Weather at Work: Chattanooga Lookouts
Long before you buy your peanuts and Cracker Jack, the Chattanooga Lookouts are keeping a close eye on the forecast.
Long before you buy your peanuts and Cracker Jack, the Chattanooga Lookouts are keeping a close eye on the forecast. A sunny day means big crowds and bigger business at AT&T Field. But rain, or even the possibility of it, can mean game over.
“If we wake up Monday morning and they say it’s going to rain all day, all afternoon, we’re going to get a hit from that. We’re going to be in trouble for that night,” said Rich Mozingo, Chattanooga Lookouts president. “So we will adjust our staffing at the ballpark, we’ll adjust our food preparation for the ballpark, all those sorts of things will be done based off the forecast.”
Safety is always a priority. Lightning causes the biggest concern for players and fans.
“There’s guys out here playing in metal spikes, and people in the stands with umbrellas and that kind of stuff, lightning is unbelievably important for us and it’s what makes us pay attention the fastest.”
The decision to delay or postpone a game rests in Mozingo’s hands before line-ups are exchanged. After that, the umpire calls the shots.
“Umpires are trained to make sure our guys are safe, and we’re planning to make sure that our fans are safe, we’re not going to put people in harm’s way just to play a baseball game,” said Mozingo.
Managers and coaches check the forecast constantly, relying on TV broadcasts and weather apps and websites for up-to-the-minute updates. Today’s advanced technology helps them make decisions.
“We have a pretty good idea of when things are going to stop, when they’re going to start again,” said Mozingo.
If a storm blows up, Lookouts officials may ask everyone to clear the stands and seek shelter in the concourse, but they’ve never evacuated the stadium.
“This is a big, huge concrete, very sturdy bowl, and we feel pretty secure about what we’re doing inside the building, it’s pretty safe and there’s a lot of safe spaces in here,” said Mozingo. “For us it’s [5,000], 6,000 people a game. For 6,000 people to hit the streets immediately in a tough weather situation is not a good idea for anybody.”
Summer heat brings a different set of challenges. Crews will add watering stations throughout the park to make it easier for fans and staff to stay hydrated.
Weather also impacts the field. The grounds crew uses a large tarp to protect it during the rain and they water it when it’s dry to make sure it maintains a proper moisture level.
No matter how Mother Nature comes out swinging, weather will be top of mind from the first pitch to the final out.
“I’m always tuned in and it’s imperative to what we do. It drives everything that we do in this ballpark,” said Mozingo.
If weather prevents the Lookouts from playing five innings, tickets can be exchanged for any remaining regular season home game. No refunds or exchanges are given for rain delays.
For more information on the team's schedule or ticket information, visit the Chattanooga Lookouts website.