Deep within the winding corridors on the bottom floor of the Target Field complex is a cramped room, easily mistakable for a large closet. Inside sits the man with the answer to the biggest question of the day.
“Any issues tonight?” Twins President Dave St. Peter asks, popping in for a quick update.
It was the kind of day — bright and sunny with a light breeze — that makes Craig Edwards’ job easy.
Since the Twins left the Metrodome and began playing at Target Field in 2010, Edwards has served as the team’s on-site meteorologist, the only position of its kind in major league baseball.
At most other ballparks, a team subscribes to a weather service provider, which will allow grounds crew members to monitor the radar for weather systems that could interfere with games. However, with no trained eye on site, calls are often made to off-site meteorologists for help.
“I’ve spent a good portion of my life watching radar, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t really know what I’m looking at,” said Dave Horsman, the Twins’ director of ballpark operations. “We’ve got outsourced services, but they’re not here. They’re not looking at what we’re looking at; they’re not sensing what we’re sensing.”
That’s where Edwards comes in.
A ballpark job
From a young age, Edwards was transfixed by the sky. Growing up in western Chicago, he spent a lot of time monitoring clouds, wishing for snow days that would keep him out of school, he recalled.
In 1971 he graduated from Northern Illinois and went to work for the National Weather Service, for which he spent 34 years in three different cities. From 1991 until he retired in 2006, Edwards served as the chief meteorologist for the NWS in Minneapolis.
Edwards was working part time for Minnesota Public Radio when the construction of Target Field began and the thought of becoming the Twins meteorologist first popped in his head, he said. Before the first season in the new ballpark commenced, Edwards approached Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito with his plan.
DiVito didn’t need much convincing. He came to Minnesota after three years as head groundskeeper for the Washington Nationals, where he said he was spread thin, forced to juggle his everyday duties with monitoring the radar and keeping umpires updated on the forecast.
So just days before the first ever pitch was thrown at Target Field, DiVito hired Edwards in the hopes of making game day operations smoother. And so far, that’s exactly what the outcome has been, DiVito said.
“Whether it’s the umpires or the managers of the teams or the executives, they all kind of have this expectation for finite answers — when is it going to rain, how long, how hard,” DiVito said. “He’s helpful in that he’s better able to give a convincing answer.”
Edwards was quite busy during the nasty spring weather that plagued the Twins when they had 15 home dates in April, and two games were postponed in a week. The outlook for one of those games, a Sunday afternoon start against the Mets, began appearing bleak 90 minutes before the first pitch, when a cold drizzle began to fall.
Edwards said he hates having to postpone games, especially when the fans are already in the stands. But as the rain continued to fall that morning, and there didn’t appear to be a clear window on the radar for three hours, he warned the decisionmakers that starting on time would be unlikely. The game was eventually postponed.