FanPost

The Cubs' Other Curse: Opening Day Temperatures Versus What The Sox Get

NOTE: This article was updated on 4/5/14 to include data from the 2014 home openers.

Every March, we Cubs season ticket holders anxiously await the weather forecasts for Opening Day at home, hoping against hope that the weather gods will smile on us and give us a day that feels like actual spring, or at least provides us some westerly or southwesterly winds to cut the chill some. And despite the relatively moderate temperatures of the past couple of Opening Days, we are most often rewarded with raw, chilly, overcast days in the 30s and 40s, usually accompanied by noreasters howling in off the lake.

The raw weather is frequently coupled with giddy schadenfreude our White Sox friends get to lord over us as the temperature forecasts for their Opening Days invariably seem to be dozens of degrees higher than ours. And 2014 was no different. White Sox fans enjoyed a balmy 65 degree first pitch this past Monday, while Cubs fans shivered in 38 degree frostiness for their home opener tilt four days later, joined by winds howling out to right at 23 MPH, bringing the wind chill down to the upper 20s.

This seems really unjust, right? I mean, doesn't it seem as though Sox fans always get to go to their opening days in t-shirts and shorts and sandals, while we have to bundle up in every layer residing in our closets and dresser drawers just to avoid passing out from hypothermia?

Is this really the way it happens every year? What do the data say about this?

Now, normally, this would be where The Big Reveal occurs, informing us that despite our faulty memories, fans attending Cubs Opening Days actually enjoy greater temperature advantages than do the White Sox, and isn't that something, and how counterintuitive, and whoda thunk it?

Except that would be wrong. Really, really wrong. Know why? Because our memories aren't so faulty after all, at least not about this particular thing. Because as a matter of fact, the temperature advantage Sox fans have had for their home openers is much, much greater than you are probably imagining to even your most pessimistic degree.

How much greater? Try this on your imagination: over the past 26 seasons (i.e., 1989 through 2014), White Sox home openers have been warmer than Cubs home openers 19 times. That's not a misprint. In other words, 73% of all Opening Days over more than the past quarter century have been warmer on the South Side than on the North Side. Cubs home openers have been warmer than Sox openers only six times, including last year. (Nineteen ninety-nine was a push.)

Oh, and it's even worse for us when you take into account only the more recent seasons: since 1996, White Sox opening days have been warmer than Cubs opening days 17 of those 19 seasons, including an astounding 15 consecutive years from 1996 through 2010 during which Cubs openers were not warmer than Sox openers even once. NOT. EVEN. ONCE.

And I haven't even shared the "best" part, which I guess would qualify as The Big Reveal #2: not only have White Sox home openers been warmer, they've been warmer by a lot. Actually, more than just a lot. More like a whole lotta lot. By how whole lotta lot have been they warmer? How about this: in these past 26 seasons, the Sox home opener has been warmer by 11 or more degrees an astounding eleven times, including nine times since 1996.

The bottom line takeaway stat here is that over the past 26 years, White Sox Opening Day has averaged 7.9 degrees warmer than Cubs Opening Day. In the same city, near the same lake, at the same time of year, and including those years the Cubs' openers have been warmer.

At this point you might be saying, "Get lost! No way! It can't be that bad!", to which I might say, OK, I'll get lost if you insist, but definitely "way" and definitely "that bad". Here are the actual data from the official box scores residing on Baseball Reference:

Cubs

White Sox

Date

GT Temp

Date

GT Temp

Cubs Diff +/-

Advantage

2014

4-Apr

38

31-Mar

65

(27)

Sox

2013

8-Apr

60

1-Apr

44

16

Cubs

2012

5-Apr

51

13-Apr

64

(13)

Sox

2011

1-Apr

41

7-Apr

39

2

Cubs

2010

12-Apr

58

5-Apr

75

(17)

Sox

2009

13-Apr

36

7-Apr

43

(7)

Sox

2008

31-Mar

44

7-Apr

53

(9)

Sox

2007

9-Apr

39

2-Apr

54

(15)

Sox

2006

7-Apr

40

2-Apr

57

(17)

Sox

2005

8-Apr

47

4-Apr

64

(17)

Sox

2004

12-Apr

41

13-Apr

43

(2)

Sox

2003

8-Apr

32

4-Apr

37

(5)

Sox

2002

5-Apr

44

12-Apr

61

(17)

Sox

2001

2-Apr

49

6-Apr

51

(2)

Sox

2000

10-Apr

45

14-Apr

73

(28)

Sox

1999

12-Apr

43

9-Apr

43

-

1998

3-Apr

42

6-Apr

46

(4)

Sox

1997

8-Apr

29

4-Apr

72

(43)

Sox

1996

1-Apr

38

9-Apr

40

(2)

Sox

1995

28-Apr

61

27-Apr

45

16

Cubs

1994

4-Apr

53

8-Apr

50

3

Cubs

1993

5-Apr

43

9-Apr

54

(11)

Sox

1992

10-Apr

51

13-Apr

41

10

Cubs

1991

9-Apr

45

18-Apr

54

(9)

Sox

1990

10-Apr

37

9-Apr

51

(14)

Sox

1989

4-Apr

57

14-Apr

50

7

Cubs

It's not any easier seeing it in table form, is it? Would it make you giggle-whine despondently to know that in 2006, the Sox played their opener at night, and yet that game was still 17 degrees warmer than Wrigley's 1:20pm start five days later? That the Cubs' best opening day temperature in the past 26 years has been 61 degrees, a mark the Sox openers have matched or beat seven times, including three openers with game time temperatures in the seventies? And how about that 1997? How is a differential like that even possible?

So what can account for this circumstance?

It's not as though the Cubs always have earlier home starts than the Sox. In practical terms, they haven't. Fourteen of the past 26 seasons have opened earlier up north than on the "Sout' Side", but of the last nineteen, the Sox actually have a ten-nine edge in starting earlier. So we can't blame much earlier start dates for the sustained comparative frigidness.

Might Cellphone Park simply be naturally warmer than Wrigley? That might be the case. After all, it is a full eight miles closer to the Equator, and no less than 0.85 miles farther from the lake. I'm thinking these factors might account for a degree or two. Ma-a-aybe two, on average, overall. But what about the other 5.9 or 6.9 degrees? Does pinpoint geography account for all those? I can't see how.

So what explains this phenomenon?

OK, I'll say it: maybe it really is a curse. A big, fat, wet, 1930s rotting goat carcass curse.

Either that, or it's random chance. One of the two. At this point, I can't decide which.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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