S103 Weather on the Diamond: Spending a Season as the Meteorologist for a Minor League Baseball Team

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Brian T Mastro, Penn State University, Brooklyn, NY

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 worse, fans stay away and the game is sometimes delayed or cancelled. Despite the sport’s 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 and another instance where lightning knocked out power in the stadium.  After multiple games of providing to the Spikes ground’s crew and Umpires the GM of the team even said that having a meteorologist on staff will be essential in the future. 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. This poster will detail the problems Major League Baseball teams have in handling weather situations, show the various impacts weather had during the State College Spikes 2016 season and how decisions were made to handle hazardous weather. The poster will also examine how what I learned during my time with the Spikes could be implemented in the future to help address Baseball’s weather problem.
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