MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Grounds crew workers are in the process of converting Target Field from a baseball diamond to a gridiron for Saturday’s St. Thomas-St. John’s football game.

The stadium was built with enough room to squeeze a football field into an area that runs from the left-field fence to the Twins dugout behind first base.

Head groundskeeper Larry DiVito and his crew will start by tackling the first big task: getting rid of the pitchers’ mound.

“It’ll go a little slow, because we have a heating system underneath,” DiVito said. “We want to make sure the mini-excavator doesn’t damage any pipes.”

DiVito says it will take most of Monday to finish the work.

“It’ll just come up in chunks. The clay is so compacted, it’s going to be in bowling ball-sized chunks,” he said.

A pair of lightweight goalposts have been delivered to the ballpark. Extra padding will go up on walls closest to the field to protect players. By midweek, crews will start painting the field, including the St. Thomas shield logo for the 50-yard line.

Despite online seating charts that show a solid, grass-covered surface, crews will not be covering the infield with sod.

“It was never in the discussion from the start of putting grass in,” DiVito said, noting that installing sod would make it more difficult to revert the field back to baseball.

Starting Monday, the Twins begin a 10-game, 11-day road trip, and that gap was among the reasons organizers were able to schedule the first football game in the stadium’s history.

More than 32,000 tickets have been sold for the rivalry game between the Tommies and Johnnies. That would set an attendance record for Division III football.

Comments (2)
  1. Gene Bovee says:

    I thought St. Thomas had a football stadium. What’s wrong with that?

    1. Rob Gimpl says:

      The Tommies stadium doesn’t seat 32,000, but that seems to me a prime opportunity to sell tickets at $500 a pop and start a fund to build their own stadium that could handle that crowd.

      I’m not sure why they aren’t playing at USBank. I’m not seeing anything on the schedule there for that day and THIS ARTICLE DOESN’T SAY A THING ABOUT WHY THEY COULDN’T PLAY AT EITHER OF THE TWO PUBLICLY-FUNDED FOOTBALL VENUES LESS THAN 5 MILES AWAY!!! Although there is a soccer game at 7pm over at TCF, they easily could do a noon football game there and still play soccer at 7.

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