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It’s Going to be Rainin’ Outdoors

March 30, 2014

You better come on in my kitchen
It’s going to be rainin’ outdoors.

– Robert Johnson
from Come On In My Kitchen

Tomorrow is opening day for major league baseball and fans are looking forward to the start of the season.  I know, I know. There was a game half-way across the world last weekend and then another game scheduled for tonight. But those seem mostly ceremonial. Certainly commercial in a more overt manner than usual. As far as I’m concerned these are just “soft launches,” using the business and marketing speak of the day. The Australian extravaganza was essentially an expensive extension of spring training that the big boys believe will ultimately help line their pocketbooks – a traveling circus of sorts. The season for most of us starts tomorrow and Tuesday. That is, if the weather cooperates.

The long, cold and wet winter continues in most of the country. Rain is in the forecast for Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Cincinnati. It’s supposed to snow in Denver, where accumulation was far below normal this past winter and in Milwaukee, where it’s been very snowy and cold since November. Games scheduled in these towns, other than Milwaukee, where there is a retractable roof available, will be at risk of cancellation due to the weather And oddly enough, we’re even expecting rain in the San Francisco Bay Area.

California is going through its worst drought in the record books. It’s been grim out here. Precipitation of all sorts – snow, rain, sleet – throughout the state has been dangerously low. The snow pack is 24% of the normal level. Some municipalities and water districts are hanging on with less than four months of supply.  They are scrambling and looking for miracles that aren’t in the works.

“As our state’s rainy season nears its end, much of California has received only about 50% of normal precipitation for this rainy season. Heavy rain and snow would have to fall throughout California most days in April to reach average annual rain and snowfall levels, which is highly unlikely. Even with such precipitation, California would remain in drought conditions, due to low water supplies in reservoirs from the two previous dry years.”
– State of California Weekly Drought Brief, March 24

This drought has been strengthened by atmospheric high pressure that has been sitting over a large section off the coast of western Canada since January 2013. This abnormality blocks the storms from reaching California and pushes them north. As a result, our winter was warm and sunny – one day after the other. We welcomed and enjoyed any bit of rain that came our way. Given the continuous stretch of dry weather, nobody was imagining that the A’s home opener would be at risk of a rain out. But indeed, that may very well be the case. We shall see soon.

Lots of light steady rain would do us a lot of good. Too much too fast could cause trouble with landslides and flooding. All things considered, I think even the biggest of baseball fans in California will prefer the rain; the games can wait. It’s a long season and there will be plenty of time later to fit them in. The potential for a cancellation might make the teams’ owners squirm and pace however, since every one of these games mean big bucks. Doubleheaders are messy and not as profitable for the owners, so the MLB avoids them when possible. Heaven forbid that the fans watch two games for the price of one. Hold on to your nation sack when you start laying your money down for this sport.

The Giants will be in Phoenix to play the Diamondbacks tomorrow, so weather won’t be a factor for them. My evening commute is shaping up already. It always does when the summer soundtrack of Bay Area baseball plays on my car radio.


Here’s a good quality tape of George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell and Ringo Starr playing Come On In My Kitchen in 1971.


  1. Baseball and climatology came together well here. Nicely written. I worked in Eureka as a weather forecaster for 7 years and feel connected to Northern California still. It breaks my heart to hear continued stories of drought in your beautiful state.


  2. And the Red Sox take on the Orioles in Baltimore. One fun fact: Red Sox opening day stats are 55-57-1. We’ll see what today brings, xo, LMA


  3. Love that clip..I love the static camera as well. No quick shots here and there to upset my listening. I saw Leon at a small bar in my hometown. It was a real treat.


    • I thought you’d like that, GB. I did. Leon and the others just as we remember them. And yes, the camera was an integral element.


  4. Maybe we should think of opening day as a modified rain dance, Bruce, and being rained out as a sacrifice to the rain gods. Enjoyed the tune and the blog. –Curt


  5. Thanks for sharing the video – really enjoyed that!
    And I look forward to your baseball updates, while I am hoping, wishing, longing for rain in the California!
    Every time someone in the East has complained about rain, I just remind them that we might be able to avoid draught. Scary times out there.


  6. You can send your leftover East Coast rain right on over, Laurie.


  7. mark heyer permalink

    That effortless Clapton playing never gets old. I once heard a story that Ian Anderson became a flute player after watching him. He figured that door was closed.


    • Same for me, Mark. I recently woke up in the middle of the night with the urge to see him play with Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash when he was a kid. And so I did. And then followed up with more. A well spent moment of insomnia.

      “EC was God,” so said the Islington subway wall. Did anyone check I. Anderson’s fingernails for over spray from the paint can?


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