"It really didn't warm up till mid-April or May when I was younger," the Rays center fielder said. "I remember having baseball tryouts in sleet. I know what to expect. I don't care where we play, we're going to play our game, whether it's indoors or outdoors."
There may not be sleet in Philadelphia on Saturday night, but there likely will be chilly rain and there is no question that life is about to change significantly for any Major Leaguers who are still suiting up in the 2008 baseball season.
Goodbye to 72 degrees without a gust of wind or a drop of precipitation. Goodbye to the roof and the clang-clang-clang of cowbells. Goodbye to the balmy Sunshine State and the sand between your toes before heading to the ballpark.
The 104th World Series is moving north. We're all tied up at 1-1 in this best-of-seven series, and Game 3 is on Saturday in front of a Citizens Bank Park crowd that has waited for its moment a long time now. Conditions will be completely different.
It will be a different kind of loud, explosively loud even without the acoustics of a roof. Virtually everyone in the packed house will be waving a bright, white towel, and the total effect is wildly distracting at times. The lighting will be different.
Dome teams are 4-8 all-time in the outdoor setting at past World Series. That difficulty is largely due to the fact that Minnesota lost all of its road games in the 1987 and 1991 World Series. It should be noted that the Twins won both series, as did the Blue Jays in 1992-93. Houston is not included because it is a real-grass park, so the sample size is just four teams and those four won it all each year but had trouble outdoors.
"All that, to me, is just an excuse if they don't win at our place," Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said when informed of that statistic. "Stats say one thing. Everybody talked about how we would adjust to this [Tropicana] field, and it hasn't happened. We took a game here. If they lose at our place, there's no inside-outside excuse."
One-day World Series Postponements
|Date||Team @ Site||Gm.||Cause|
|10/05/1903||BOS (AL) @ PIT||4||Rain|
|10/09/1903||BOS (AL) @ PIT||7||Cold|
|10/12/1903||PIT @ BOS (AL)||8||Rain|
|09/04/1918||BOS (AL) @ CHI (NL)||1||Rain|
|10/14/1925||WAS @ PIT||7||Rain|
|10/04/1931||STL (NL) @ PHI (AL)||3||Rain|
|10/01/1936||NYY @ NYG||2||Rain|
|10/03/1941||NYY @ BKN||3||Rain|
|10/07/1951||NYY @ NYG||4||Rain|
|10/04/1956||NYY @ BKN||2||Rain|
|10/09/1962||SF @ NYY||5||Rain|
|10/10/1971||PIT @ BAL||2||Rain|
|10/17/1972||CIN @ OAK||3||Rain|
|10/20/1976||CIN @ NYY||4||Rain|
|10/09/1979||PIT @ BAL||1||Rain|
|10/27/1981||LA @ NYY||6||Rain|
|10/26/1986||BOS @ NYM||7||Rain|
|10/19/1996||ATL @ NYY||1||Rain|
|10/26/2006||DET @ STL||4||Rain|
Inside the Rays' clubhouse, Tampa Bay rookie third baseman Evan Longoria was asked about the series shifting to the National League house, and he said, "I've never played in Philly, but I'm sure it's gonna be just as tough as in Boston."
Indeed, the Rays just proved that they can win big upon leaving their cozy, covered confines. They won and then lost in the first two games of the American League Championship Series, and then moved north to a chilly Fenway Park and absolutely dominated the Red Sox the first two games there.
Longoria was asked to clarify what was "tough" about playing in Boston.
"I don't think that has anything to do with going outdoors," he answered. "I think it's just going on the road. It's just always tough when fans are booing you instead of cheering you when you go up to the plate."
Brett Myers took the 4-2 loss in Game 2 at The Trop. He will not be scheduled to return to the mound during Games 3-5 at Citizens Bank Park, but he said repeatedly in front of his locker that the advantage now goes to the Phillies.
"They have to deal with our crowd now," he said. "We're in front of our people, and we definitely play better at home. We took one here, that's a big deal for us. Our park with our fans, we're not down by any means. We actually feel good."
Upton said he feels good no matter where he plays. Bring on some rain, some cold that makes you break out the sleeves.
"Indoors or outdoors," he said. "Doesn't matter."
We'll see. The World Series is about to look, sound, smell and feel a lot different.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.