MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After what feels like the longest winter ever, Monday marks a sign that warmer weather is just ahead. It’s Opening Day for Major League Baseball.
The Minnesota Twins are starting their season in Chicago, and will host their Home Opener in one week, on April 7. Unseasonably cold weather had the White Sox concerned the field wouldn’t be ready.
When the boys of summer take the field, all signs of winter will be gone — at least from Target Field. Larry DiVito, head groundskeeper for the Twins, says the downtown Minneapolis ballpark will be ready to go.
“There’s technology out there to get fields ready for the cold weather. In the case of Chicago and Detroit, it’ll be tough since not every team has it,” DiVito said.
Last year’s winter brought some ice damage to the field. This past winter covered the field buried the field with 8 to 22 inches of snow. While it creates extra work for crews to remove it, the snow also acts as insulation for the grass and contributes to the field’s bright color.
Protective blankets were peeled back two weeks ago, giving Target Field a new look from winter white to spring time green. Through the winter, the field is heated to 34 degrees, just enough to prevent freezing. Once it’s exposed, the heat is cranked up to 66-degrees.
Clearing the bleachers of snow is another ballgame. The seats from home plate to right field don’t get much snow. The grounds crew uses a hot water system to blast the snow and ice from the stands.
With the park nearly ready to go, a few final touches remain. Then we’ll hear that welcomed call for warmer days: “Play ball!”
While the Twins can heat the field, they can’t heat the seats.
The heaters in the concourses are turned on when the temperatures dip to the 40s and 50s. The players stay warm in dugouts with heated benches and heating systems.