Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Wintry weather (snow) delays Sox-Royals
CHICAGO -- Since the 2009 season has yet to officially get under way for the White Sox, Sunday night's postponement of Monday afternoon's Opening Day contest against the Royals at U.S. Cellular Field won't wreak havoc on the pitching rotation or any other player personnel specifics.
Even Mark Buehrle, set to tie Billy Pierce's franchise mark of seven Opening Day starts, should be able to come back on regular four days' rest this Sunday against the Twins in the homestand finale.
The move of Monday's game to a first pitch Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. CT actually avoids subjecting the fans, players, coaches, umpires and anyone else associated with the ballpark to harsh conditions in the forecast for the original opener. According to weather.com, a 60 percent chance for precipitation exists from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with 1-to-4 inches of snow expected in the Chicago area on Sunday night.
Temperatures were forecast in the mid-30s for Monday. But the high winds added to the equation turned the day into an unplayable wintry description slightly short of wonderland.
"If it's cold and not so windy, you are OK because you are moving around," White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye said. "When it starts to get windy, that's when it can get miserable."
"You get used to preparing for it and knowing what's coming," White Sox first baseman and team captain Paul Konerko said. "You pay less attention to it every year because you know what's going to happen. But it's definitely not something you look forward to. You get better in dealing with it, and you try to block it all out."
Scheduled Opening Day festivities for Monday will take place on Tuesday. That list includes Pierce throwing out the first pitch and Grammy-nominated artist Matthew Santos performing the national anthem. Santos and Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco also will perform their well-known song, "Superstar," before the game.
Monday's cancellation marks the White Sox first season-opening postponement since 1982, when each of the first five scheduled games from April 6-10 were snowed out. Tickets for Monday's opener will be good on Tuesday or may be exchanged for a similar or lesser valued ticket (based on availability) for White Sox home games from April 8-10 against the Royals and Twins or April 27-29 against Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners.
Hours before the cancellation became official, Dye was laying out his plan of attack for Monday: 1. Stay away from wearing a great amount of extra clothes because then he starts to feel bulky; 2. Wear some sleeves and possibly tights underneath the uniform pants, while putting on liberal doses of Vaseline.
"Vaseline kind of keeps the wind chill from going through," Dye said. "That's the biggest thing."
Tuesday's forecast calls for just a 30 percent chance of precipitation, with a high of 39. The right pitcher seems to be on the mound for the White Sox in Buehrle, who already is known as one of the game's fastest workers.
Buehrle laughed when asked Sunday if he could pitch any faster under the cold conditions, but he certainly is cognizant of the teammates standing in the cold behind him. It's a big change from the 80 degrees and sun experienced by both the White Sox and Royals over the past seven weeks during Spring Training in Arizona.
"Guys were getting off the plane last night, and you could hear everyone talking about it," Dye said. "It's going to be tough, and hopefully everyone takes their vitamins so that nobody catches a cold in the next couple of days. But we've been through it before."
Basically, whenever the White Sox open in a Midwest climate, they have to deal with this sort of situation. It actually extends out through much of the first month, when the South Siders are playing within the American League Central in places such as Cleveland or Detroit, although the forecast looks slightly improved the rest of this first week in Chicago.
As White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen told his players during Sunday's team meeting, if they want to play in warm weather, try to hook on in Florida or California. Opening Day in Chicago usually means hats, gloves, scarves, and if Monday's contest wasn't canceled, a snow shovel or two.
"People say, 'You are from Michigan and you probably are used to it,' but you never get used to it," said White Sox second baseman Chris Getz, who once played for the University of Michigan in a game against Ohio State during snow, sleet and a wind chill in the low 20s. "This isn't what you look forward to in terms of weather, but you deal with it and play. Once you are out there, the game really takes over."
"They should be excited about Opening Day and don't worry about the weather," Guillen said. "As soon as the game starts, it's both teams competing in the same stuff."