By: Austin Alexander – February 13, 2006
As I spent my first weekend parked in the grandstand, it didn’t escape my eye how poorly prepared many patrons were for February baseball. Whether the sun was hiding, rain was falling or the wind was blowing, the most comfortable people in the park were the seasoned veterans, coaches and scouts.
I rolled into the stadium a couple of days with a wardrobe complete with a toboggan (winter hat to you northerner’s), gloves and Michelin-man physique…and was poked fun at for over-dressing. As the innings rolled on, the sun set and wind chill dropped, those same folks returned to find out what I had stockpiled in the car. I panned to the right and left, as the ballpark shivered, the evaluators kept their radar guns held high and stopwatches handy, laughing and joking the entire day.
What is it that these cold weather pros know that the casual observer doesn’t?
Allow me to assist you for your next arctic experience.
A wise coach once told me the secret was in layers. It’s not a fashion show, it’s a baseball game! We’ve always been told there is strength in numbers, early season baseball attire is no different. I’ve been known to load up with seven shirts under my jacket, two pair of long john’s under my jeans, three socks on each foot, Isothermal gloves and a toboggan under the hooded sweatshirt. All this and I still had a solid stash in the car. The point is this: You can always remove clothes once you get to the yard and find yourself a little toasty, however, when the temperature dips you’ll seldom find a willing partner to share warm clothing.
Some parents have been known to go the extra mile–propane heaters and blankets. This method is not a bad move if you don’t anticipate moving around throughout the game.
Hot chocolate and coffee tend to be popular beverages in this time of need, both good choices.
No matter what measures we take to remain warm, there is always going to be a couple of real cool dudes sporting short-sleeve shirts with the collars up, hanging out with the kid wearing shorts who is sitting next to the row of girls with belly-shirts and sandals…apparently they have it all figured out and we’ll just have to make our peace with that.
I hope this quick excerpt makes your next chilly day at the field a pleasurable baseball experience.