Major League Baseball has decreed that the roof will be open in Houston for the first World Series game ever played in that city.
I am surprised that the decision of whether to open or close a retractable dome is in the discretion of MLB and not the home team. The Astros openly favored having the roof closed, as it was during this year’s NL playoffs. However, those games were played when the weather was much warmer and less pleasant than it is today.
It is often said that the high noise level of a domed stadium provides an additional advantage to the home team. There is some evidence to support that contention, small sample-size issues aside:
During the regular season, the Astros were 36-17 at home when the roof was closed, 15-11 when it was rolled back and 2-0 in games that began indoors and finished in fresh air.
However, as the story notes, the roof was open only twice after May. It does not note, as it should, that the Astros team did not get hot until well after the weather did, and so the correlation between the team’s record and the closure of the roof may well be spurious.
I am pleased at MLB’s decision not only because I am rooting against the Astros and thus am happy to see any potential advantage taken away from themâ€”as if starting Roy Oswalt were not enough!â€”but also because I will admit to being something of a purist when it comes to baseball. The game was meant to be played in the open air. Having visited Houston in some less-than-nice weather, I understand why they have a dome, but the new dome, unlike the old Astrodome, has the capability of being opened, and so it should, weather permitting. “It is a gorgeous day,” baseball commissioner Bud Selig said.
Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in Selig’s office says MLB:
followed the Astros’ regular-season guidelines, which he said call for the roof to be open when the temperature is under 80 degrees and there is no rain.
Apparently, there is some dispute about this:
Astros spokeswoman Lisa Ramsperger said there are no specific guidelines.
Good. A little World Series controversy!
If the Astros do not win tonight, they are in rather deep trouble. Only one team has ever come back from being down 0-3 to win a best-of-7 baseball series, and I have to believe it probably will not happen for a second year in a row.
(I will consider this my most important post of the day.)