Perhaps Angels catcher Martin Maldonado put it best, saying, ‘It’s impressive. We haven’t seen that before.’
USA TODAY Sports
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals were initially told by Major League Baseball to play through 30-degree temperatures before postponing Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, who were primed to start breakout two-way player Shohei Ohtani.
“We had internal discussions about it, and we talked about it with MLB,’’ Royals GM Dayton Moore told USA TODAY Sports, “but they made it very clear that unless there’s rain or snow, the game will be played. We’re in a very unique and abnormal weather pattern. There’s not a lot we can do about it.
“It’s not fun for anybody.’’
Ultimately, the game was postponed about 25 minutes before the 2:15 ET start. Ohtani will make his third start on Tuesday, at home against the Boston Red Sox.
This is the Angels’ lone trip of the season to Kansas City, but if the Angels were a division opponent and coming back twice to Kansas City, or if this was the first game of the series,’’ Moore said, “it likely would be postponed.
“The conditions are less than ideal,’’ Moore said, “but at the end of the day, we’re all professionals. We’ve got to go out and play.’’
Cold weather has wreaked havoc on several series this weekend, with five postponements Sunday, including the third consecutive for the Twins and Chicago White Sox at Minnesota’s Target Field. Games in Detroit (Tigers-Yankees), Cleveland (Blue Jays-Indians) and Chicago (Braves-Cubs) also were postponed.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was livid that Atlanta and Chicago played through what he called “horrific” conditions on Saturday, when the Cubs came back for a 14-10 victory over the Braves. The 3 hour, 43 minute game started in 38-degree temperatures, a 28-degree wind chills and a 24-mph wind.
By the fourth inning, the wind chill was down to 25 degrees.
Ohtani was about to face similar conditions Sunday, before pragmatism carried the day. He grew up in the cold weather of rural Oshu, Japan, 300 miles north of Tokyo, and was not wearing a jacket when he came into the clubhouse Sunday morning.
He’d said that he cannot remember ever pitching in less than 40-degree temperatures. When pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, his home games were in the Sapporo Dome.
In his first two starts this season in Oakland and Anaheim, Calif., the game-time temperatures were 66 and 73 degrees, respectively.
Several baseball executives openly wondered Sunday if the Angels are taking an unnecessary injury risk having Ohtani pitch in such frigid temperatures, but Ohtani remained scheduled to make his third start of the season.