The Cubs have had some awful weather over the last couple of homestands. There have been two postponements — August 9 vs. the Brewers and Tuesday’s game against the Rockies — and several others where there were either delays or games played while rain fell.
Just three years ago, the Cubs suffered through an early-April homestand where nine games were scheduled and four of them were postponed, with the weather through most of that time more reminiscent of December, and one game played in what Joe Maddon called the worst conditions he’d ever seen for play.
Here’s a day-by-day rundown of that April 2018 homestand.
This was supposed to be the home opener. The Cubs first pushed game time back an hour, then gave up and called the game and played it the next day. Snow fell all day on the North Side, but on the South Side it stopped and the White Sox and Rays played in 35-degree weather.
A few Cubs had fun in the snow:
The Cubs and Pirates played the Wrigley opener in 43-degree conditions. The Cubs lost 8-5.
Weeknight games in April — brrrrr. It was 46 degrees at game time and didn’t get any warmer during the game, and the Cubs defeated the Pirates 13-5.
Somehow, the temperature in Chicago soared into the 70s on this day, the only real baseball weather day of the homestand. It was 74 at game time but the Cubs lost to the Pirates 6-1. Go look at who the winning Pirates pitcher was that afternoon.
So much for warmth. It was 42 degrees at game time on Friday the 13th, as the Braves came to Wrigley to open what was supposed to be a three-game series. Atlanta won 4-0.
This was the game played in conditions Joe Maddon said were worse than the torrential downpour his Rays faced in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series.
It was 38 degrees at game time, with a steady wind at 24 (!) miles per hour blowing in. There was a constant steady light rain. The Cubs did want to postpone this game, but couldn’t because the forecast for the next day was worse, and they didn’t want to have to deal with rescheduling two games against a non-divisional opponent, which raises the question: Why does MLB schedule this way in the first place?
“I thought the 2008 World Series game was the worst weather game I ever participated in,” Maddon said. “I think it just got surpassed. That’s not baseball weather. I don’t know what the intent is, I really don’t. And again, the elements were horrific to play baseball. It’s not conducive. We made mistakes on the infield. They made mistakes on the infield, outfield. Based on weather-related issues. These are really good players. I think, to a certain extent, their wildness towards the end of the game was the contributed to the horrible weather. Whatever. We’re gonna do what we’re asked or told to do. But I’m just here to tell you, that was the worst elements I’ve ever participated in a baseball game. And I’ve been in some pretty bad stuff.”
As predicted, the April 15 forecast was worse than the previous day’s and at 10:30 a.m., before the ballpark gates were opened, the game was postponed:
Today’s game between the #Cubs and #Braves has been postponed due to the forecast for inclement weather throughout the day.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 15, 2018
The game will be played on Monday, May 14 at 1:20 p.m. CT. Tickets for today will be honored for the makeup game. No ticket exchange is necessary. pic.twitter.com/IHndZtkeqa
Two days in a row, the weather was bad enough for a postponement, this time against the Cardinals:
As noted, it was cold at Wrigley Field Tuesday night, with a game-time temp of 35, the coldest yet this “spring” in a home season where game-time temps have averaged 46 degrees, and that includes the freakish 74 last Thursday, which lasted about an hour before temps dropped into the mid-50s. At least it wasn’t too windy Tuesday; by the late innings the flags on the center-field scoreboard were barely moving. That moved the weather description from “ridiculous” to “tolerable.” About 25,000 or so of the announced 35,103 showed up, but by the seventh inning maybe 6,000 remained on yet another night not suitable for baseball.
The fourth postponement in this homestand forced play the following day (a mutual off day) since the teams already had one game pushed into a split doubleheader in July. And it wasn’t just baseball weather that was awful that month:
This April weather is truly unprecedented. According to Tom Skilling’s weather blog at the Tribune, this month’s average temperature ranks as the second-coldest ever to date in April, and no one alive remembers the previous time, in 1881. That average will probably get a bit better next week, as a pattern change makes it a bit warmer in the Midwest.
The Cubs ended this wacky homestand with a win, 8-5 over the Cardinals. It still wasn’t very warm, only 47 degrees at game time.
Summary: 11 days, four postponements, seven games played, three wins, four losses, two of the nine scheduled games played later in the season.
This is all fun to relive, sort of, but these postponements weren’t the only ones in 2018. The Cubs had five other postponements that year:
April 3 at Cincinnati, made up as part of a doubleheader May 19
May 17 at Atlanta, made up August 30
June 18 vs. Dodgers at Wrigley, made up as part of a doubleheader June 19
September 7 at Washington, made up as part of a doubleheader September 8
September 9 at Washington, made up September 13
The Atlanta and Washington makeup games were part of a stretch of 44 games in 45 days at the end of that season, which really tired out the entire team. That was especially true for that September 13 game at Washington, which forced the team to fly to DC for a game in the middle of a homestand. The Cubs managed a 26-18 record during that span, not bad, but they got outplayed by the Brewers, who went 28-12 and forced the tiebreaker game that you surely remember.
The weather early in the season, something no one can control, could possibly have been a factor in the 2018 Cubs not winning the one additional game during the season that would have helped them avoid that tiebreaker.
Nine postponements is the most I can remember in any recent season. The Cubs have had four this year, all at Wrigley. I’m hoping that there won’t be any more.