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Local News

October 30, 2013

Locals weigh in: too cold for the World Series?

The frost is on the pumpkin. But what about the baseball?

Today’s World Series Game 6, should the Red Sox lose, could bring the final game to tomorrow, the last day of the month. That introduces the possibility that an unexpected rain-out could transform the October Classic to the November Classic.

What’s worse, the modern incarnation of professional baseball is played at night to accommodate television audiences, which means increasingly cold temperatures.

The decision to play the World Series at night was made in 1971, but purists still wonder if baseball was ever meant for cold weather, a time when leather gloves grow stiff, batted balls sting the hitters’ hands like a hundred angry bees, and some fans can’t stop shivering. Which raises the question — when is it too cold to play baseball?

A few North Shore baseball lovers weighed in on the subject.

“It’s never too cold to play baseball,” said Phil Sheridan, athletic director for the Peabody Public Schools. He attended Game 3 at Fenway Park (that’s the night of David Ortiz’s clutch grand-slam home run) and he intends to go tonight, as well. As a fan he knows what to expect.

“You freeze your butt,” he said, laughing.

Yet, it isn’t the cold that bothers him as much as the late hour of games set to start at 8 p.m. and then extended by longer commercial time between innings.

For all that, Sheridan is confident that the players barely notice the cold.

“This is why they play,” he said, and once they’ve made it to the World Series, “They’re not going to complain.”

Besides, if kids can tough it out, why not highly paid, well-trained athletes?

“We play (at Peabody High) in the spring when it’s less than 40 degrees and there’s a light rain,” Sheridan said.

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