It’s Colorado, it’s April; snow delays Rockies game
DENVER — Dick Monfort was quite formidable on the mound — of snow, that is.
Shovel in hand, the Colorado Rockies owner joined a crew of team employees helping to dig out snowcovered Coors Field, clearing the way for the Rockies and New York Mets to finally play ball.
This is one assignment that didn’t give him cold feet, just a sore back.
Well worth it, though, to try and squeeze in a doubleheader against the New York Mets on Tuesday.
Although the game was scheduled to start at 5:10 p.m., first pitch had been pushed back two hours to finish clearing eight inches of snow off the field. At the scheduled game time, there were still piles of snow in front of the Rockies dugout and along the right-field line.
The record-low gametime temp at Coors Field is -2 C, set on April 12, 1997, when the Rockies hosted the Montreal Expos. It wasn’t really challenged Tuesday. The temperature at first pitch in Game 1 was 4 C. The Rockies beat the Mets 8-4. When the first pitch of the second game was made, it was 2 C.
Monfort had plenty of company removing the snow Tuesday afternoon, as vice-president Bill Geivett — wearing a heavy Montreal Expos jacket — and chief baseball officer Dan O’Dowd also scooped snow off the turf as well.
Even Mets GM Sandy Alderson pitched in on a bank of snow near the team’s dugout.
“It looks like they want to see a game today,” Monfort said.
Especially the Mets, who hadn’t played since Saturday after having two straight games wiped out by weather. Wintry conditions in Minneapolis on Sunday forced the game against the Twins to be called off. The game Monday also was postponed due to a heavy spring snow storm passing through the area.
“We’re pretty tired of sitting at the hotel,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Everybody wants to get going. This is what they’re here for — to go out and play. To have two days in a row off is unheard of.”
Not that the players are overly thrilled about playing in chilly conditions.
“In general terms, the game wasn’t made to be played in conditions like this,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
“It’s such a game of feel. It’s tough to execute certain aspects of the game in cold weather. That will be a challenge.”
Justin Turner had a plan to stay warm — keep near the heaters in the dugout. Being from Long Beach, Calif., he’s not used to this weather.
Although, he has the shaggy beard for it.
“I intentionally didn’t shave all spring training because I knew this first road trip was going to be pretty cold,” Turner said, laughing. “I don’t mind the cold. I just don’t like playing baseball in it.”
He still painfully remembers playing in the snow during a Single-A game in 2007.
“I got hit in the elbow and felt like it was shattered into a million pieces,” Turner said. “You just layer up and use hot packs, put them in your back pocket.
“You’ve just got to keep moving.”