How The Weather Plays A Factor At Target Field

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Wednesday April 3, 2013

Target Field was a must need for the Twins a few years ago. The HHH Metrodome just was not getting the job done, much like Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. The weather was and still is the one downside because during the games early in the season the weather can get low with wind being able to rattle the ball around in the air.

Target Field was a must need for the Twins a few years ago. The HHH Metrodome just was not getting the job done, much like Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. The weather was and still is the one downside because during the games early in the season the weather can get low with wind being able to rattle the ball around in the air.  The Twins used to be among the leaders in the American League in Home Batting Average and Extra Base Hits – now it is a struggle for the offense to maintain itself.  The park is even more of a factor than injuries to Mauer and Morneau have been.

By Kyle Holland (MLB Reports Writer):

When the Minnesota Twins left the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 2010 they had great intentions. The ball getting lost in the ceiling would be gone and the Baggie in Left Field would no longer play a factor.

They moved to a beautiful new home, still in Minnesota, going by the name of Target Field. Like all stadiums when they were first built, it is one of the nicest looking stadiums in the MLB.

There is only one problem with the new field. It is outside. In Minnesota. You are not going to get the nice weather like you would in Florida or Los Angeles. And having games there this early in the season can sometimes make it incredibly cold during the first couple weeks of the new campaign.

Time Lapse of Target Field Being Built:

[youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k038CkEO7A]

On April 1 the Twins opened up at home for the earliest Opening Day at Target Field in its short history. At the very start of the game it was 35 degrees and the wind chill made it feel much cooler than that. As if the hitters needed anything cold as they were already freezing to Justin Verlander’s fastball.

This game was the coldest Opening Day in Minnesota in over 50 years. Still, Target Field featured a sellout crowd, with most of them coming in jackets, winter hats, and blankets.

Even worse than the fans being cold, are the players down on the field. Some of them aren’t even fazed by the weather. Twins’ starter Vance Worley said he never gets cold down on the field and even showed up to play in short sleeves. “I was sweating just walking out there to play catch today. If I went sleeves, it would have been really hot out there.”

The starter walking out from the other dugout didn’t seem to be bothered by the weather either. Tigers’ starting pitcher Justin Verlander hurled 5 strong Innings – allowing only 3 hits while tallying up 7 Ks.

Verlander wasn't fazed by the cold weather as he picked up the win after hurling 5 strong innings and picking up 7 Ks on Opening Day.

Verlander wasn’t fazed by the cold weather as he picked up the win after hurling 5 strong Innings and picking up 7 Ks on Opening Day.

It’s not all bad though. When Target Field was built they had situations like this in mind. Target Field was built for the cooler weather.

There is a reason that Target Field’s grass was actually green, unlike any other spot in Minnesota. The field has a soil-heating system that kept the playing field at 62-64 degrees so the players had good conditions.

That’s not it though, in the dugouts, home and away, they have heaters and heated benches. The players keep warm in the dugouts so they can actually play their game. Let me tell you, trying to throw and catch a ball in weather below freezing is not fun or easy.

The Minnesota Twins don’t forget about their fans either. Up in the crowd fans can go to the concourse where there are hundreds of heaters on every level of the stands.

In between Innings the fans can go up their get warm, maybe grab a coffee, hot Porkchop on a stick or hot chocolate and go back to their seats to enjoy the game. The fans were not left out of the minds of Populous while they were in the midst of building this fine stadium.

Now what exactly does the cold weather mean for the actual playing conditions? Well the wind cannot possibly be a favorite with the players, especially outfielders and whoever is hitting.

The ball starts to get hard to judge while in the air with the wind howling like it does. One last push as the ball is coming down and a can-of-corn turns into a base hit. Also a home run ball can get pushed in and turn in to a fly out, or vice versa.

The bottom line is Target Field can become a tricky field to play at this early in the spring.  It has quickly become one of the most beautiful ballparks in the MLB, which a lot of Populous’ stadiums are.

It has some features to be able to adapt to this kind of situation, but you can’t do anything about the weather. If they keep opening up this early then it’s possible that they could get snow.

Other cities up north were getting snow up to last week so it’s completely possible. There isn’t anything you can do about it in an outdoor stadium that far north but the weather can certainly become a pain while playing this early in the spring.

The weather up north is so crazy at this time that the Twins could suffer a snow delay in future years.

The weather up north is so crazy at this time that the Twins could suffer a snow delay in future years.  This has caused a lot of MLB pundits to fire wrath towards the league office for scheduling.  Why not have a heavily weighted schedule towards some of the weather climates?  Target Field has been virtually sold out for the last 3 years.  2013 might see the first real decline in years – with the team projected to finish at the bottom of the AL Central.  Fans of the club will tell you that they love watching the games outside despite of the weather.  It wasn’t too long ago that the MLB had the Twins slated for contraction at the MetroDome, now there is no fear of that at all.

 ***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners.***

A big thank-you goes out to our MLB Reports Writer Kyle Holland for preparing today’s featured article.  Kyle is a life long baseball fan outside of Boston. He is a sophomore in high school has played baseball since he was 5. Although growing up in one of the best baseball towns in the major leagues, he has been a Giants fan since 2009. He credits his aunt with the Giants being his favorite team as she lives in San Francisco. Some of his favorite players include Buster PoseyStephen DrewTrevor BauerStephen Strasburg, and Minor Leaguer Danny Hultzen.  You can find Kyle on Twitter 

a kyle holland

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Posted on April 3, 2013, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on How The Weather Plays A Factor At Target Field.

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