ORONO, Maine — University of Maine baseball coach Steve Trimper is an avid hunter and he has spent many a chilly November day stalking that big buck.
But even he has limits on what he is willing to endure.
“This would be a nonhunting day for me, and that’s about the only time I’ll go out in weather like this,” Trimper said with a laugh Saturday while explaining UMaine had postponed Saturday’s America East doubleheader against Binghamton University because of cold conditions.
With temperatures in the low 30s and winds gusting up to 36 mph late Saturday morning resulting in a wind chill of 16 degrees, officials determined the games should not be played.
“We all are pretty tough and we’re Northeast baseball, but it came down to the wind chill and the wind,” said Trimper, who explained he and Binghamton coach Tim Sinicki started discussing the situation early Saturday morning — after each had stepped outside.
The series moved to a Sunday doubleheader at Mahaney Diamond where UMaine swept Binghamton 5-2 and 3-2. Under new conference rules, there will be no makeup game on Monday.
UMaine’s home softball doubleheader against the University at Albany at Kessock Field also was called off because of the cold. On Sunday, Albany swept Maine 5-2, 8-4.
The Portland Sea Dogs, the Class AA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, also postponed Saturday’s 1 p.m. home game against Trenton, citing unplayable field conditions. It will be made up as part of a July 2 doubleheader.
In Bangor, Husson University played its scheduled North Atlantic Conference doubleheader against Colby-Sawyer that began at noon.
Saturday marks the second time in three seasons UMaine has postponed a game because of cold temperatures. In 2010, the Black Bears’ home opener against Lehigh was pushed back a day to avoid playing in extreme conditions.
“We’ve done some crazy things before,” Trimper explained. “We’ve shoveled field and we’ve played in cold, but I agree with Tim and the umpires that this really isn’t baseball weather.”
Trimper said the coaches consulted with UMaine administrators, the America East Conference office and the umpiring crew in trying to decide whether to brave the conditions. He said the umpires’ input sealed the deal.
“They said look, we’re not happy getting this thing going and they might actually bang (suspend) it if we started,” Trimper said. “They don’t want to get anybody hurt, and for all of us, it really came down to student-athlete welfare.”
The scenario might have been averted under recently adopted conference scheduling rules. During the first five weeks of the regular season, they permit teams to attempt to schedule their three-game series within a four-day window.
Trimper said teams can play Friday-Saturday, Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday as needed, based on weather concerns and field conditions.
However, in order to have switched the UMaine-Binghamton baseball series to Sunday and Monday, the decision had to have been made before Binghamton departed for Orono so the Bearcats could postpone their trip until Saturday.
“We’re in a new situations here with the rules,” Trimper said. “In hindsight, I would have loved to sat there yesterday and told those guys not to come, but it’s hard to predict the weather.”
He said Saturday’s conditions were considerably colder than what had been forecast. He also stressed the aim is always to do as little as possible to disrupt opponents’ travel schedule, which affects class time and travel arrangements that have been made in advance.
“You want to make the right decision,” Trimper said. “There’s a lot of pressure on the home team to make sure you make the right call.”