Warford 2020

I have written in the past that horror stories about the Valley’s notorious winds are, pardon the pun, overblown.

I stand by my assertion.

Yes, it is windy. And yes, the wind can blow hard, and when it does, it can be unpleasant.

I often say that I never felt colder than when covering an Antelope Valley College baseball game on a windy day in February back in my sportswriting days.

That is quite an admission for someone from the Snow Belt of central New York state.

However, people tend to overlook that we here in the AV also have many, many days throughout the year when the winds are calm or just a little breezy.

It’s not like it’s howling 40 mph every day of the year, which is the impression you get from Major League Baseball officials.

As detailed by Antelope Valley Press Sports Editor Merisa Jensen in her story in Friday’s paper, the wind was the main factor that MLB execs brought up in their decision not to place a minor league affiliate in Lancaster for 2021.

Major League Baseball downsized its number of minor league affiliates, and the Lancaster JetHawks were among the teams that did not make the cut.

Apparently, the baseball people think pitching in the wind is bad for pitchers.

Granted, if you have ever sat in the stands on one of those cold and windy nights in April, you can see their point. But June, July and August are most pleasant.

Weatherspark.com is a site run by a trio of Stanford grads that gives detailed weather data for tens of thousands of locations around the globe.

I checked to see how Lancaster compares to the Major League cities, the places every minor leaguer dreams of playing.

For Lancaster, they report:

“The windier part of the year lasts for 8.0 months, from November 5 to July 4, with average wind speeds of more than 7.8 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is April 24, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.0 miles per hour.”

OK, the windiest day of the baseball season, on average, is April 24 with an hourly average for the day of 9 mph.

How does that compare to Major League cities?

Chicago’s average hourly wind speed on May 5 (and Sept. 30) is 11.4 mph. San Francisco’s average hourly wind speed on May 29 is 9.7.

New York’s windiest day during baseball season is, like Lancaster’s, April 24. Winds average 8.3 mph on that date, just a bit less than Lancaster’s 9.

If a pitcher gets the starting nod for the Kansas City Royals on May 20, the average hourly wind speed that day is a brisk 10.2 mph.

Pitching for the Minnesota Twins can be a challenge as well. Windiest day of the baseball season in Minneapolis is May 25, with an average of 9.3.

Thus, several Major League cities have windier days than Lancaster. Yet no pitcher balks (again, pardon the pun) at signing a contract to pitch there.

I think it goes back to my thesis: Because the truly cold and windy days here are so unpleasant, it makes people think it is windier than it really is.

Naturally, as I write on Saturday morning, the wind is howling.

William P. Warford’s column appears every Friday and Sunday.

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