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Lloyd Omdahl, Published July 27 2009

Omdahl: It will be snowball for Twins

Having played only one season of organized baseball, I am just a whisper in the shadows compared to the wisdom of Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven, the TV newscasters for the Minnesota Twins. Throughout the 2009 season, they have been touting the virtues of the new open-air baseball field that will be ready for the 2010 season.

To support their campaign, Dick and Bert have been recruiting endorsements from such old Twins greats as Kent Hrbek and Jack Morris. They even have Joe Mauer’s mother insisting that the boys take their game outside. One of these evenings, I expect to hear a vocal endorsement from Kirby Puckett, electronically resurrected from some ethereal location, adding his approval to the outdoor park.

At a cost of $500 million, Target Field will be opened April 12 with a game against Boston. Without a doubt, a large portion of the 40,000 seats will be filled by diehards, all shivering in longer than usual “long johns” in a “more desirable” atmosphere than found in the Metrodome.

While games in St. Louis, Seattle and other parks will be rained out in 2010, games in Target Field will be snowed out. (After all, it snowed in Dickinson just a couple of weeks ago – around the middle of the baseball season.) April is still winter all the way down to Omaha. They plan to host the World Series in October 2014. Unthinkable!

The vendors will be happy because they can throw their coolers away. The Coors beer cans will be blue without them. Instead of bobbleheads, they will be giving away pneumonia shots. I imagine the new mascots will be fully equipped St. Bernards, ready to rescue the players in the occasional blizzards.

With rain, sleet and snow inevitable, the only folks in the stands over the long haul will be the mailpersons who have a reputation for thriving in this sort of environment. But I doubt that there are enough of them in Minnesota to keep this undertaking out of the bankruptcy courts.

A rational person has to wonder what happened to the common sense that Dick and Bert normally demonstrate in calling the games. There can be only one answer. They are banking on Earth warming and the promise of a 7-degree increase in temperature over the next 20 years.

The first few years will be tough, they figure, but after that it will be all sunshine and roses.

Now I have a selfish reason for being negative about this new outdoor arrangement. At our house, watching Twins games on television is a regular event. Everything else on television – except the Weather Channel – is really trash. Regrettably, the Twins sometimes sink to that level.

With the Metrodome, we can count on a Twins game every night. With an open-air ballpark, games will be disrupted by weather and, on those evenings when the Twins games get snowed out, we will be stuck with more than we want to know about the weather in Utah.


Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher.