Dr. Greg Goodrich is a faculty member at Western Kentucky University. His research interest is “how multi-decadal climate teleconnections such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) influence precipitation patterns associated with interannual teleconnections such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).”
In other words, he’s a weather guy with a Ph.D., which makes him a bit more qualified to talk about the weather than Mark Nolan. (1)
Dr. Goodrich writes a blog about weather research. One of his recent postings is about the crappy weather that forced the Indians to cancel so many games and prompted a bunch of yelling heads to question whether teams from the north with open-air stadiums should be allowed to host games in April. (2)
His findings are interesting.
First, 6.5% of the days in April in Cleveland are “miserable baseball weather” days. This is the most of any of the cities he studied (Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York were the others). Miserable baseball weather is not a scientifically rigorous term, but from what I can tell “miserable baseball weather” means weather that is both miserable and likely to cause a game to be canceled. So cold and rainy, for instance.
Knowing this, 46% of Aprils will feature consecutive or multiple days of miserable baseball weather within a four day period. That’s once every two years. That’s fairly often. Whole series being canceled is rare, but rained- or snowed-out games are not unusual.
When do those days occur? It turns out, mostly during the beginning of the month. If you limit the sample to April 11-30, then there is just a 4% likelihood of consecutive or multiple days of miserable baseball weather within a four day period. That’s once every 25 years.
Dr. Goodrich’s conclusion:
By simply waiting until after 4/10 to schedule the opening series for the five cold weather baseball cities in this analysis, Major League Baseball could avoid roughly 80% of the type of cold and snowy baseball weather that plagued Jacobs Field April 6-8. This could easily be accomplished by scheduling the first week of the season in warm-weather cities or cities with domed stadiums.
What is remarkable about his study is that it shows that MLB doesn’t have to abandon playing games in these cities for all of April, or even for multiple weeks. Waiting just 10 days — more or less the opening week of the season — would solve the majority of the problems. Further, it’s just these five cities. Changing the schedule so that these five cities don’t have their home openers until April 11th wouldn’t take that much.
Just thought you might want to know.
1: Mark Nolan is the “official” weather man for the Indians by virtue of being employed by WKYC. He’s been doing the weather since 1994, full-time at WKYC since 1997, and he has seals of approval from the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. You probably already know this since it’s a fact that’s been trumpeted fairly often on broadcasts and commercials over the last few years. But what does the seal of approval mean in terms of qualifications? Well, to get the seal from the National Weather Association you must a) pay $150 to apply (but you can only do so if you have at least two full-time years or three years part-time experience) , b) pass a multiple choice test (#), and c) submit a tape of your forecasts. To get a seal of approval from the American Meteorological Society you must demonstrate on tape your ability to do the weather clearly. There is no minimum experience required. You don’t need any formal training, either. These seals, in other words, are essentially awards for talking clearly about the weather after looking at a radar.
2: Thanks to The Hardball Times for the link.
#: How lame is it that the test is multiple choice? Answer: very lame.