Sunday, March 1, 2009

Questioning the "guaranteed gate" and weather dilemma during Spring Training

Yankee beat reports Bryan Hoch and Peter Abraham have both mentioned the bad weather that is being forecast for Sarasota today, the home of the Reds' Spring Training facility and the site of today's exhibition game between the Yankees and the Reds. Hoch goes a step further and pointed out how unpleasant of a day it will likely be at the ballpark since the Reds won't want to give up the "guaranteed gate" that the Yankees coming to town provide, and will wait out whatever bad weather occurs so they can collect their money.

Since I have always displayed an interest in weather's effects on the Yankees (all you have to do is look at some of the really old posts on, lets take a look at today's forecast and current radar for Sarasota, FL.

Rest of Today
Mostly cloudy with numerous showers the rest of this morning. Slight chance of showers early in the afternoon. Then clearing in the mid to late afternoon. Breezy...cooler. Highs in the mid 60s. West winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

courtesy of

That forecast doesn't look pleasant, and there is definitely a squall line of storms in the Gulf of Mexico, set to hit the Sarasota area in the next 1-2 hours. After that line of storms goes through, they should be in the clear, barring any further convective development from the Gulf.

Lets just assume for a second that the weather is going to be unpleasant, like Hoch and Abraham have outlined in their pre-game blog posts. These are absolutely meaningless Spring Training games at the beginning of March. Games haven't even been going on for a week, leaving players more succeptible to strained/pulled muscles and other injuries. It is unbelievable to me that Major League Baseball allows individual clubs to make weather-based decisions for Spring Training games for financial reasons.

It is all too clear to me that baseball is a major business and the Yankees are the biggest draw in the sport. However, part of a business is protecting your most valuable assets. Sitting around waiting out a rain delay on March 1 is only putting stars like Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto at risk of nagging injuries. Sure, it would be nice to fill up Ed Smith Stadium to its capacity of 7,500 on a Sunday in March, but isn't it more important to MLB for the Yankees to fill up Yankee Stadium and the Reds to fill up The Great American Ballpark this summer?

The weather may clear up, causing all of the above to be a non-issue, but the fact remains that the Yankees will probably be subjected to waiting out unpleasant weather many more times this season - likely more so than any other team. One wonders if this is just an unwritten part of the revenue sharing deal and something the Yankees have to accept as the financiers of baseball.

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