What do you do when a month is suffering from an identity crisis? Right now, March seems to think it is actually January (air temp this afternoon: 23; felt more like teens to me; 1 to 3 inches of snow hovering overhead as I write). Meanwhile, April waits on deck, its swing likely quite rusty. It will have barely awakened when we really need it to bring its "A" game.
Not that I'm nervous, but I do wonder just how cold it has to be before they call an opening day. Is there even such a temperature? 35? 30? 25? I seem to remember from the Met days that cold was basically ignored, while snow could cause a postponement, though it hardly ever happened. Of course, in those days they brought out the flamethrowers -- or worse, just plain gasoline and a match -- to melt the snow and dry the field. Helicopters would work for swampy conditions, but only flame worked on frozen ground.
We've come a long way, baby.
But I do wonder about poor Larry DiVito. He woke up the Target Field grass on schedule last week, painstakingly removing the blanket which protected it from the rest of Minnesota, then watched as the sky promptly showed an excess of disrespect. (Help needed from downtown skyscraper dwellers: Did the warmed field melt the precip?)
I'm glad that the Twins will open the season at home, and I hope to be there, but I do wonder about the wisdom of the scheduling. By my count, there are 14 ballparks essentially without early season weather concerns (Safeco included even though it's not fully climate-controlled), and 5 more where at least mildness is generally guaranteed. It would seem sensible to prioritize these during those first two weeks of the season. You would think that clubs in the north would even be in favor of this, if only because they stand to risk losing ticket sales if the weather is too cold for those earliest games.
This is not the only scheduling mystery, of course. The whole interleague schedule is especially perplexing this year. They really haven't found a gracious way to handle two 15-team leagues yet, but even that doesn't explain why they would schedule back-to-back two-game series. That's just plain weird.
So let me bring back my sure-fire way to make it work. Basically, the problem is that, when each league has an odd number of teams, you need at least one interleague series going on all the time. The only interleague series that anyone cares about are the so-called "rivalry" series (they also sell the most tickets). Putting those two things together makes it obvious (at least to me) that they need to have exactly one rivalry series going on at all times.
Each rivalry would get the spotlight, they would play real series against one another (three games in each ballpark), so there would be 30 series in all, evenly spaced throughout the season. As an example, the Twins could open the season in Milwaukee.
Once again, let me reiterate that I'm excited to be able to go to Target Field on the opening day of the season for the first time! (In 2010, after two exhibition games here, the Twins opened the season in Anaheim. In 2011, it was Toronto. In 2012, it was Baltimore.) It beats the crap out of the drive-by hot dog -- which is an awesome tradition, but something a little short of attending a real game.
Truth is, I'm ready. Just like my winter, my spring training has gotten a little long. I'm getting kind of tired of these weird games that look like, well they look sort of like real games -- but in an alternate universe where the ballparks are tiny and the average uniform number seems to be mathematically linked to the inning number. (Although, I do think the mini-monster at jetBlue Park is pretty cool -- what with the original Fenway scoreboard embedded and all.)
OK, I'll come out with it: I wish I were there. That's what is eating me up. I want to be hanging out at the ballpark again. And I want it bad! But I also want the games to count again. And I want the snow to be gone, and the Minnesota thermostat to be raised. I want the sunshine and the moonlit nights under the Minneapolis skyline. I want a freaking pulled pork sandwich and Minneapple Pie!
14 days until opening day. Really.
This summer will be my 50th on the planet, and in some ways I want it to never end (my birthday comes just as fall starts to get a little uppity with summer -- less a problem with each season's identity than a sloppy relay handoff). But right now, I can't wait for it to get started!
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Lots of sun, but not much scoreboard from 127
The view from the upper concourse.
Mauer steps in for the first time.
A true fan out in the bleachers
The action drew everybody to the top step. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Dramatic night-time lighting.
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Here's a correction: The LRT platform will actually be able to load outbound trains from both sides.
Selling exactly what they say they're selling.
Click to see the full-size image.
The view out Gate 6 "Oliva".
"Hey look! There we are!"
That is the gun-metal gray wall of The Stadium just beyond the elevated tracks.
Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level
Working on the connecting LRT tracks (this view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown.)
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
A scene repeated about a million times each game
Train. (What is it about baseball and trains?)
Larry DiVito, mowing
Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.
Notice that the wooden-backed club seats are now covered by a green tarp for protection from the elements.
Here's an idea of what these Loge Boxes are all about. That guy is a waiter with no fans to serve. They seemed to have one server for about every four boxes.
For reference, this is that same area as viewed from the seat locator.
Installation in action (Home Plate Box)
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
Photo by Jeff Ewer
Another classic space in the making above the Hrbek gate.
An arch under construction.
Tony Oliva, R. T. Rybak and Mike Opat
If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.