“Lions and Tigers and Bears!” Major League Sports Tackle Climate Change!

Guest “sports commentary” by David Middleton

Climate change is threatening sports stadiums and arenas, and teams like the Yankees and Dolphins are battling back


Diana Olick

Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium will host about 65,000 fans on Super Bowl Sunday. While the biggest battle in football will last just one evening, the fight that stadium faces from the effects of climate change will go on indefinitely.

It is not alone. Teams and stadiums across country are dealing with flooding, extreme storms, excessive heat and smoke from wildfires.

“The last three years in September, we’ve had climate issues, whether they’re hurricane threats. We had to actually move a game,” said Tom Garfinkel, CEO of the Miami Dolphins football team. “We’ve had lightning strikes that we’ve never had in 30 years here, where we had to delay a game. It was the longest game in the history of the NFL.”



Hurricane season is not a “climate issue”.

“Global Hurricane Frequency (all & major) — 12-month running sums. The top time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached at least hurricane-force (maximum lifetime wind speed exceeds 64-knots). The bottom time series is the number of global tropical cyclones that reached major hurricane strength (96-knots+). Adapted from Maue (2011) GRL.” Dr. Ryan N. Maue

And the “longest game in the history of the NFL” wasn’t a “climate issue.” Lightning isn’t climate. Oddly enough, that game was in September 2018. 2018 will come up again later in this post.

Back to the CNBC article prattling on about climate change…


American Airlines Arena, where the Miami Heat basketball franchise plays, sits right on the edge of Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

“The Arena will begin to flood with only two feet of sea level rise. I’m talking 20 years or less,” said Henry Briceno, a professor at Florida International University who studies the impact of climate change on water. He expects a similar fate for the Hard Rock Stadium at a three feet rise, and said he was appalled to hear that a Major League Soccer expansion team, backed by soccer icon David Beckham, is proposing a new stadium be built near the Miami airport.

“I don’t know if those guys know that they are building in the future Atlantis,” said Briceno.



“The Arena will begin to flood with only two feet of sea level rise. I’m talking 20 years or less,” said Henry Briceno…

According to Dr. Briceno’s LinkedIn page, he spent 10 years at the Colorado School of Mines… He beat Bluto Blutarsky by 3 full years.

American Airlines Arena, FL
American Airlines Arena is a Building in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It has an elevation of 1 meters, or 3 feet.

Sea level in the Miami area is rising at a rate of less than 3 mm/yr.
Miami Beach (NOAA)
Virginia Key (NOAA)

At 2.84 mm/yr, it will take 215 years for sea level to rise by 2 feet. For sea level to rise 2 feet in 20 years, it would have to rise at a rate of 30.5 mm/yr.

Short of Doctor Evil using a space “LASER” to instantly melt the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, it is physically impossible for sea level to rise that quickly. Just a couple of years ago, they were prattling about Miami Beach sea level rising by 2 feet in 40 years.

Miami Beach spends millions to hold back the sea
The city is installing powerful storm water pumps and raising some public streets by an average of two feet.
Sea levels in South Florida could rise up to two feet over the next four decades. That puts Miami Beach – an island three miles off the Florida coast – at risk.

The city is already experiencing sunny day flooding – days when there’s no rain, but high tides push water up through storm drains and flood city streets.


Yale Climate Connections

And that wasn’t even physically possible.

Projected sea level rise through 2100 AD. Two feet of sea level rise over the next four decades would require a pace even faster than that required for 1 meter (~3 feet) of sea level rise by the end of this century. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/21/oh-say-can-you-see-modern-sea-level-rise-from-a-geological-perspective/

Sea level rise in the Miami area is not accelerating and it is rising at a rate of about 1 foot per century. Even at 3.5 mm/yr, sea level would only rise by 14 cm (5.5 in) over the next 40 years.

Topographic profile A-A’. The NOAA sea level trend has been plotted at.the same vertical scale. Alarmists Gone Wild: “Alarmist CO2 Headlines Create Confusion”… Particularly When Accompanied by Sea Level Alarmism.


