MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the Minnesota Twins get started on spring training in Florida, here in Minneapolis Target Field is also coming back to life. It’s go time for the grounds crew, from now until opening day.
If green is the color of success for a baseball diamond in April, white is its equivalent for February.
Target Field’s head groundskeeper, Larry DiVito, explained how 2020 has been going smoothly so far, in part because snow is a good insulator and it arrived to Minneapolis before any ice.
However, DiVito knows it all comes down to the last two weeks of March. If the weather’s quiet, his team can coast to Opening Day. If it’s anything like 2018, the grounds crew will have to work extra hard just to get the grass going, clear the seats off of snow, and manage the heating system.
The field’s heating system is set up in zones, and stays off for most of winter. It’s one of three in the country, alongside Seattle and Colorado.
“The heat system usually starts around Feb. 20-25 ,” said DiVito. “We’ll charge it up for a week at a fairly low temperature — in the low 40s — just to make sure the system’s operating properly. Then we’ll bring it up into the 50s, and eventually the 60s by March 10.”
That process is designed to mimic the way the ground would ideally warm up in the spring.
DiVito starts turning the heat off in zones, as well. The left field will be off by May, since that gets the most sunlight, and right field will stay on the longest to compensate for the shade.