MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Only in Minnesota do you open a ballpark with snow piled on the side.
On Tuesday, the Gopher’s head baseball coach, John Anderson, said that just 10 days ago the new Siebert Field was blanketed in 10 inches of snow and 3 inches of ice.
But the weather isn’t a problem for the new field.
“We were told you’ll have to have a monsoon here not to be able to play on this field,” Anderson said.
The new Siebert Field, which was opened Tuesday afternoon, has artificial turf, even in places where you’d expect infield dirt. The design gives the Gophers maximum drainage whenever it’s warm enough to play.
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the opening was the team’s chance to show off the new ballpark and honor the donors who made it possible – people like Glen Perkins, a Twins pitcher and a former Gopher, and the lead fundraiser, hall of famer Paul Molitor.
Molitor, a former Gopher shortstop, played under Dick Siebert himself, but saw his namesake field age and the team move its games to the Dome.
Now he’s proud to help his former team build a new home of their own.
“You’re gonna have a team, you need a place to play,” he said.
The Gophers still want to add lights, a clubhouse, and a hitting facility to the new ballpark, which was funded entirely by donations. The players, however, just want to start enjoying what’s already there.
“I can’t pick a favorite part yet, until we get to play on it,” said Andy Hankemeyer, a Gopher pitcher.
The Gophers will play their first game at the new stadium — weather permitting — against Ohio State at 3 p.m. Friday.