Average March 31 temperature:
"Aw, Chicago's just cold because it's windy!" Yes, and Opening Day is often delayed in New York and Boston by deluges of apples and beans, respectively.
Chicago is cold because, like the majority of the cities mentioned in this article before it, it's near the Great Lakes. Anyone who's lived near the Great Lakes knows that they just act as a giant freezer unit and ice maker for seven to eight months out of the year. It also produces something called "lake-effect snow," which locals will talk about as casually as they'll mention a passing shower but dumps more snow than storms other states consider blizzards.
Park a major city right next to a Great Lake, put fans of the city's baseball team in a drafty old stadium and hold the opener in March and you'll see why even the ivy on the outfield wall begs for a blanket on Opening Day. The Cubbies don't open Wrigley until April 1, but their coldest opening day of the past few years -- and the coldest Opening Day in the major leagues in the past decade -- took place a full week later. When the Cubs hosted the then-Montreal Expos on April 8, 2003, the temperature dropped to 32-degrees, which should give fanboys who praised this year's schedule change pause the next time they complain "but it's
Considering what happened to the Cubs later that year -- the whole five-outs from the World Series, Steve Bartman ball, eight-run eighth inning, blown Game 7 and lots of tears and talk of billy goats -- teams may want to take great pains to avoid freezing home openers in the future.
-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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