Thursday, March 31, 2011
Ozzie Guillen not high on snowy opener
By Doug Padilla
CLEVELAND -- Coffee and hot chocolate could outsell beer and soft drinks Friday when the White Sox and Indians kick off the season at a chilly Progressive Field.
About 5-6 inches of snow fell overnight in Cleveland leaving a thick blanket of white stuff on the playing surface that wasn't about to melt any time soon in the 30-degree temperatures.
Worried that motorized snow removal might damage the freshly laid turf, grounds crew workers were shoveling the snow by hand.
"Very stupid to play in Cleveland right now," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "Nothing against Cleveland. We expect that. When [they] played in Cleveland on Opening Day a couple of years ago they cancel like 30 games here. We are here and we have to play through snow.
"A lot of players, they have to be prepared mentally to play in cold weather. That's no excuse. You want to play in nice weather? Sign with the NBA. You play indoors and you are fine."
Those 30 canceled games Guillen was talking about were actually four games the Indians had scheduled against the Mariners to open the 2007 season. Three more between the Angels and Indians were moved to Milwaukee where there is a dome.
"That's why I don't understand why teams don't start in domes or on the West Coast for the first couple of weeks," said Mark Buehrle, who is scheduled to take the mound for the White Sox on Friday. "We'll just have to deal with it and hopefully they can clean it off and be ready to go."
The White Sox's scheduled workout for Thursday was canceled, with Buehrle, Juan Pierre, Ramon Castro and Alex Rios using their free time to build a snowman near first base. Third-base coach Jeff Cox adorned it with a cigar.
"I've made better ones," Buehrle remarked.
A snowball fight among White Sox players later broke out, but that ended when Matt Thornton drilled a grounds crew member in the back. The good news was that Thornon said it was a changeup.
"He wasn't really happy about that one, I don't think," Thornton said. "I think he had been out there for a while and it was probably pretty cold for him. He wasn't running around like we were and working up a sweat so I'm sure he was pretty agitated when I hit him with a snowball. I kind of hid."
Doug Padilla covers the White Sox for ESPNChicago.com.