Baseball: With temperature in the 80s, Mission League coaches discuss El Niño strategy

Baseball: With temperature in the 80s, Mission League coaches discuss El Niño strategy
Mission League baseball coaches meeting to discuss how to deal with El Niño. (Eric Sondheimer)

It could have been a scene straight out of The Three Stooges.

The temperature in downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday was 89 degrees. Predictions of rain, mud slides and waterspouts from El Niño have yet to materialize. In a room on the campus of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High, six baseball coaches from the Mission League called a special meeting to discuss worst-case scenarios for when El Niño supposedly arrives in March.


People didn't know whether to laugh or be serious.

"We're assuming there's going to be rain," Notre Dame's Tom Dill said.

Said Alemany's Randy Thompson: "I'm not going to upset Mother Nature and ask where El Niño is. It's like talking about a no-hitter in the seventh inning."

The Mission League is in a precarious position this spring. It has switched its league schedule to three games a week instead of two, so any kind of disruption from weather could produce big problems, such as playing four games in a week or even five if El Niño effects really show up.

Since no one has a dome over its field, the coaches agreed to do whatever is possible to play the three games between Monday and Saturday. That means they will move games to different days depending on the weather and even switch games to different home sites depending on which fields are ready. The games are scheduled to be played on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Chaminade Coach Frank Mutz said he's going to purchase a $4,000 tarp in preparation for rain that may never come, because he's determined to play his home games at home. "I'm planning on getting my games in," he said.

Notre Dame has an all-weather field and lights and has offered to make its field available. There could be doubleheaders played on Saturdays. Harvard-Westlake is making preparations to use Valley College's new all-weather field with lights as a backup to bad weather.

Of course, no one really knows if El Niño is coming in March.

"I studied geology in college," St. Francis' Terry Phillips said. "There's a truth to it but what do we really know?"

Sounds like an episode for "The X-Files" could have been filmed at Notre Dame.

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