The opening day introductions, with James Brown on the microphone and red carpet rolled out from each dugout, have started with Braves staff and coaches. As you may have heard, it’s cold. But the rain is minimal, barely a drizzle if anything. It sure looks like we’ll get the game in today.
The cold, especially in contrast to the gorgeous Florida weather, brings one issue to mind: What happens to the pitchers’ arms? Every pitching staff in baseball has become accustomed to their arms feeling warm the minute they step on mound. That’ll be a challenge today.
“You hope it feels as good as it did in Florida,” reliever Sean Burnett said. “Especially opening day, you’re not going to feel the cold once you get out there. You just a little more time to get loose. You hope it feels just as good, but you’re trying to get a feel. It’s hard to feel the ball.
“It’s hard to get loose. You take a while to get stretched out. As a reliever, you might need 12 pitches. Feeling the ball is the biggest thing. You have trouble feeling your hands, so it’s hard to feel the faces. Hitters don’t like hitting in the cold weather, too, so that’ll help us a little bit.”
Aside from wearing warm clothes and doing a little extra to get loose, there’s really much that can be done, except accepting the circumstances.
“You’ve got to make sure you get loose, and that’s it,” pitching coach Steve McCatty said. “Once you start getting loose, as a pitcher, it doesn’t bother you too much. You’re throwing, so you’ll warm up. It never really bothered me. Other than making sure you stay warm before you get up and throw, there’s nothing you can do.
“It’s a non-issue to me. I don’t care how cold it is. We’re pitching, they’re pitching. You’ve got to be ready to play. You’ve got to find a way.”
In about half an hour, Gene Wang will be taking over with a live blog. If you’re stuck at work, get the F5 button ready and keep it here all day.