Royals fans have been waiting six months for baseball to return. The Royals made their debut on Monday in Minnesota, thrilling Royals fans until the game hit a thud in the seventh with a six-run Twins rally to put the game away. It was a disappointing loss, but just one game out of 162. As they say, “let’s get ‘em tomorrow.”
Except there is no game. The Royals are already enjoying their first day off for the season. Surely, they can’t already be tired, the season just started! So why are the Royals off today?
The answer is pretty simple - Opening Day is expensive and weather can be fickle. The demand for Opening Day tickets is pretty high, it is a day of pomp and circumstance and the return of baseball, a big party in many cases. Teams typically raise prices for Opening Day, and on the secondary market the prices can be even higher. For the Royals home opener on Monday, it is $100 for a seat - which is less than it had been the last few years. The very next game, the same seat is just $15.
The problem is that weather in many Major League cities - like Kansas City and especially Minneapolis - can be rainy and downright cold. This leads to a lot of postponements. If you spent $100 for Opening Day tickets, and the game is rained out, you would be pretty upset if you got a rain check for some random game against the White Sox in July.
So what teams do is build-in this off day, so that if Opening Day is washed out - as it was with the Tigers/White Sox game in Chicago yesterday, the game can simply be moved to the next day, with those Opening Day tickets still honored for Opening Day. The Royals will have the same setup next week when they have their home opener against the Athletics on Monday, followed by an off-day.
Not all teams do this, of course. Teams in climate-controlled stadiums or in warmer climates don’t have to worry about postponements as much. But for the Royals, this has been the arrangement for most seasons going back to 1982 as far as I can tell.
It stinks to have the build-up of an entire off-season only to have the momentum killed by an immediate off-day, but you can understand why teams would want to appease those paying top dollar for tickets. Maybe if there was a roof over Kauffman Stadium, it wouldn’t be an issue. But we are subject to the whims of Mother Nature, and she can be awfully unforgiving to baseball this time of year. Let’s just hope the off-day gives the Royals a chance to get their bats going and their bullpen arms right so they can finish off the Twins this series.