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Jason’s Blog: Rain hits Target

Posted By: Jason Iacovino

We all knew this was coming.

Target Field opened as the Twins’ new home in April 2010 and, much like the teaching profession, everyone understood the best three things about it would be June, July, and August.  Of course there were rumblings by some about the lack of a retractable roof which would eliminate rainouts.

The reality is there’s only one stadium in baseball that did the retractable roof the right way and that’s Seattle’s Safeco Field.  The others (Milwaukee’s Miller Park, Arizona’s Chase Field, Houston’s Minute Maid Park, and Miami’s Marlin’s Park) are nothing more than buildings that open up.  They aren’t ballparks.

The Twins couldn’t afford to go the Safeco route because the public dollars needed for Target Field were already under tremendous political opposition and it took an 11th hour vote to get the okay on the taxpayer-funded portion of the project as is.  So what we’re left with is a spectacular ballpark when it’s not raining.

Twins fans who were frustrated by spring rainouts those first few seasons were assured that these events are rare–the stat most often cited was the most rainouts the Twins ever had in one season at old Met Stadium was four.  In four short years since, the Twins have managed to break that record.

And here in Year Five, the April weather Gods have pulled a nasty stunt on Minnesota (Although not nearly as cruel as the tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa)–they are raining out Twins baseball for an entire week.

Sunday’s game between the Twins and Tigers could’ve been a spectacular duel between veteran ace Justin Verlander and the Twins top young pitching talent, Kyle Gibson.  Instead, the game was called off around 10:30 a.m.  Monday was an off-day, but there’s no chance baseball would’ve been played then, either.

Now comes the Los Angeles Dodgers–a rare opportunity for local baseball fans to see one of the storied NL franchises, including their flashy young outfielder, Yasiel Puig.  There’s just one problem–it’s still April in Minnesota.

I expect that even as I’m writing this the Twins’ PR staff is working on its statement announcing tonight’s scheduled 7:10 p.m. start with the Dodgers has been postponed in light of the forecast high of 39 with rain / snow throughout the day.  They probably will announce the game will made up as part of a day / night doubleheader tomorrow in temps close to 40 degrees, much like the case two weeks ago when Toronto was in town.

The problem this time is tomorrow’s forecast is also for all day rain / snow.  As is Thursday’s.

For all the grief the Metrodome received from die hard and casual Twins fans, you can be sure it would be packed this week to watch the 12-11 Twins take on the 14-11 Dodgers.  Instead, if games are played at all at Target Field from now until Thursday, it will be in front of a mere smattering of fans.

The Metrodome was tore down in January and the Twins wouldn’t dream of relocating for a series even if it was still around, so that pipe dream is over.  I have just one suggestion when it comes to these circumstances–don’t schedule April games with teams who will make one stop to Minnesota in a season.  It’s a disaster waiting to happen.  The Twins narrowly avoided it with the Jays, but it seems inevitable that there will be some random quirky return of Dodger Blue later this year for a doubleheader–and that’s if one game does get in.

There’s a legitimate chance that none of these games get played and the Twins would be on a bye from Sunday through Friday when they host Baltimore.

Another possibility is the Twins could try to work a deal like Cleveland did against Houston last year when they played snow games at Milwaukee’s Miller Park.  I see this scenario as a long shot, but at least it would give you the chance to see the games on TV.

The moral of the story is two-fold: for one, we knew Target Field had its downside and we’re seeing it right now, and for two, just as baseball wasn’t meant to be played indoors, it also wasn’t meant to have five days off in the middle of the season.

Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Email him at jjiacovino@stthomas.edu. Follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.

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