The Chattanooga Lookouts defeated the rain and the Tennessee Smokies in their season finale Monday afternoon at AT&T Field.
If only that had occurred more often.
The drenching summer that Chattanooga experienced took its toll on the home team, as the Lookouts drew 220,854 fans after bringing 243,051 through the turnstiles a year ago. Chattanooga averaged 3,398 fans a game at its 6,340-seat facility after averaging 3,522 last season.
"We were rained out opening day, and we were rained out the Fourth of July," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said. "We had five rainouts and three games that were suspended, so we had eight days where we couldn't play baseball. In a 70-game home schedule, that's an awful lot."
Despite the wet weather, the Lookouts still managed to surpass their season averages in 2009 (3,346) and 2010 (3,246) and just missed topping 2011 (3,409). The 2009 and 2010 season averages were the smallest since the opening of AT&T Field in 2000.
The Lookouts were hardest hit July 4, when predicted rain resulted in only 3,862 tickets being bought for a game that ultimately was called after six innings. That was a Thursday night, and the crowds for that weekend were 1,990 and 1,589 as the rain refused to go away.
"We lost play four of the five games in that homestand, and the only day we played all the way through was on a Monday afternoon," Mozingo said. "It's a credit to the fans for continuing to show up. We're behind where we were last year, but considering the weather, we're thrilled the fans kept supporting us the way they did.
"It was a tough year for us, and I think we have to do a better job of finding different ways to make people buy ahead of time."
The Lookouts finished with a 59-80 record that was saddled by a 24-45 second half. This was only the second time since 1990 that Chattanooga failed to win 60 games.
Next April will begin with the Lookouts at home, and Chattanooga will host the Southern League All-Star Game in June.
Center fielder Joc Pederson was Chattanooga's lone representative to the league's season-ending all-star team. Pederson led the Lookouts with a .278 average, 22 home runs and 58 RBIs, and he finished second in the league with 81 runs scored.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...