Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Early snow could take it's toll on Colorado Rockies longterm

Coors Field will be cold in the coming days.
Apparently winter woke up late.

After a warm, dry winter in Colorado, the snow is finally starting to fall. Unfortunately for baseball fans, it is coming when the Rockies are at home, and in the midst of their best start in franchise history.

The Rockies, for the second time in this home stand, will play a doubleheader. This time it will come against the Atlanta Braves, who visit town after being swept by the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The Braves come to Denver with the luxury of being able to activate certified Rockie-killer Freddie Freeman from the disabled list, just in time to hit in his favorite ballpark, Coors Field.

Colorado residents know that snow comes every April. That is no surprise. However, the snow that typically comes to Denver is a very heavy, wet snow that is accompanied by temperatures in the 40's, which helps to quickly melt the spring snow. The problem now is that the temperatures are staying in the 20's and low-30's, which means a winter feel.

The Rockies have done their best to get games in. In far worse conditions a week ago, the Rockies field crew, accompanied by owner Dick Monfort, were able to get the field ready after 10 inches of snow fell on Monday. The Rockies were able to play two games on Tuesday before getting snowed out again on Wednesday.

Monday's snow out marks the third time on this home stand that the Rockies have had to reschedule. Ironically, while the Rockies were in Arizona for spring training, the weather in Denver was very suitable for baseball.

With 14 of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums either located in warm regions, or domes, it is fair to wonder why teams from cold weather climates don'e play a significant number of April games on the road, and vice-versa for the warm weather teams playing games at home.

Of course, not only would it not be fair to the cold-climate teams to start off with that many on the road, but a balance that minimized the chances of situations like the Rockies face should be considered.

When the schedule-makers did their thing, they forgot that visiting Atlanta in the summer isn't much fun, but April isn't so bad. The Braves play the vast majority of their early games away from home, while the comfortable weather in Georgia goes without use.

The logistics of a 162-game schedule for 30 teams is a huge nightmare, so asking for concessions that involve guessing on the weather patterns is pretty unreasonable. However, if the Rockies get too far behind, it poses a problem for them as the season goes on.

The Rockies already stand to lose one off day, as the Mets return to Denver late in June to make up the game that was lost last week. Figure the Braves don't get all three games of the series at hand in and they, too, will have to return for at least one game during a mutual day off sometime before the season ends.

Not only does this pose a problem for the pitching staff, but it also puts a burden on the everyday players. Off-days are few and far between during the six month schedule, eating two of them for makeup games can be devastating to a team looking to make a run. While their division rivals are getting adequate days off, they are playing make up games.

There is nothing the Rockies can do about the weather. Playing in the cold is difficult, but it will probably have to happen again in order for the Braves series to get played. However, it is a setback for the Rockies.

The Rockies will attempt to get two games in on a day with a forecast high of 35 degrees with snow all morning long. The best thing the Rockies can do is go out and play the way they have been. If they look at the weather as an advantage, it might be something that they can use to their advantage.

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  2. I agree that the postponements could be a factor later in the season. At least, the Rox won't have to travel to another team's field to get the games in. It is here that Weiss' use of juggling his lineup and keeping his bench players involved will help. One of the things that often is overlooked on that magical run in 2007 was the fact that whomever the Rox inserted into the lineup did the job which was needed by the ballclub. Sometimes we forget that Holliday missed some key time right when he was needed most and Taveres missed the last part of the regular season and a round of the playoffs. Someone always stepped up.
    The best thing that Walt can do is to anticipate what the situation will be (one or two weeks ahead of time) and plan for it accordingly. (Anticipate if they'll need to bring anyone up and whom they'll send down, etc.) Sure, it will take some adjustment, but as George says: "Baseball is a constant game of adjustments."

  3. What will get Rock's long term is this bullpen.

    1. The bullpen? Really? The bullpen is nowhere near the problem. I can see being down on Wilton Lopez, but who else has been bad?

  4. sure, the rockies can beat up on those triple a padres and brewers and snakes, but when it comes to the big league teams like giants and braves, they are totally out of their league. mark my words, they will end up in last place again. they are just one or two injuries away from total collapse. tulo will be injured. trade him before that happens.

    1. Of course they aren't going to beat the best teams in the league. They lost 98 games last year! Baby steps for this team. Last year they got housed by the bad teams in the league. Be patient.