Deciding Whether the Weather Will Clear Up!
Stories and Photos by Gordy Jones
During a recent rain delay, I took notice of the events taking place behind-the-scene. It was 4 p.m. and it hadn’t rained yet, but the sky looked rather threatening. The Twins were taking batting practice, when their meteorologist caught something on the radar screen. He gave groundskeeper Larry DiVito a nod, and suddenly the Twins were picking up their bats, balls, and gloves and leaving the field. Within minutes the grounds crew was putting the tarp on the field. As soon as they completed this task, the rain poured from the sky in buckets. The timing was simply amazing.
For the rest of the night the groundskeeper and meteorologist were glued to the radar in their weather room. They would occasionally talk on the phone to Twins’ president Dave St. Peter, and VP director of operations, Matt Hoy. Matt keeps GM Terry Ryan and the umpires informed. The Twins can make the call whether a game gets played or not before its start. Once a game begins the umpires make the decisions. Teams generally like to get the game in on the scheduled day; rescheduling is not only a pain, but quite expensive, too.
During a rain delay, the players usually retreat to their clubhouses where some might play games, watched other ballgames or sporting events, and maybe even enjoy a snack. They will randomly go to the cage to hit and throw, too, because they must stay loose.
Many reporters and photographers lounge around in the media lunch room waiting for some weather news.
You have to feel bad for the kids, adults, and sponsors, who thought they had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to throw out the first pitch, sing the National Anthem, or deliver the game ball to the mound. They sadly stand in front of the dugouts with umbrellas thinking they may have lost their big chance. Sometimes they do throw the first pitch in the rain, but from the infield warning track, and it’s not the same. The Twin’s videographer hit the nail on the head when he said, “If this is something that I had paid for as a sponsor or at a charity event, I’d demand that I have the opportunity to come back and throw out the first pitch another day.”
Ten minutes before the scheduled game time, Matt Hoy, Dave St. Peter, and the meteorologist met in the weather room. After studying the radar, they decide to officially delay the start of the game. They meet again at 8 o’clock, and now they can see a ray of hope for a 9 p.m. start. As soon as the rain let up, the grounds crew was out grooming the field, and play began about 9. The game was over at 11:58 p.m., and the Twins won.
Twins fans in St. Paul can now take the light-rail to Target Field. For most of the day, a train leaves about every 10 minutes, but there are 22 stops in-between the Union Depot and Target Field, and the trip takes 48 minutes or longer. However, it would be fun to leave early, hop off halfway, and have a little Happy Hour action to warm up for the game, knowing you are not driving. It costs $1.75 to ride the train, and $2.25 at rush hour. I guess the appeal of the train is that it’s fun, and it is nice getting off at the newly designed Target Field Station. It’s complete with a grass park, vendors, and an