“Every community that hosts a professional sports venue, a sports stadium or arena, is going to be affected by global climate disruption, by climate change, whether through storm surges, more precipitation, stronger hurricanes, wildfires, droughts,” said Allen Hershkowitz, environmental science advisor to the New York Yankees, the first and only such known position in professional sports.



Can you believe that the New York Yankees are the only professional sports franchise to employ an environmental science advisor adviser?

Yogi Berra must be rolling over in his grave. Although, Yogi was not only a catcher and outfielder, he was also a meteorologist…

“It gets late out there early.” IZQuotes

Why don’t the New York Mets, New York Jets and New York Giants employ environmental science advisers? They play in the same climate change as the Yankees do. Is there something special about the Bronx Bombers?

“I mean, no one looks at the New York Yankees and thinks that they’re some kind of a left-wing radical organization,” added Hershkowitz.


I certainly did… I’m a life-long New York Mets fan!

“It ain’t over till it’s over.” New York Mets manager Yogi Berra, July 1973 (Centerfieldmaz)

Fortunately, this CNBC article ain’t over…


The initiative is especially imperative to the Dolphins’ owner, Stephen Ross, who is also chairman of The Related Cos., the developer behind Manhattan’s massive new Hudson Yards project, a retail, office and residential complex which sits on the edge of the Hudson River.

“There’s risk for everything. It’s not just sports,” said Ross. “That’s why I’m very active now in dealing with the climate, being upfront and doing things. You can’t wait to say, ‘Oh my God,’ and do it too late. If we don’t do something now, we are looking at extinction.”



Was that the mother-of-all non sequitur fallacies or what? He’s building the most expensive real estate development in the history of human civilization about 10 feet above sea level and he’s worried about human extinction if we don’t fix the weather right now.

Hudson Yards and The Battery (Wikipedia)

Sea level rise at The Battery has been a steady 2.85 mm/yr since before the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter.

The Battery (NOAA)

A Little “Inside Baseball”

As I previously mentioned, I am a life-long New York Mets fan. I grew up in western Connecticut, about 90 minutes from New York City. As often as I could, I would make the trip to Shea Stadium to watch my beloved Mets and there were seasons when I would try to watch every game on TV… Even during the seasons when the Mets sucked (which were more seasons than when they were good). Two of the things that I really hated were:

  1. Rainouts
  2. Rain delays

If climate change is threatening baseball, we should see the effects of it in the number of rain outs and rain delays. But, baseball, the most statistically intensive sport on Earth doesn’t seen to have stats for this. Supposedly, the Commissioner’s Office has been keep records of rainouts and rain delays since 1986… But I haven’t been able to find them.

Mets-Braves rainout sets record for early season weather-related PPDs
Apr 22, 2018
ESPN News Services

The Braves announced that their game against the New York Mets in Atlanta has been postponed because of inclement weather, setting a record.

There have been 26 weather-related postponements this season, and according to The Associated Press, that’s the most through April since Major League Baseball began keeping records in 1986.

There were 26 postponements through April in 2007, but one was in response to the death of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock.



2018 must have been a bad year for sports weather.

MLB Must Consider Shortened Season as It Loses Attendance, Weather War
APRIL 19, 2018

The MLB season is too dang long.

That’s not a universal truism, but it’s definitely the opinion of Chicago Cubs first baseman and three-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo. He has a point.

Here’s what Rizzo had to say Tuesday on Chicago’s ESPN 1000 (via ESPN.com’s Jesse Rogers):

“I think we play too much baseball. Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game? I know it’s both, but in the long run it will make everything better. … In a perfect world, we’d start the season later and play a few scheduled doubleheaders going into an off day. As a fan you’re going to a baseball game in April, and it’s raining, snowing and [with] freezing rain. Is it really that much fun? That’s my question.”

