World Series Game 1 Tonight in Los Angeles
Photo Credit: Justin Heiman/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES -- The heat has been turned up -- literally -- for the Dodgers and Astros, who prepare to begin the World Series presented by YouTube TV under conditions foreign to the Fall Classic.
Twenty-four hours before first pitch at Dodger Stadium, Accuweather.com forecast a high of 103 degrees Tuesday and 100 degrees Wednesday. A 5 p.m. PT start time won't provide much relief, either, as the local temperature is projected to have cooled off only to 98 degrees by that time.
"A coach I played under in college always said, 'You're going to play your most important games in cold weather,'" Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier said. "He was wrong on this one."
World Series temperatures have been tracked as far back as 1975 and only twice has the reading exceeded 90 degrees at first pitch. Those two instances came back in 2001, when the Game 1 temperature in Phoenix hit 94 degrees and the Game 6 temperature reached 91. (And the roof was open.)
"I never thought it would be that hot," Dodgers outfielder Curtis Granderson said Monday, when temperatures peaked at 102 degrees, a record for the date. "But at the same time, I definitely would rather it be warmer than the potential 30-degree [nights] like I've had in some World Series I've played in. You play all season long and all Spring Training, so six to eight months of your season [is played] typically in decent-to-nice weather.
"So to have the two teams determine who the best team in baseball is when it's 50-to-60 degrees below what you've normally been playing in is always something I've questioned. The fact that it does happen to be a little bit warmer, I'm sure a lot of guys aren't complaining."
On that, Granderson was correct. Some players said they were unaware of the record-setting temps -- "I didn't even know it was going to be 100 degrees until I went outside to play Wiffle ball with my son in the backyard today," said Dodgers Game 2 starter Rich Hill.
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Others welcomed them.
"It's going to be hotter than normal, but at the same time, I like to sweat," said left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who will start Game 1 for the Astros. "I like to get that perspiration, and make sure I have a firm grip on the ball. And, I mean, it's the World Series, so if it's a little bit hotter than usual, that's fine with me. There's no place I'd rather be."
His opponent, Clayton Kershaw, agreed.
"It is going to be hot, but, no, I don't think it's going to change anything," he said. "They're from Houston. I'm from Texas. It's going to be hot for everybody. We're all used to it. It will be fine."
Still, it will be different. The Astros play half of their regular-season games in a climate-controlled stadium, while the Dodgers are benefactors of the cool air that typically pushes in when the sun sets over Dodger Stadium.
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The first-pitch temperature exceeded 90 degrees twice this season (July 8-9) at Dodger Stadium. The Astros' Aug. 11 game at Texas in Arlington began with the thermometer reading 96 degrees. It was one of four games the Astros played in heat that reached the 90-degree mark.
Several players did wonder if the unseasonably warm nights will help power the offenses in a ballpark that is typically pitcher-friendly, and the numbers say the ball will carry more than usual.
And then there was Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who put his own spin on the coming conditions.
"I think the reason it's going to be so hot is because the 'Stros are in town," Bregman said. "I think we brought it with us from the last two games in Houston."