The Angels-Twins Weather Situation: Thoughts from a meteorologist and fan

April 18, 2013
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SECRET WEATHER LAIR — Tonight the Angels and Twins were supposed to play the final game of their series at 7pm.  The game was called roughly 20 minutes (give or take) before the first pitch.

So what happened?

Over the previous few days the weather models had consistently hinted at the likelihood of Wednesday night’s game being rained out.  The teams could have made the game up tomorrow (Thursday) but since Ma Nature thinks it’s still January, this was likely not an option because of snow in the forecast.  This was likely making heads explode with those in charge of determining whether or not a game was to be played tonight.  For those of you who follow me on Twitter (@bennyc50), you know that I like to tweet about the forecast for the upcoming Twins game and others.  I tweeted multiple times today about how tricky the situation was going to be tonight with the timing of the precipitation and how difficult it would be to make the call to play.  As I tweeted earlier, I’m glad I wasn’t the person in charge today.

So what was so tricky?  Well the onset of rain was delayed compared to what the models had forecast earlier and with the possibility of the makeup game being snowed out tomorrow, the Twins decided to give it a go tonight.  Unfortunately the game was called (very close to game time) because rain had developed.  The Twins made the right choice tonight but could they have made the choice sooner for fans?

After the game was called, Dave St. Peter tweeted the models were forecasting the rain to hold off until 10pm.  He was right but, “Radar don’t lie” (unless ground clutter etc.).  This radar image was taken a little under 3 hours before game time.  The returns eventually grew stronger and filled in across the metro ultimately getting the tarp out and then the eventual postponing of the game.

Could the Twins have called the game sooner?  Sure.  What happens if the rain stays light, game could have been played, and now they have to fit this game in a couple months later because the snowstorm tomorrow wouldn’t allow them to make it up then?  I absolutely mean what I tweeted below.  I’m glad I’m not in charge of making these decisions.

Throw the towel or hear fans howl on twitter?

Throw the towel or hear fans howl on twitter?

Additional thoughts from today (Thursday April 18th) as I watch it snow.

While it’s over and done with, it brings up some issues the MLB could address.

MLB needs to trust meteorologists more and not Joe Torre (or whoever) looking at a radar screen.  How many times have we seen a game played and then rained on because to begin with the radar was clear?  Guess what, precipitation develops and a meteorologist can help you out in this situation.  I know teams have good professional meteorologists employed. Meteorologists who know these things can happen but it seems like they aren’t being utilized enough or their information goes in one ear and out the other.

On top of that, if MLB did use the meteorologist’s skill and saw a rainout was probable, could they move the game to earlier in the day?  This one is tricky because the logistics of the fans are easier to accomodate in delays.  Understandably there would fans angry that the game is starting 3 hours earlier because unfortunately, that’s how long it takes them to get to the ballpark and they are screwed.  Then again, if MLB would trust the forecast, they could, in theory, get the notice out soon enough that an early start wouldn’t hurt those fans and if it did?  Give them their money back and play on anyway.  At least you get the game in on the day it was scheduled, avoiding roster shuffles and one game fly-ins later in the season.

 

Just me thinking out loud.  I thought the Twins ultimately did the right thing last night.  I’ll say it again, it was a very tricky situation with that rain/drizzle developing to the south.  In the end you know what it was?  The same damn thing that has plaugued Twins fans this entire month of April.  The schedule and weather not cooperating.  Just bad luck.

Oh and don’t blame Dave St. Peter for this, blame the weather.  I’m surprised he isn’t a raging drunk by now considering how many angry, ignorant tweets he gets and actually responds to. Some gripes are always expected but tip of the hat to him for answering all types.

You can follow me on twitter @bennyc50

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