Twins Baseball Back Outdoors..Brrrr

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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By the time some of you read this..the cold, rainy, windy, snowy 2008 World Series may mercifully be over. If the  Tampa Bay Rays lose they’re probably just glad the thing ended so they could shake off the biting chill of  late October baseball in Pennsylvania and fly back home to the healing warmth of Florida sunshine where they never have to wear those ridiculous baseball caps with earmuffs ever again.
For some reason, purists hate the idea of major league baseball being played inside of a dome..but I’ll bet that even the Phillies fans who had to endure the sting of wind-driven sleet in Philadelphia this past week were wishing the people who built their new Citizen’s Bank stadium would have spent a few extra million for a retractable roof.
Even the Rays, who’ve played inside a Dome for the past ten years, are being considerate of their complacent fans by putting a roof that opens and closes on their new stadium to shut out the stifling heat and humidity.
This brings us to the Minnesota Twins where fan comfort is an apparent afterthought.
A couple of years ago, the anti-dome faction, pining for the good ‘ol sun- drenched days at Metropolitan Stadium, finally won out and got the state legislature to okay a sales tax hike in Hennepin County to foot 352 million of the 544 million dollar price tag for a new open air stadium. In April of 2010 they will be free of that awful Metrodome where the homer hanky was born and the Minnesota Twins won every home game of  their two World Series championships in 1987 and ’91.
Well, I’ve been to lots of Twins games..both at the old Met (where you either melted or froze) and at the Hubert H. Humphry dome..which I much prefer.  What is sacrificed in perhaps less than idyllic seating for baseball is more than made up for in climate controlled comfort for players and especially fans. Plus there’s the knowledge that when you plan a weekend in Minneapolis to see the Twins play, you don’t have to worry about games being rained out or having to sit in the hot sun or frigid winds.
I was listening to WCCO radio in 2006 when it was announced that, at long last,  the okay had been given to build Target Field. Gene Larkin, hero of the 1990 World Series for Minnesota, was a featured guest. He and the show host were going on and on about what a wonderful thing this was and invited listeners and fans to call-in to share the joy. So I did.
They probably wished they hadn’t extended the invitation because I pointed out that the Twins’ fan base extends well beyond the city limits of Minneapolis-St.Paul and maybe a lot of us don’t feel like celebrating this new stadium. Many just won’t make the drive if there’s a good chance of thunderstorms (when isn’t there?)..or heat waves or snowstorms from which there’s no place to hide in the open air.
“Well, said Larkin, we were lucky to get a new stadium at all. The legislature just wouldn’t spring for a retractable roof.”
Then maybe the stadium wasn’t needed, I said, because I don’t think I’m going to spring for expensive tickets to attend  games in which players need to wear  ear flaps and the fans sit huddled in parkas occasionally glaring up toward the luxury suites filled with open-air stadium advocates in their shirtsleeves sipping martinis.
Footnote: The new Tampa Bay Rays stadium WITH the retractable roof is set to open in 2012.It will be a little smaller than Target Field in Minneapolis but it will also cost 95 million dollars LESS. Footnote 2: I’ll be helping to raise the roof at the Downtown Holiday Inn Friday, Halloween night, taking part in the 30th anniversary party for the Mogen’s Heroes band. Lots of music memories..old friends and fun..starting at 7. Hope you can join us.

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