Of course, it was going to rain today, the first day of outdoor Major League Baseball in Minnesota since 1982.
Even though the sun came out about two hours before game time and the exhibition contest between the Twins and Cardinals began as scheduled, the moaning will begin about why there’s no roof on Target Field, with critics forgetting that: (a) a retractable roof would likely have added nearly $200 million to the project and; (b) the tight location in the Warehouse District didn’t really allow for a cover to move off the top of the stadium.
But, besides that, we’ve dug up some stats that the Twins provided to lawmakers many years ago during the 15-year-long Twins ballpark debate. Of course, weather conditions are unpredictable, but according to data developed by the team way back in 1996, during the 21 seasons the Twins played outdoors in Bloomington’s Metropolitan Stadium, there were a total of 82 games postponed because of rain, snow, cold, or “wet grounds,” for an average of about four games per season.
In both 1978 and 1980, seven games were called off, the most in any one season.
Ten of the 82 total postponements were called exclusively for “wet grounds.” Target Field’s drainage system is supposed to be excellent, thereby limiting postponements caused by a wet and sloppy field.
One of the arguments for a dome on Target Field is that fans from outside the metro area will be penalized if they drive three hours and have the game called off. Them’s the breaks. Ideally, most games will be played.
Another argument: Threatening weather will adversely affect same-day walkup ticket sales. For a couple of seasons, anyway, that won’t be a problem. Advance ticket sales are booming this year. Down the road, when the novelty of the ballpark wears off, that could be an issue.
On the other hand, those Sundays in July when potential customers didn’t want to go inside to the Metrodome will now be attractive sun-splashed affairs.
By the way, in 1962, ’64 and ’70, Opening Day was either snowed or rained out.
For those who have forgotten how this works, bring a poncho and enjoy the rain.