Thus far, Mother Nature has bolstered Rizzo’s complaint. MLB initiated its season on March 29, the earliest Opening Day ever. On Sunday alone, there were six rainouts, bringing the season total to a whopping 21. 

Partly, that’s an unavoidable act of God. Short of requiring all clubs to install retractable roofs, baseball’s powers that be can’t control the weather. 

And even domes haven’t been able to escape the wrath, as freezing temperatures sent ice falling through a hole in the Blue Jays’ roof on Monday.


Bleacher Report

I somehow doubt that “raining, snowing and [with] freezing rain” and “freezing temperatures” sending chunks of ice through holes in the roofs of covered stadiums is the type of climate change the CNBC article was prattling on about.

Maybe the problem isn’t the weather…

MLB can’t change the weather, but starting the season earlier than ever makes no sense at all

MAR 26, 2019

Excluding the two-game series between the A’s and Mariners in Japan last week, baseball season starts in earnest on Thursday with 15 games, including the White Sox at the Royals and the Cubs at the Rangers.

The March 28 opening date is the earliest ever to kick off a baseball season in North America, one day earlier than last year’s slate of openers.

In its infinite wisdom, Major League Baseball decided in the last collective bargaining agreement to add an additional weekend at the start of the season, giving teams three or four additional off days in the 162-game schedule. This gives the players more time to rest over the course of the six-month schedule, and theoretically gives clubs more scheduling options.

But that also means many teams, including the Sox and Cubs, likely will be playing several games in cold and rainy weather, if they’re fortunate enough to get the games in at all. And with teams doing everything they can to play, even in inclement weather, fans will have to endure some miserable days at the ballpark.


Chicago Tribune

Major League Baseball would be better, and less vulnerable to weather, with 142-game season
Nancy Armour USA TODAY Sports

April 16, 2018

The rash of postponements due to snow and cold in the Midwest and on the East Coast – 24 and counting, and the season is just 19 days old! – ought to accelerate consideration for shortening the season. Baseball isn’t meant to be played in balaclavas and parkas, and the only time fans should need a blanket at the ballpark is when there’s a movie night under the stars.

By doing away with interleague play, baseball could go to a 142-game season – and the schedule wouldn’t look all that different. The season could start April 15 and end Sept. 15, with the World Series ending by Oct. 15. There would even be room for additional off days.


USA Today
2018 again… “Workers at Wrigley Field clear snow before a Chicago Cubs Game this month. Nam Y. Huh, AP” USA Today

Definitely not the sort of climate that the CNBC article was prattling on about.

After doing some digging, I did find some data on the number of rainouts from 2001-2018.

“Baseball Season, 2018: It’s a Washout” WNYC News

I also found a list of April rainouts for 2000-2011. Putting these two list together yields this…

AprilFull Season

April 2018 was just a bad month for baseball.

Can you say “random scatter”?

I’ll just close with another Yogi-ism…


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January 30, 2020 6:28 pm

Diana Olick continues peddling climate change alarmist reports. I saw one where she was questioning multi-billion dollar office and residential construction projects in the former Boston harbor.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
January 30, 2020 7:56 pm

Given the nature of Boston Harbor that might be a reasonable concern, or not. As always, the devil is in the details. Anyway, there are many many examples of people building in unsuitable locations. Clearly, such a concern is often warranted.

January 30, 2020 6:28 pm

Confirmation bias is something we are born with. In terms of Darwinism, it has a survival function. But in terms of rational thought it just gets in the way.


Also this


George Daddis
January 30, 2020 6:33 pm

Isn’t using climate data similar to using analytics in sports?

Hint: Don’t build your stadium in a city built 100 years ago below king tide.

nw sage
January 30, 2020 6:49 pm

Perhaps ‘climate’ will do us all a favor and push the sea level up about 20 ft in the next year and show the developers just how stupid they are – and perhaps not!

