For the first time in 15 years, the World Series will be contested under the sunny skies of Southern California.
But Tuesday's Game 1 between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers won't necessarily be comfortable: There's a chance it will be the hottest World Series game on record. There will be an excessive heat warning in Los Angeles when the Dodgers and Astros start at 5:09 p.m. PT, with a forecast between 95 and 97 degrees at first pitch. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist Alex Lamers, that will put this game right on the cusp of heat history.
The hottest game-time temperature for a World Series game — any playoff game, in fact — was 94 degrees for Game 1 between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees on Oct. 27, 2001. While the Diamondbacks typically play with their Chase Field roof closed under such conditions, Major League Baseball decreed the roof stay open, as is its prerogative for jewel events.
"Look – they’re from Houston. I’m from Texas. It’ll be hot for everybody," said Dodgers Game 1 starter Clayton Kershaw, who hails from suburban Dallas.
While the effect on athletes accustomed to playing in such conditions may be minimal, 55,000 fans arriving in the late afternoon may find conditions far from ideal to view the pageantry that comes with a World Series opener.
John Thorn, MLB's official historian, posted on Twitter that no World Series game in a non-roofed facility has been played at a temperature above 81 degrees since 1975, according to league records. He also cited a CNN reporter’s discovery of four games prior to 1975 that were played on days when the temperature eclipsed 90 degrees, including three games in Oakland in 1974 and a fourth in St. Louis in 1944.
Sunset on Tuesday will be at 6:08 PT, which should finally send temperatures into the 80s.
The Dodgers and Astros — the first 100-win teams to meet in the World Series since 1970 — are prepared to sweat this one out.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says he'll consider shortening batting practice, a practice more common in mid-summer months, though he anticipates his players will want to soak in the Game 1 atmosphere.
“We’ve had plenty of time off, and I think part of the whole deal is you see the fans out there and you’re playing in the World Series," Roberts said Sunday. "So most guys want to be out there as much as they can. But I’ll keep an eye on them.’’
Contributing: Tom Schad; Jorge L. Ortiz in Los Angeles
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