194th (and last) major-league win.
The last Mets loss in sub-40 degree temperatures was the misery that was Opening Day, 2003 (March 31) -- a 15-2 defeat against the Chicago Cubs in Tom Glavine’s Mets debut. That one had the pleasure of 20 mile-per-hour winds mixed in with the 39-degree temperatures. It was not the best of ways for Glavine to start his Mets career.
A 36-degree first-pitch would not be the coldest of the MLB season. There have already been three games played in colder conditions this year, after there was only one from 2010 to 2012. The Mariners beat the White Sox, 8-7 in 10 innings in 34-degree conditions at U.S. Cellular Field last Friday, marking the coldest game of the season.
The Twins' season opener in Detroit against the Tigers was played in 35-degree conditions, a 4-2 win for Justin Verlander and the Tigers. So as bad as things are for the Mets, consider that Twins hitters will have had the bad fortune of facing both Verlander and Matt Harvey (who would pitch Saturday) on two of the season’s coldest days.
One last anecdote -- the coldest temperature Baseball-Reference.com has in its archives for a Mets game is from a contest from April 9, 1982 in Wrigley Field against the Cubs -- a 34-degree afternoon. One Mets fan recollected that infielder Tom Veryzer wore a jersey that said "Beryzer" and the New York Times provided notice of words spoken by the PA announcer rarely heard at a baseball game.
"Please refrain from throwing snowballs on the field."