Do spring sports start too early? [COLUMN]

Published 9:20 am Monday, February 23, 2015

“Grab your bats and hats, boys,” I can remember a baseball coach telling us once before a game.

This week, however, Chilton County’s baseball and softball stars have needed to grab their boats and coats, as inclement weather has sidelined several teams looking to get their seasons started.

We were looking forward to covering the start of the softball and baseball seasons, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. Sure, a few of our teams were able to get some games in, but there were several teams unable to play in scheduled contests due to extreme cold or poor field conditions from rain.

I have never understood why the high school baseball and softball season starts so early. Each year, there’s at least one cold snap that comes in toward the beginning of the season, and while weather can’t be completely avoided, the chance of having a game delayed by inclement weather most certainly can.

The AHSAA Spring Sports 2015 handbook states that varsity baseball teams are allowed 18 regular season playing dates, and varsity softball teams are allowed 18 games per season. Baseball teams are allowed two tournament and softball teams allowed seven, with the ending of both seasons  on May 16.

There are approximately 12 weeks between the start of the seasons and the end. I’m curious to know what would happen if the teams started their seasons the first full week of March and dropped four dates or games off the schedule? Some of the games that weren’t played this week won’t be made up, so if they just weren’t played in general, what would be the effect?

It’s not just baseball and softball that are affected. Tennis started Feb. 2, soccer started Feb. 19 and golf started  Feb. 16. Are there ways of pushing back those seasons as well to ensure the teams get to play, the players are able to grow as a team while refining their individual talents and the programs are able to make money?

I’d love to hear from players, coaches, fans and families on the issue. Would it make a difference? Do you mind braving the cold of the early season contests? Would you rather it wait until it gets a little warmer outside?

Feel free to send us your thoughts. You can email me at