Greg Coleman has worked in minor league baseball for 20 years, including serving in his current role as president of the Erie SeaWolves since 2011. He understands that cold and wet weather can make the first month of the baseball season a challenging, and sometimes miserable, experience. Yet he, like many minor league operators across the Northeast and Midwest, were left shaking their heads about what Mother Nature threw at them in April.
“The weekend we opened at home was remarkable,” Coleman said of the season-opening, seven-game homestand that included two postponements and four games with first-pitch temperatures in the 30s. “We’re two hours from Akron, yet the temperatures were 30 to 40 degrees lower in Erie. We know how to handle cold and snow in Erie, but April really tested our resolve.”
And for good reason. Erie (Eastern League) had the coldest ballpark in the minor leagues in April. During nine games and two postponements at UPMC Park, the SeaWolves averaged temperatures of just 44.3 degrees while drawing 1,687 fans per game. Erie’s chilly beginning to the season edged the Lansing Lugnuts (45.6 degrees), Buffalo Bisons (45.8), Syracuse Chiefs (46.3) and West Michigan Whitecaps (46.6) for the coldest start to the season.
“We played nine of our eleven April home dates, but the cold was unrelenting,” Coleman said. “One day, we had to clear 4 inches of snow and then play a doubleheader with temperatures in the 30s.”