NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- If baseball's Opening Day is supposed to end fans' winter hibernation, why is it so cold for fans in northern climates?
Major League Baseball made a deal with fans last year that was applauded by purists, but left a lot of fans in the cold: The 2011 season would start in March so it could end in October. The reasoning was that November was just too late to be playing baseball -- even if it is the World Series -- and that it was unfair to ask players and playoff attendees to dress warmly in that crisp fall air.
Unfortunately, instead of asking just two franchises' fan bases to suck it up and dress in layers, baseball's now asking all 30 of its teams to get a cold start to the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this year's March 31 start is the fifth-earliest Opening Day in history and the earliest since the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays opened the 2008 season on March 25 in Japan.
In fairness to such MLB broadcast partners as Fox (NEWS - Get Report) and ESPN (DIS - Get Report) and sponsors including Bank of America (BAC - Get Report), General Motors (GM - Get Report), MasterCard (MA - Get Report), Nike (NKE - Get Report) and Pepsi (PEP - Get Report), there's just a lot more on the line later in the year. Opening Day is lovely and all, but it doesn't bring in the $191.2 million in ad revenue that the World Series did last year and doesn't come close to the $223.6 million spent when the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.Besides, how cold can a March 31 opening day possibly get? According to John Labombarda from Elias Sports Bureau, Opening Day was cold enough in some cities before the switch. Here are the five teams most likely to freeze their fans during the home opener: