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Playoff weather in Minnesota: what are we dealing with here?

Sep 22, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

It took less than ten hours from the time the Twins clinched last night until I saw the first blogger make a joke about how funny it will be to see World Series games snowed out in Minnesota.  And really, we’ve been hearing that ever since the first roofless ballpark plans were drawn up for Target Field.

Is there reason for concern? Does Joe Mauer have to worry more about snowblindness than his wonky knee? Will Delmon Young be able to field his position with a North Face Summit Series 800-fill goose down jacket under his jersey?

We’ve covered this before, but let me reiterate: No. There’s no reason to worry. No reason over an above the worry we should always have about such things, anyway. Sure, freak weather can happen in the fall in the upper Midwest, but it can happen anywhere, as the Phillies and Rays learned a couple of years ago.  But the average highs and lows in Minneapolis for late October and early November — while a tad chillier than we’re used to in the playoffs — are not so far removed from the norms in New York or Philly that we should make a big deal about it.

National Weather Service data from 1971-2000 reveals the average highs in Minneapolis range between 57 and 46 degrees for the period covering October 20th through November 5th. Average lows: 32-37.  Average precipitation of any kind .07 inches. The same numbers in Philly: highs 64-58; lows 47-43, precip .08-.10. New York: highs 63-57; lows 49-45, precip..10-.12. Denver: highs 64-56; lows 34-27, precip .03-.04.

Yes, it’s colder in Minneapolis than it is in New York and Philly, but it’s not so extreme that we should freak out about it. If the Rockies make it in we should worry about the Denver weather far more, I think. Partially because of the cold, but also because we all can remember some October Denver Broncos Monday Night Football game going on in a blizzard.

Snow could happen, because snow can always happen. But there’s a decent chance that we’ll get some run of the mill nice fall days turning into chilly, but not unpleasantly chilly, fall nights, even if the Twins make the World Series.

  1. geoknows - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    My mother’s family is from Minnesota, so I’ve spent a lot of time there in all seasons. And I have very distinct memories of a 1991 trip that involved a 36 inch snowfall on October 30. So yeah, it can happen.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    Craig, the highs really aren’t that relevant considering the fact that the games don’t usually start until after 8pm. The biggest problem is that the lows are 10 to 15 degrees colder in Minnesota than they are in Philly or New York…that’s a pretty big swing. With average lows from 32-37, it is going to be COOOOOLD during games 3-4-5 if the Twins make it to the World Series. And since the Phillies will almost surely be there as well, so will I…along with my gloves, hat, and thermal underwear.

  3. Cheap Seat Chronicles - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    It can happen, yes…but that doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to happen. People also said the Twins were going to have a bunch of rain outs and that Opening Day at Target Field was likely to be marred by blizzards and Justin Morneau killing a polar bear with a prodigious shot to right field. Neither of those things happened, so I think everyone should just take a chill pill and let it be.

  4. Mark Armour - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Actually the differences are much larger than I thought they were. Now I am worried.

  5. ThatGuy - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Ah the 91′ Halloween blizzard. I was 6 years old and my parents still took me trick or treating, mostly because my mom spent a lot of time on my costume and you can get through snow pretty good with a 4 wheel drive truck with a snow plow hooked up to it.

  6. imabigdog - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Well to say “…but it can happen anywhere, as the Phillies and Rays learned a couple of years ago” is really ignorant. RAIN (which was the problem) is not snow. Ran can happen in San Diego, Texas, Philly, New York, or Minn. Snow on the other hand will not happen in San Diego or Texas (yes I saw the Cowboys football game where there was snow, but lets be realistic).
    The real stat (along with the temp stat) is the number of times it snows in Oct and Nov, compared to Philly and New York.

  7. Trevor B - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    This year the Twin’s got pretty lucky weather wise, it happens. Next year we could be pretty damn unlucky, who knows. I’m more worried about how that beautiful stadium and massive TV over it will hold up to some minnesota winter action.

  8. minnesconsin_ad - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    the lows usually occur between 2 and 5 am.. game 6 or 7 in the 10th inning could be chilly, but nothing these guys haven’t dealt with before. Detroit, Chicago, Philly, New York, Denver, etc — there’s always a chance the weather will suck, let’s not worry about it too much.

  9. Chipmaker - Sep 22, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    The latest date the Twins ever had for an open-air home game was October 14, during the 1965 World Series, and that was back when Series games were played during the day.

  10. John_Michael - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Until it happens, or until there’s something insightful to add, writing about snow outs in Minnesota always reads as a half assed, before the deadline beater.
    On the other hand, So you’re saying there’s a chance!

  11. matt - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    Excellent point. The high will occur at 1 p.m. or so, then at night it’s going to be a frozen tundra. It will be interesting.

  12. Jonny5 - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    I don’t care one way or the other. I wish Baseball lasted all year around and umps have to bring a mini snow shovel to dust off the plate for a month a season. Sure weather can be a factor, but it’s a factor both teams must deal with equally.

  13. Old Gator - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Wel-l-l….depends on what those teams are acclimated to. Send the Feesh up there, the temperature drops by fifteen or twenty degrees, and their closer promptly walks three and gives up a dinger.
    .
    And that would never happen here in Macondo….

  14. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    LOL

  15. geoknows - Sep 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Fine by me; that would mean my team won the game!

  16. SosasCork - Sep 22, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Would much rather see a playoff game at in Minneapolis than at the Tropicana – Dome, It will be much more entertaining to see the role the weather plays in the playoffs.

  17. APBA Guy - Sep 22, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Yeah, that 10-15 degree difference in the lows could become meaningful if the Twins advance. With their starting pitching, it’s iffy. Of course all the AL teams have pitching issues, but the other three have solid #1’s. Liriano is at this time more inconsistent than Lee, Price, and Sabathia. Duensing as a # 2 is unproven, but could match up to Garza and Tommy Hunter, but probably not to Pettitte in a playoff situation. I assume Pavano is # 3, and Slowey is 4. Games with a 3 and 4 starter are toss-ups, and here the Yankees offense should prevail, as well as the Rangers if Hamilton is healthy. The Rays offense hasn’t jelled, whereas the Twins offense has played well despite Morneau’s absence. So I’d judge the likelihood of us seeing the Twins in the ALCS is less than that of the Yankees and Rangers.

  18. D-Luxxx - Sep 22, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I remember the whole next week off of school.

  19. D-Luxxx - Sep 22, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Actually the rotation is probably going to be Liriano, Pavano, Duensing, and Blackurn/Baker/Slowey. Slowey will probably be added to the pen as another lefty arm (Flores isn’t gonna make it) so it will really be between whomever performs better through the end of the season between Blackburn and Baker. With Baker coming off the DL, and Blackburn getting tons of GB outs (and being a “big game” pitcher – steming from his game 163 gem against Danks in 07) it’ll probably be Blackburn. Gardy has already talked about breaking up his lefties (Liriano & Dunsing), so the above seems the most likely.

  20. avg joe - Sep 22, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Living in Minnesota my whole life (26 y.o.), I can remember it snowing in April many, many times. The only snowfall in October I can remember is the aforementioned Halloween blizzard of ’91.
    A snow-out will happen some day at Target Field, but I don’t think it will be in the post-season.

  21. cusoman - Sep 22, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Ironically enough, the Twins had just won the World Series after the 1991 Great Halloween Blizzard. I went trick or treating in the snow as “The Ultimate Twins Fan”, with about 5 layers underneath my uber fan-ness.

  22. Mrsteve - Sep 22, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Who cares because Gardy will find someway to play little Nicky Punto & the Twins will be swept out in the first round

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