MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Monday should have marked the 10th home game for the Twins this season. Instead, it marks the third postponed game at Target Field in 2013.
The Twins decided to hold off on Monday’s game because of the forecasted heavy wet snow. Now, the Twins will play the Miami Marlins in a split-double header at 1:10 p.m. and at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.
The timing of these postponed games isn’t great. The Twins are one game out of first place in the division and they’re on a four game winning streak. However, four of their last eight scheduled games have been postponed because of rain and snow.
Brian Dozier is from Mississippi, where the weather is already in the 80s. Playing in the cold used to mean 40s. He and his southern teammates have been making the adjustment to the cold this season.
“I’m not too fond of it, but, at the same time, it’s baseball,” Dozier said. “It’s a shock, but at the same time it’s fun. I’ve never experienced it before.”
Playing in the snow last week was a first for the second baseman. He said the snow would hit them in the eye while they ran. And hitting a white baseball with white flakes coming in made it tough at the plate.
The Twins made some adjustments to Target Field to make it a little easier for the players. The biggest accommodation? Dugouts heaters, a must for these early-season games.
“Tony Oliva was laughing, they didn’t have space heaters back then…they just had to come in and play,” Dozier said.
Sitting in the stands during cold weather games is becoming a rite of passage for some fans. They’ll wear multiple layers, pile on the blankets and grab a cup of coffee to watch the team and be able to brag about it.
The players can’t do that. Wearing more than two layers is bulky and affects their range of motion on the field.
Instead, they are adamant about their warm ups. Some players choose to sit in the hot tub before or after games. They limber up by taking extra hits in the batting cages and spend extra time with their warm ups to get loose.
Pitchers have the advantage on the field. They’re moving around a lot on the mound and usually can work up a sweat.
Dozier said once saw steam coming off Vance Worley as he pitched in 30 degree weather.
“I’m over there freezing, and he’s pitching in short sleeves,” Dozier said.
However, pitchers do make adjustments with the weather. When it’s cold, getting a good grip on the ball can be tough. And if there’s a cold wind, it can affect the way the ball is carried.
Since Target Field opened in 2010, the team has only postponed eight games. Three were postponed last season, and 2010 and 2011 each had one postponed game.
A lot of fans have complained — demanded even — that the games be moved back to the Metrodome when the weather is less than favorable.
But that’s not going to happen.
“We’ve moved out of the Metrodome, we’re at Target Field, and the logistics of trying to [move back] is really insurmountable for one baseball game,” said Kevin Smith, the Twins spokesperson.
The Dome’s field has been reconfigured since the team left four years ago. It’s not at Major League Baseball standards. The locker rooms and clubhouse have been changed. There have also been changes to the media areas, so if they were to suddenly play there, it likely wouldn’t be on TV or radio. Another big reason the Twins won’t paly at the Dome is because the seating doesn’t match up with Target Field’s sections.
“How do you put people in seats from here to there?” Smith said. “It’s an apples-to-oranges thing. You couldn’t do it fairly, short of making it a free for all. That’s not safe.”
Teams play 162 games in about 180 days. It’s a tight schedule that does allow wiggle room for these types of changes. Major League Baseball sets the schedule, despite requesting for away games to start the season, with the spring we’re having, postponed games are bound to happen.
“Everyone knows the weather will occur and changes will have to be made all over the league. We do our best with the other teams…to make these games up,” Smith said. “And we will, it’s happened for 100 years, and I’m sure it’ll happen again this year.”
If you do have a ticket for a postponed game, you can use it at the rescheduled game, or trade it in for a voucher towards another 2013 game.