"Weather on the Diamond: Spending a Season as the Meteorologist for a Minor League Baseball Team"
Brian Mastro, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
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Abstract
Baseball and weather have a complicated relationship, many people love being able to sit outside on a lovely summer day and enjoy a game of baseball. However, when the relationship sours and the weather takes a turn for the worst, fans stay away and the game is sometimes delayed or cancelled. Despite the sportís dependence on weather, Major and Minor League Baseball do not handle weather situations well. There are numerous examples of games being played in hazardous conditions, endangering, players, fans and umpires. The State College Spikes, the Short-Season Single A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals recognized this issue and hired me as a meteorologist for the 2016 season. The season was an exciting one that saw the spikes win the New York-Penn League championship. Weather had a large impact on the 2016 season with multiple rainouts and rain delays. The weather presented unique challenges with rapid developing thunderstorms and numerous near misses, including one instance where it rained it left field but not in right field. After multiple games of providing to the Spikes groundís crew and Umpires the GM of the team even said that having a meteorologist on staff will be essential. Learning the inner workings of how a baseball team handles weather events was truly a fascinating experience and allowed me to learn about communicating critical weather information in real time. Every Major League Baseball team should have a meteorologist on staff, yet right now only the Minnesota Twins have one. The experience gained this summer only further cemented this belief and is something MLB should adopt in the non-distant future as MLB currently handles weather events poorly.