Snowed-in M's waiting on weather
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners at Cleveland Indians, doubleheader, 1:05 p.m., FSN/KOMO 1000 AM
Pitchers: Game 1 — M's Jeff Weaver vs. C.C. Sabathia;
Game 2 — M's Felix Hernandez vs. Fausto Carmona
CLEVELAND — An increasingly antsy Jeff Weaver is tired of wondering when his team will play another game.
The Mariners starter is also weary of the annual debate whether teams in northern cities without covered ballparks should be denied home games in early April. He's heard it all before, having played for Detroit and the New York Yankees earlier in his career. But after his season debut was again postponed here on Sunday, he wondered if it's time for baseball to alter its scheduling approach.
"It seems like we're always talking about this at this point in the season," Weaver said after the Mariners and Indians were snowed out for a third straight day. "It would make more sense [to push games back]. I'm sure we could have gotten in our games in Seattle. I don't understand. It seems like they could work something out, especially if your team is only playing [in a city] once."
Baseball teams traditionally don't like to stage home openers too far into the season. But the issue is getting more attention than usual this year after the cancellations here and two others because of extreme cold in Chicago and Detroit.
When it comes to teams visiting a city once in a season, Weaver said, "put them in the middle of the year instead of at the beginning, where there's a chance of something like this happening. It's a tough time for teams to come back and try to make it work during the course of a season."
That's what the Mariners and Indians must do with at least two games from this series. This had been Seattle's only scheduled visit to Cleveland, but the team will likely have to return on an off-day or two to make up the games lost.
The Mariners could also play doubleheaders when the Indians visit in Seattle in late September, though that appears to be the least-favored option.
A traditional doubleheader has again been scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. PDT today, but there's a chance it might also be postponed after a foot of snow fell in parts of the Cleveland area on Saturday and Sunday.
The forecast for today is a high of 37, a low of 28, some winds and a 30 percent chance of more snow.
The Mariners held a noon workout Sunday. Hitters took batting practice in two indoor cages, while pitchers threw bullpen sessions.
Manager Mike Hargrove said he finds the current situation "unfortunate" but isn't sure what can be done. He doesn't think it's fair to force northern teams that play outdoors to wait two weeks before staging a home opener.
"I think the excitement of the home opener is unique and that [if] you wait two weeks, and a little bit of the luster falls off of that," Hargrove said.
The Indians are actually pushing ahead with plans to stage their season opener here in 2008. Cleveland has opened its past six seasons on the road, including three frigid games in Chicago this year.
"I don't find it odd," Hargrove said of opening so early in a city like Cleveland. "It's not out of the ordinary. This has been done. I can remember playing with Texas, we opened up in Baltimore a couple of years. The first game of the season was in Baltimore and we had great weather.
"Playing here in Cleveland, when I played, I remember one other time, not as bad as this, but where they had to take a lot of snow off the field to open up. But we did open up."
Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez said all the players can do is work extra hard indoors, stay ready — and prepare to play those grueling makeup games at a later date.
He remembers the 2003 Mariners having to fly from Texas to Arizona to play a makeup game against Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks on an early September off-day. Seattle lost, then flew to Anaheim and dropped three of four to the Angels.
"That was our season right there," he said.
Ibanez isn't thrilled about the prospect of more such makeup games, or playing three times in 22 hours — a doubleheader today, followed by an afternoon game in Boston Tuesday.
"When things like this happen, it really tests the character of the club," he said. "You have two choices. You either whine and complain about it, or you figure out how to get through it. And I think we're going to figure out how to get through it."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company