Reply to  nw sage
January 31, 2020 4:31 pm

I have a very nice home in an area prone to tornadoes, drought, heavy rain, hail and occasional sleet,snow and ice. I have the option to sell and move. I do not believe it would be reasonable for me to petition the government to tax my fellow countrymen in order to alleviate my choice to live here based on any presumptions I may embrace. I certainly do not believe I and my fellow countrymen should be taxed based on any hypothetical future state.
If the Yankees, Dolphins, Heat and whomever are concerned with Climate Change thy can relocate to an area they deem is less threatened. It is called Freedom.
How about the Havana Dolphins or the Caracas Yankees? I’m sure Raul and Maduro will raise taxes to allay your fear.

January 30, 2020 6:52 pm

Climate Change has become the Universal Scapegoat for all the mistakes, omissions and errors that Nature highlights and for which people want to blame others.

January 30, 2020 6:53 pm

A lot of fuel is consumed flying teams from place to place for sporting events, not to mention all of the fans getting to sporting arenas, fields, etc. I’ve notice college basketball teams especially taking summer trips to Europe, Asia, Australia, etc. for scrimmages. Even high school teams are travelling all over the country to play games elsewhere.

Anyway, I don’t see the Atlantic covering the nipples of those sunbathing topless on South Beach any time soon.

Reply to  Scissor
January 31, 2020 4:53 am

Scissor: “Anyway, I don’t see the Atlantic covering the nipples of those sunbathing topless on South Beach any time soon.”

It’s easy to stay ahead of sea level rise with breast implants. Keeps those puppies high and dry, eh?

The choice is ours; raise taxes, eliminate fossil fuels, stop eating meat, and form a One World government or breast implants.

It’s a no-brainer from where I’m Wintering in Florida.

January 30, 2020 7:09 pm

This is what happens when you pay people to hype AGW. They do it because they’re paid to do it.

Reply to  markl
January 31, 2020 11:29 am

This is also why you shouldn’t listen to them.

Gunga Din
January 30, 2020 7:22 pm

I don’t know about other sports, but if college football can survive those horrible calls by the SEC refs in the OSU vs Clemson game, it will survive another Snow Bowl or a Water Bowl or a Dust Bowl or a …..

PS There really was a game dubbed “The Snow Bowl”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Bowl_(1950)

January 30, 2020 7:59 pm

“…………..We’ve had lightning strikes that we’ve never had in 30 years here,……”

Doesn’t he know that lightning never strikes twice in the same place???????

January 30, 2020 8:06 pm

I have been to Hudson Yards. The recent main plaza level has been built up to much higher than shown by elevation maps I found from several minutes with Google, well above the level of the train yard. This is making me wish that I took an elevation reading by my phone’s GPS when I was there about 7 months ago.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
January 30, 2020 8:08 pm

Hard Rock Stadium opened in 1987, originally named “Joe Robbie Stadium”. The oldest active NFL venue is Soldier Field in Chicago, which opened 1924, but it underwent major rennovations in 2003, resulting in the appearance of a flying saucer from Men In Black crashing into a Roman stadium. So in it’s current form it really dates from 2003. Otherwise the oldest active NFL stadium is Kansas City, which is just shy of 50 years old (opened 1972).

So the odds are that Hard Rock stadium will fall to the wrecking ball in the next 20 years, long before it can be threatened by climate change.

January 30, 2020 8:42 pm

There’s a Japanese saying that when you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither.

Any sports team that takes it’s eye off winning on the field, will soon stop winning on the field.

Ian Coleman
January 30, 2020 8:42 pm

Most of Steven Wright’s material was actually written by Yogi Berra. Also much of the novel Catch-22.

I’m going to get to Heaven and Yogi is going to be my orientation leader, and every time I complain about something (like the music by Bach, or the fact that none of the girls in Heaven is any fun), he’s going to say, “Well, that the hell of it.”

Leo Smith
January 30, 2020 8:42 pm

CRICKET is the most statistically intensive sport in the world.
Leading to the famous anecdote that rising wheat prices caused drawn games. (Wet summers caused both)

Geo Rubik
January 30, 2020 10:28 pm

“According to Dr. Briceno’s LinkedIn page, he spent 10 years at the Colorado School of Mines…”

Are you sure it’s “Colorado School of Mimes”?

