10/12/09 3:21 AM ET
Game-time temp in Denver ties record
First pitch tossed in Rox-Phils duel at chilly 35 degrees
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
After a 24-hour delay in the scheduling of the National League Division Series, the Rockies and Phillies finally started Game 3 on Sunday night, making postseason history in the process.
The game-time temperature at Coors Field was 35 degrees, tying it with Game 4 of the 1997 World Series in Cleveland between the Indians and Marlins for the coldest postseason game in history.
Sunday's game also shattered the Division Series record for lowest temperature, beating the 1999 American League Division Series game between the Yankees and Rangers in New York, which was played in comparatively balmy 48-degree weather.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he agreed with the postponement of Saturday's game and that his club would deal with Sunday's conditions.
|Gm. 1||PHI 5, COL 1||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||COL 5, PHI 4||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||PHI 6, COL 5||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 4||PHI 5, COL 4||Wrap||Video|
"It can't be an excuse," Tracy said. "You know, it is what it is. I give credit to Major League Baseball for making the decision that they made yesterday. That would have been -- that might have been difficult for the Broncos to play in that yesterday, much less a baseball game.
"But the conditions are dry. It's cold. These are things that -- conditions and circumstances -- you deal with in April in different cities in the league. So we're going to go out there and do what we have to do."
Not only did most players wear extra layers, including special hats covering their ears, they stayed on the field for a Division Series record 4 hours 6 minutes, by which time the temperature had dipped into the mid-20s and the Phillies had emerged with a 6-5 victory.
Before the game, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel pointed out that his club is no stranger to an occasional deep freeze. Philadelphia isn't exactly blazing during early April, and his players have to travel to chilly NL cities such as New York and Washington.
"Most of the players nowadays, they know how to play in cold weather," Manuel said. "It does get cold in Philly early in the year. We also do play in places in spring of the year where it's cold. And they have hand warmers and they have all kind of underclothes, and they use baby oil. They use different kind of salves and stuff like that put on their body to keep them warm.
"When a game starts up, they used to tell me all the time that staying warm was not the problem. Every now and then pitchers' hands might be cold. A player might say something about his ears being cold. But most of the time they'll stay pretty warm once they get into it."
Tracy didn't argue with the theory that in cold weather, pitchers are at an advantage because hitters tend to be more patient in order to avoid swinging at inside pitches and stinging their hands on foul balls.
"I think what comes into play is both clubs' capability of making the plays and not creating unnecessary opportunity to give either club the opportunity to take the extra-bat that they otherwise wouldn't get,' Tracy said. "Handling the ball is something that definitely comes into play. You know, maintaining feeling with your fingers and things like that on the ball, all that stuff factors in."
Manuel, who was an Indians coach during the 35-degree World Series game in 1997, said teams' performances can turn the other way, too. He cited the fact that the Indians -- who beat Florida, 10-3, that night, with the teams combining for 21 hits -- didn't seem to mind the crisp air at all.
And how will the Rockies deal with the cold, Tracy was asked before the game?
"Plenty of clothing," Tracy said. "But not so much to where it inhibits you from doing what you have to do on the field."
Dugout heaters helped, too, and to that end, Manuel hoped Coors Field would be an equal-opportunity insulation provider.
"As far as the warmers in the dugout," Manuel said, "Rockies got 'em, we better have 'em."
Doug Miller is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.