National Geographic Daily News
Pitcher J.J. Putz throws a baseball in Cleveland, Ohio.

Seattle Mariners pitcher J.J. Putz at Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio in April 2007, when weather postponed a season-opening series of games between the Mariners and Indians.

Photograph by Tony Dejak, AP

Brett Line

National Geographic News

Published March 30, 2013

A new Major League Baseball season starts with opening day in April and ends in October or November with the World Series. Between those bookends, the 30 teams each play 162 regular-season games.

That's a lot of baseball.

That's also a lot of opportunity for Mother Nature to wreak havoc on America's pastime. With a new season upon us, we look back at the top ten moments when the natural world won.

1. Loma Prieta Earthquake

Game: World Series - Game 3 (San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A's)

Date: October 17, 1989

Location: Candlestick Park in San Francisco

As players warmed up and fans filled the stadium, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck. Around the Bay Area, 63 people were killed and thousands more were injured. The game was instantly canceled and would be rescheduled ten days later, with the A's beating the Giants 13-7.

2. A Swarm of Insects

Game: American League Division Series - Game 2 (Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees)

Date: October 5, 2007

Location: Jacobs Field in Cleveland

During this tight contest, a swarm of insects descended onto the field—to the players' great dismay. Play was stopped briefly as both teams applied bug spray. Still, the insects proved to be a distraction as Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, covered in bugs, blew a save and sent the game into extra innings. Cleveland would end up winning 2-1 in the 11th inning.

3. Heavy Snow

Game: Cleveland Indians vs. Seattle Mariners

Date: April 6, 2007

Location: Jacobs Field in Cleveland

The Cleveland Indians' home opener against the Seattle Mariners was just one pitch away from being an official game (five innings) when Mother Nature intervened. After several snow delays, the game was finally postponed. In fact, the entire four-game series was postponed, and the Indians' following series, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was moved to Miller Field in Milwaukee. The Indians would not have an official game at home until April 13.

4. Heavy Rain

Game: Chicago White Sox vs. Texas Rangers

Date: August 12, 1990

Location: Comiskey Park in Chicago

In 1990, rain drowned any hopes of a game being played between the White Sox and Rangers. The contest was scheduled to start at 1:35 p.m., but—after an agonizing seven-and-a-half-hour rain delay—it was finally called. At that point only a few hundred diehard fans remained in the stands.

5. Extreme Cold

Game: National League Division Series - Game 3 (Colorado Rockies vs. Philadelphia Phillies)

Date: October 11, 2009

Location: Coors Field in Denver

This game had actually been scheduled for the day before, but snow and subzero temperatures pushed it back to October 11. That night, however, the temperature at the time of the first pitch was a chilling 35 degrees—making it one of the coldest games on record.

6. Extreme Heat

Game: Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers

Date: August 26, 1988

Location: Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas

The temperature during this game was downright dangerous, reaching 109 degrees, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The Blue Jays wilted in the heat, getting just two hits in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers.

7. Hurricane Irene

Game: Multiple games on the East Coast

Date: August 28, 2011

Location: East Coast

In 2011, Hurricane Irene battered the Eastern seaboard like a Louisville slugger. The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles pushed back a Sunday doubleheader, the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves postponed all weekend games, and other teams moved Sunday games to Saturday doubleheaders. Teams had to reschedule the missed games in September.

8. Squirrel Delay

Game: National League Division Series - Game 4 (St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies)

Date: October 5, 2011

Location: Busch Stadium in St. Louis

During the fifth inning, a squirrel raced past Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt as he threw the ball. Oswalt complained that the squirrel had distracted him and asked that the pitch be nullified. The play stood, however, and Oswalt got the batter out on the next pitch. The Cardinals—who adopted the "Rally Squirrel" as an unofficial mascot—would eventually win the game, and the World Series. The Rally Squirrel was featured on their 2011 World Series rings.

9. High Winds

Game: 1961 All-Star Game

Date: July 11, 1961

Location: Candlestick Park in San Francisco

Strong winds swirled during this high-energy, extra-innings exhibition game. A powerful gust reportedly pushed National League Pitcher Stu Miller off the mound, causing him to balk, which allowed the American League to tie the game. The National League, however, scored two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 5-4 victory.

10. Stormy Weather

Game: Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers

Date: July 8, 2012

Location: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas

A bolt of lightning and a crash of thunder sent fans, players, and umpires scurrying for cover. Some players, in fact, dashed for the dugouts as if under attack. The game was delayed for 45 minutes. The Rangers would go on to win 4-3 in extra innings.

1 comments
Bart Bradbury
Bart Bradbury

How about fog?  I recall a game at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium against the Yankees when a heavy fog rolled in during the late innings of a close game.  I was sitting in the left field lower box area and could not even see the batter at the plate.  The umpires refused to call the game.  A fly ball was hit to left field and the Orioles left fielder couldn't see the ball and it dropped in front of him allowing the Yankees to score and win the game.  Had they called the game the Orioles would have won

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