January 30, 2020 11:28 pm


I say that let’s just cut the MLB Season down to a nice round number, say 140 games !

And, at the time, let’s cut MLB Salaries down to a maximum of “$1000.00 per game MAX ?

So the “maximum” salary per Player is $140,000 per year, and, a “Player“ receives pay ($$$) only in games played, period (Injuries are part of the game) !

Then “We” cut ticket prices to a maximum of $5.00 dollars per game. And the “Owners “ take a %1000 percent loss in cut/revenue. and games are “only’ played during the Daytime (No need for the extra Carbon Polluting Light/Night games. and, don’t forget to “include” the Transgender players who by all means are just as good as any other players, on or off the field ??? !


Now doesn’t that make sense ?????????

Now if “BURNING” BERNIE is for it, then why aren’t WE ? !!!!!


Sincerely yours

Bernie (I love HOT places) Sanders for President


Mike Bromley
January 31, 2020 12:07 am

“Teams and stadiums across country are dealing with flooding, extreme storms, excessive heat and smoke from wildfires.”

They are? And their opponents? I remember in 2013 when the Calgary Saddledome filled with water when the Elbow River overflowed its banks. Caused by climate change. Not by the construction on a point bar in a meander of the Elbow River…which had historically flooded to that height before….nope, uh-uh. Then when BC Burned down last year, for about the third consecutive year, the skies were yellow with forest fire smoke. All climate-caused, of course.

January 31, 2020 12:48 am

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra

Carbon Bigfoot
January 31, 2020 4:04 am

I can’t speak for other stadiums but the Philadelphia Phillies ball park, Citizen’s Bank Park has the playing field at 23 feet below street level. It is built in South Philly next to the Delaware River. Philadelphia is built on a convergence of numerous underground streams that cause frequent street collapses. It is also split in half by the Schuylkill River a major SE Pennsylvania drainage ditch.
Given that geology it is no wonder it can flood under given circumstances. I am certain that an adequate drainage system with massive pumps that work all the time to alleviate the base load groundwater with back-up pumps to handle the field rain accumulation. NO CLIMATE CHANGE HERE.

AGW is Not Science
January 31, 2020 5:44 am

One of my favorite Yogi-isms had to do with him taking some advice or instruction on how to hit better (I don’t recall the specifics). After striking out, he returned to the dugout and said, “I can’t think and hit at the same time.”

January 31, 2020 6:01 am

If there is a climate emergency we should immediately eliminate all unnecessary activities that use energy. Hollywood and professional sports would be #1, and #2 in terms of least necessary. Plus we have over 100 years of better quality recorded movies and games if you really need to watch it.

John the Econ
January 31, 2020 6:31 am

If climate change is the existential crisis they say it is, then why do we even have something as frivolous as professional sports much less any entertainment industry? The carbon footprint of entertainment is immense. Ban it all!

Robert W Turner
January 31, 2020 7:33 am

Suffering from the worst case scenario of doomsday climate change cult predictions actually sounds quite nice compared to the last two decades of suffering through the their stupidity.

January 31, 2020 9:42 am

Hm. I wonder what the carbon footprint of flying two football teams and 65000 fans in for the superbowl is? Plus powering the stadium and running the broadcast equipment for the game itself. Plus all the people burning power watching the game on TV.

Not to mention the games for the whole season leading up to the superbowl, and the impact of building and maintaining the stadiums practice fields and other facilities. etc. etc. etc.

If Global Warming really is such an existential threat, shouldn’t things as frivolous as sportsball games for entertainment be the first things we get rid of?

Just saying.

January 31, 2020 5:13 pm

Despite David’s usual voluminous listing of clarifying figures, I just could not bring myself to read past the first block quote.

That’s all the stupid I could take. No further explanation was required. (^_^)

I need more first aide supplies now for my stupid-it-burns, third-degree injuries.

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