Thursday, August 19, 2010

Metrodome....Schmetrodome

For context's sake, I must start by saying I live in Chicago. When talking to acquaintances of mine who are White Sox fans about the new Target Field before this season started, almost ALL of them them mentioned how happy they were that the Sox didn't have to play in the Dome anymore. Hawk Harrelson (Sox TV announcer) voiced a similar opinion multiple times during Twins/Sox games earlier in the year. I too was concerned how the team would transition from field turf to grass, afterall their numbers on grass fields over the past several seasons were not great...

2005:
Home Record: (45-36)
Grass Record: (33-42)

2006:
Home Record: (54-26)
Grass Record: (39-36)


2007:
Home Record: (41-40)
Grass Record: (37-38)

2008:
Home Record: (53-28)
Grass Record: (33-42)

2009:
Home Record: (49-33)
Grass Record: (35-39)
Turf Record: (4-5) - ironic

The Twins were basically a .500 team over the past five years when playing on grass fields and there are a number of reasons for this not the least of which being the fact that all of those games were road games, but needless to say, with a (38-20) home record this year and a (65-45) record on grass, any worries about how they would transition have been alleviated.

Though baseballs may not be lost in the ceiling, or hit anything above the field, Target Field still presents it's own quirks. Several balls have already ricocheted off the stone facing of the wall in right field turning potential outs into triples, it has been reported that there are some odd glares as well, particular during afternoon games. Then there is the fact that the park simply plays large, like PETCO or SAFECO fields.

Overall, besides obvious things like more money for payroll and sellouts at every home game, the move to Target Field and a grass playing surface can only benefit the Twins players. Now, instead of switching between grass and turf all year, the players play almost exclusively on grass (only 9 games on turf all year so far) which affords the infielders some continuity on a day-to-day basis as far as what hops and skips to expect on ground balls. Anyway, enough on this.

...

The last two nights, though nerve-racking, have been quite enjoyable. 7 has been the lucky number offensively and though the pitching has struggled somewhat, the team has come through with victories and now lead the AL Central by 5 games. The Twins record is a nice and tidy 70-50 now and they are one of only 5 teams in all of baseball with 70+ wins. Detroit has now fallen to 12 games back and look stick-a-fork-in-them done. Tonight the Twins go for the series sweep and a commanding 6-game division lead and they have Mr. Steady (Pavano) on the mound against Mark Buerhle for the Sox. Look for Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young to carry this Twins tonight, all of them have good career numbers against Buerhle. GO TWINS!

2 comments:

  1. http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor

    So far Target field ranks 22nd, apparently more of a pitcher's park than even Petco (19th) this season.

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  2. I was thinking after I wrote this piece...if/when the playoffs come around for the Twins, the size and relative stinginess of Target Field (from a power perspective) could play large for teams that are built around power (Yankees, Rangers, etc). Just a thought, but that could be a potential advantage for the Twins?

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