Cold ties mark for playoff game

Updated: October 12, 2009, 12:18 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

DENVER -- Jimmy Rollins danced around at shortstop while trying to keep from freezing. Jason Hammel blew on his pitching hand in an attempt to restore some kind of feeling.

There was little relief from Sunday night's biting cold for Game 3 of the NL division series between Philadelphia and Colorado. It was so chilly the players' breaths swirled around them like smoke.

The game-time temperature was 35 degrees, tying the record set when Cleveland hosted Florida in Game 4 of the 1997 World Series.

The majority of the Phillies and Rockies dressed as if they were hitting the ski slopes, wearing stocking caps, gloves and hooded sweatshirts as they lined up for pregame introductions.

Philadelphia's Rollins wore a cap underneath his hat to cover his ears. The umpires came out wearing heavy jackets zipped to their chins and gloves. In the stands, the fans were dressed in layers as well, parkas and scarves in abundance.

Really, nothing worked.

It was just that cold.

Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino, from Wailuku, Hawaii, bucked the bundled-up trend, dressing as if it were a day at the beach. He vowed to wear short sleeves after batting practice and lived up to his promise, donning a modified short-sleeved shirt.

"I wanted to see how it felt. It felt good so I'll be out there without sleeves," said Victorino, who did have a sleeve covering his right arm.

He wasn't alone. Philadelphia rookie pitcher J.A. Happ also went without sleeves.

The climate could've been worse -- at least the snow flurries and icy mist have cleared out.

The snowstorm that blew through the Mile High City on Saturday brought bone-chilling temperatures and led to the Phillies and Rockies getting postponed. The series is tied at one game each.

"There's no precipitation, just a cold and damp feeling," said Carl Burroughs, a hydro meteorological technician with the National Weather Service.

By game's end, the temperature was expected to plummet into the mid 20s.

Good thing the dugouts are heated. At least, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel hoped his team had that same luxury as the Rockies.

"As far as warmers in the dugout, Rockies got 'em, we better have 'em," said Manuel, who was the hitting coach for the Indians in the previous low-temp game.

They do, and extra heaters, too.

Still, Manuel didn't think the cool conditions would be much of a factor once the game started.

"A player might say something about his ears being cold," Manuel said. "But most of the time they'll stay pretty warm once they get into it."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy thought the chilly weather favored the starting pitchers, Happ and Hammel.

"Hitting in very, very cold weather, that's not the easiest thing in the world to do," Tracy said. "In this type of weather, it makes it a little more difficult to hit, believe me."

Hammel was cruising along too, until he was chased in the fourth inning after giving up three runs. Happ was pinch hit for in the inning and left with the score tied 4-3. The Rockies tied it in the bottom of the fourth off Joe Blanton.

For a batter, connecting with a pitch off the wrong part of the bat can lead to hurt hands for innings to come.

"The thing is staying warm, keep your hands warm," Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said Friday. "Try to put the barrel of the bat on the ball. If you don't get it on the barrel, it really stings."

Mostly, battling the elements boils down to a state of mind. That was the take of left-hander Cliff Lee, who will start Game 4 on Monday when the temperatures could be just as cool.

"I don't want to go into it saying, 'Oh, it's so cold, blah, blah, blah,'" Lee said. "I don't care if it's 120 or 20-below, we're both playing with the same elements. It's equal for us. It's equal for them ... Everybody's playing with the same elements."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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