Baseball in a winter wonderland in Pittsburgh elicits memories of Baltimore Orioles' snow game

Hargrove argues call
Hargrove argues call / Doug Pensinger/GettyImages

Baseball is a warm weather game. There's a reason teams report to sunny Florida or Arizona for spring training each February, instead of preparing for the season in the dead of winter.

But sometimes, the boys of summer must play in games where a puffy coat, winter hat, and mittens seem appropriate. The Baltimore Orioles' 5-2 victory at a snowy PNC Park on Friday cooled off the formerly red-hot Pirates and spoiled their long-awaited Opening Day.

While it did not snow for the entire game, there was unquestionably winter weather during the game. As Grayson Rodriguez went to work in the bottom of the second inning, a wintery mix poured down over downtown Pittsburgh. Rodriguez remained focused, securing a grounded out to first, a fly out to right (which Anthony Santander caught awkwardly while jumping) and a bounce out to second.

Baltimore Orioles win snow game vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Oddly enough, the sun poked out for a few innings before snow returned in the eighth inning. Reliever Yennier Cano pitched through the frightful weather, sandwiching a bounce out from Jack Suwinski between strikeouts of Ke'Bryan Hayes and Andrew McCutchen.

The Pirates' Opening Day "Snow Game" conjured up memories of the Orioles' own Opening Day "Snow Game" against Cleveland. The date was March 31, 2003, and the Orioles were beginning Year 5 of a string of 14 straight losing seasons. Some of these names will either bring back fond nostalgia or send a chill down your spine, depending on how you remember teams of Orioles past. Jerry Hairston Jr. led off and played second base that day. The Orioles' cleanup hitter was Jeff Conine. Marty Cordova was the DH, Geronimo Gil was the catcher, and Deivi Cruz the starting shortstop. Rodrigo Lopez started for the Orioles, and was followed by Rick Bauer, Buddy Groom, Jorge Julio, Kerry Ligtenberg, and B.J. Ryan. The Orioles actually won the game in 12 innings on Gary Matthews Jr.'s walk-off RBI single.

The most memorable play occurred in the top of the third with the Orioles leading 1-0. With one out, Milton Bradley walked and Omar Vizquel singled, putting runners on first and second. After Matt Lawton grounded into a fielder's choice, Ellis Burks stepped to the plate, and chaos ensued. The veteran outfielder drove a ball into right, where right fielder Jay Gibbons lost it in the snow. Vizquel scored, Lawton raced to third, and no one knew quite what had happened.

Fortunately for the Orioles and Pirates, the winter weather was not as disruptive on Friday. But this serves as a reminder that even during the long, hot, and sweaty baseball days in July and August, sometimes - but only sometimes - this game is played in the snow.