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"Target Field could very well be the AL version of Petco"

Apr 12, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for target-field-100407.jpgThat’s the verdict of a Yale physicist who deftly notes that it’s colder outside at night in Minneapolis than it is inside the dome and a sabermetrician who has studied the effects of cold air on the trajectory of baseballs and has noted a few interesting things about the prevailing winds in Minnesota.

But like I said the other day, this stuff is just way too premature. No one knows what’s going to happen in a ballpark until a team plays in it. Yankee Stadium v.3 was supposed to play just like v.2 did and it didn’t in its first year. AT&T park was supposed to substantially favor hitters.  Yes, I know there is some science behind the predictions here, but my dad was a meteorologist for 40 years and he’ll be the first one to tell you that predictions that are based, at least in part, on prevailing winds are rendered mostly meaningless once you, you know, put a bunch of buildings in front of those winds.  He’ll also tell you that those guys on your local TV news “Storm Team” who freak out every time a snowflake falls need should be taken out and shot for desensitizing the public to legitimate severe weather warnings, but that’s another post.

I will close by noting that both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have more home runs and higher career slugging percentages away from the old dome than in it, and those include a lot of games in a big cold park in Detroit. Upshot: don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, Twins fans.

UPDATE: For a bonus look at outdoor baseball in Minnesota — a look way, way back in time, actually — check out The Daily Something today.  Great stuff.

  1. Ted - Apr 12, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    No offense to the Yale guy, but I watched the Cardinals/Twins games last week and the ball had to trouble finding the seats.
    I hope this stadium plays fair, but I think there is a much larger chance it plays as a hitters park then a pitchers park.

  2. Oggmonster - Apr 12, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    If Minnesota summers aren’t exceptionally humid then I don’t know what’s causing that icky sticky feeling for the last thirty years.

  3. mike in MN - Apr 12, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    This whole “it’s too cold in MN for outdoor baseball” is so overblown. (and I know this article isn’t about that, per se) It’s like people think we live in the Arctic Circle. The science is pretty clear no how cold it is here compared to other cities. It’s just another example of how little USAians really know about other parts of the country….

  4. Rib - Apr 12, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    should be taken out and shot
    Craig, considering your legal background, your above-average writing ability, and your apparent politics (the latter of which I share), I’ve been surprised to see this phrase turn up somewhat frequently in your posts. Yes, those “Storm Team” guys are insufferable…but you would shoot them?

  5. JackC - Apr 12, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    At first it seems odd to me that anyone would build a brand new stadium that is so open to the elements. However, this is Minnesota, and it could be the main thought of the fans is to soak up as much sun as possible in the summer months. Also this is a better place to relieve those cabin fever blues.

  6. Old Gator - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    That’s a bit like saying that no one will know what really happened during the most recent ice age until the last frozen mammoth has been chipped out and eaten by Eskimos and their dogs. I doubt if cold air is going to behave much differently for occurring in a stadium with another soulless corporate appellation. Science already understands the effect of blind greed on cold air: greed clarifies. All that will happen is that the outfielders will see the ball better at night. As for the Minnesota fans, hell, their ancestors thrived on winter. Complaining about freezing their asses off will only get them exiled from the tribe. At that point, wandering along in the ice-blue suburbs, a slab of freshly thawed mammoth meat – prbably from a poor brute who was clubbed to death by a designated hitter in a musk ox fur overcoat – will seem like a godsend. At least it won’t be a horsemeat and velveeta sandwich.

  7. J. McCann - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    The new Yankee stadium is almost identical to the old, EXCEPT it is 10 feet shorter to each power alley. I am too lazy to look this up right now, but how does Target compare to the Metrodome, and especially to the other parks in the Midwest?

  8. GimmeSomeSteel - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Craig didn’t say HE would take the “Storm Team” people (?) out and shoot them. He said they should be taken out and shot. There’s a big difference between wishing something would happen and being willing to do it yourself.
    That said, I agree with the sentiment. That may be a product of spending my first ten-plus years in colder climates as compared to the last forty-plus. “You call this SNOW? This is dust!”

  9. Fox - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    I was at Target Field for the series against the Cardinals and what I’d say is the Field plays pretty fair to center and left field, but it’s going to be hard to hit it out to right field. Right field is the only open end of the stadium and it’s basically a wind tunnel blowing from the right field foul pole towards the left field. If you get a good wind whipping through that corridor you could see some absolute bombs hit to right field that won’t make it out.

  10. Paul - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Ted: Wasn’t last night’s game between the Red Birds and the Brewers played indoors? I thought the retractable roof was closed. M&M are going to hit whereever they play but the ball will not carry as well in cold air. I remember the cool evenings at Dodger Stadium the ball never carried but play a day game the next day the the ball was banging off the wall

  11. Jack Meoffer - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    Who cares how many homeruns the Twins will or will not hit. At least they are out of that eye sore of a stadium. I know they shared it with a football team, but for all those years they could not do any better for a right-field wall than that plastic garbage bag ? I actually thought it was a joke at first.

  12. okobojicat - Apr 12, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    It will be a hitter’s park. I was at the Univ Of Minnesota – La Tech game a couple weeks ago. My personal observations:
    Corners and Alleys are all about 5-10 feet shorter than the dome. Centerfield was the same, but its a flat wall so just to the right or left of dead center will be a little different. Very little foul territory down the lines and I would say average to less than average foul territory behind the plate.
    Also, Right Center alley is going to be a jet stream. A 4-lane street leads right up Right Center while the rest of the outfield is protected by bleachers in LF or a parking garage/scoreboard in CF. RF has bleacher overhang from the seats going down the RF line.
    The wind will blow out to RC and during those hot evenings in the cities, that ball will carry. I don’t think this park was built specifically for Mauer/Morneau/Kuble, but it sure will seam like it in June and July went they hit lots of dingers.
    reCaptcha: alternative seaman….

  13. sean - Apr 12, 2010 at 9:33 PM

    How about this. Everyone who thinks it’s going to be a hitters’ park start saying why. However, you can’t use the “shorter dimensions” talking point, because it isn’t true. The two power alley measurements from the Dome and Target Field don’t correspond to the same angle. Thus, the two are basically the same in left and center, with Target Field being deeper in the right field power alley. The overhang actually follows the Dome’s wall, but a foot deeper, for a good perspective on the differences.
    Foul territory isn’t a big deal either. Target Field has 72% of the foul territory, but it only loses it where it doesn’t count. Honestly, how many fly balls did Delmon catch in the giant section of foul territory in left?
    So, if you want to proclaim it as a bandbox, start backing it up with facts. I’m tired of people just making up stuff.

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