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Hitters complained, so the Twins are getting rid of the center field trees at Target Field

Jan 31, 2011, 12:19 PM EDT

target-field-trees Getty Images

One of the misconceptions about park factors is that the dimensions of the field determine if a ballpark skews pitcher-friendly or hitter-friendly. In reality the dimensions definitely play a big role, but the run-scoring environment is also greatly impacted by other stuff like wind patterns, humidity, playing surfaces, and hitting backgrounds.

Target Field in Minnesota was pitcher-friendly in its first year of existence, for a number of reasons, and the Twins have decided to make one change. Hitters complained that the trees planted behind the wall in center field hurt their ability to see pitches, particularly in day games, so the Twins will remove them and install a new background designed to reduce glare.

Obviously not being able to see pitches is something that had to be addressed, but it’ll be interesting to find out what the overall impact ends up being considering the Twins went 53-28 at Target Field and actually scored more runs there than on the road.

  1. Ari Collins - Jan 31, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    But doesn’t every team score more runs at home? Except maybe in EXTREME pitcher’s parks like SD. And most everyone wins a lot at home, with plenty of the 50-wins-at-home crowd being in hitter’s parks.

  2. bloodysock - Jan 31, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Idiots. They can’t see the baseball through the trees.

  3. phukyouk - Jan 31, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    wow im terrible. at first glace i read it as Hitler complained…….

    • bcopus - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      That was a quick jump on Godwin’s law…

      • phukyouk - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        im just saying… if he did in fact complain and the twins allowed it i would be pissed.

    • clydeserra - Jan 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      I am still reading it that way

  4. BC - Jan 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    1. How do trees cause glare?
    2. In the picture, what is that thing standing in the trees? Smokey The Bear?

    • bcopus - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      1) They flash little mirrors whenever they dislike a batter.

      2). That thing….is Joe Mauer’s childhood nightmare. How it got out of his mind…nobody knows.

    • wintwins - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:20 PM

      The wall / paint caused the glare, and the motion of the trees (and their shadows) in the breeze made it hard to see the ball very well.

    • Andrew - Jan 31, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      More seriously…

      2. T.C. Bear, Twins mascot. When he was introduced before the games started, he would pop out from behind a tree, then climb over the fence onto the field. I’m amazed he never lost his head doing that.

  5. twinsfn343 - Jan 31, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    As a fan I liked the trees, I thought there were aesthetically pleasing and a nice “Minnesota” touch, but obviously I’ve never stood in the batters box at Target Field…I’m not sure how tall black spruces are supposed to grow, but I wonder if they considered just rasing the trees up on an ivy covered platform kind of like the batters eye at Comerica. I just hope it doesn’t become a big wasted empty area in the ballpark. Perhaps they could move the brick wall in a bit (not the fences) and maybe create a little Twins Hall of Fame/history walkway section like they have in Cleveland and Philly.

  6. RickyB - Jan 31, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Funny, I played ball at a college that had very tall pines lining the entire outfield fence. Everyone thought of it as a great hitter’s background, and all of our games were played during the day. But compared to other solid two-dimensional surfaces, I imagine the trees would add another level of difficulty in picking up pitches.

  7. cur68 - Jan 31, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Hmmm…I see a dazzle pattern looking at that background. In WW2 someone came up with that kind of pattern to make it harder for subs to torpedo surface ships. This worked well till the enemy cottoned on and practiced looking for it then it still worked but not as well as initially (google it if you don’t know what I mean). So, as I see it, the Twins have gotten used to the dazzle, enjoy an advantage because of it, and are now going to level the playing field for their opposition because the Twins hitters are bothered by it ( but to a lesser degree than opponents). Still with me? Right. I’m a Jays & Expos fan (Hey! No! Snickering! A man can dream. Just like Mets fans…) so I say; go ahead Target Field, make it easier for my boys to beat your boys. Lord knows we need anything we can get when we gotta play there.

  8. Andrew - Jan 31, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    I suppose after Morneau complained about the fences being too deep, the Twins may have felt obligated to appease the hitters in some way.

    That brick wall was causing problems all year. It got a fresh coat of paint midway through the season to darken it.

    Above/behind the brick wall is the main concourse, and there isn’t a lot of room to add much without taking away walking space in the concourse, even if the wall (not fence) was moved forward.

    • twinsfn343 - Jan 31, 2011 at 7:16 PM

      If they moved the wall in (I know its not at all likely) then they could make the walkway zig-zag down vertically like in Philly that way it wouldn’t take up room from the concourse. I’m actually suprised that they dont already have some sort of team HOF feature there. Before the first time I went I thought for sure it would be where the merch shop is by the left field foul poll…

  9. Walk - Jan 31, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Was there any changes made to light stone colors behind home plate? I saw third basemen lose line drives in that light coloring several times and just duck and cover. That seemed less a nuisance and more of a danger to players. I know andrew said a coat of paint was applied, i was just wondering if it was on the section behind home. (my apologies andrew i am not certain how far the wall runs) As far as the trees go i liked how they looked as well and i loved the whole look of the park even the light colored stone.

    • Andrew - Jan 31, 2011 at 8:44 PM

      That’s interesting, because I didn’t hear any complaints about the limestone behind home plate.

      Walk, the wall that got the fresh coat of paint is the one directly behind the trees. You can see how far it extends here. http://antonehenry.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Target-Field-Scoreboard-1-Small.jpg

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