OK, you ask, so why didn’t the Twins, Hennepin County, the state, Tim Pawlenty and anyone else who had a chance put some sort of a roof on the new Twins ballpark?
Besides the $200 million price tag, you mean? And the tight space on the stadium’s site?
For gosh sakes, it’s Opening Day, and it’s snowing. Think how embarrassing it’ll be in two years when Hennepin County Taxpayers Park opens and the wet, white stuff is coming down.
Carl, open that checkbook!
As Bill Clinton would say, “Chill out, folks.”
And let’s go to the stats, which I did this morning.
Way back in 1996, at the start of the Twins ballpark debate, Twins officials put together a top-secret document about rainouts and snowouts at Met Stadium between 1961 and 1981. They also compiled a report on the “high probability” of certain games being canceled, postponed or stopped since 1982 … had the Metrodome not had a roof.
MinnPost has obtained those reports. (They were neatly filed in a box in my attic. That’s how secret they were.)
Here’s what our investigators uncovered:
Between 1961 and 1981, the most games ever canceled by weather in a season at the old Met was seven, in 1980. According to the handwritten spreadsheet, the 1962, 1964 and 1970 Openers were the only ones affected. Three Openers in 21 seasons.
Between 1982 and 1996 — about the time the Twins ballpark argument commenced at the Legislature — only 1983, 1991 and 1992 would have been Dome openers when snow/rain/cold would have canceled games, had they been forced to play outdoors.
So, including today, since 1961, that’s seven home openers out of 48 — or about 15 percent – that would have been problematic. But, if Opening Day were pushed each time beyond April 15, it looks like all but one of those snow/rain/cold days would have been avoided.
Therefore, when the new ballpark opens, Twins officials and the state must lobby to make sure all home Openers occur no earlier than April 16. And, as you look out your window today, shake your head and say, “Why didn’t those dingdongs put a roof on the new place?” remember this: It was hard enough to get a $544 million stadium approved without a roof.
And a half-billion is a lot easier to say than $750 million.
As for 2010: Save up, and buy a coat. It’s cheaper.