Posted at 2:49 PM on April 9, 2009
by Chris Dall
As the excitement builds toward the opening of the Target Field next Spring, and the final game in the building that Strib columnist Pat Reusse deemed a "miserable facility," it might be time to acknowledge what the Twins might be losing as they head for greener pastures.
Yes, the Metrodome is an architectural atrocity and a terrible facility for baseball. But for all it lacks in aesthetics, one thing you can say about the Dome is that the Twins have, for the most part, played very well there, and in big games the building appears to give them advantage. The Twins' 8-0 record in eight World Series games at the Dome bolsters that argument. It may all be perception, but when the Twins are putting together a rally in the late innings, the Dome just seems to provide them with an edge.
Tuesday night's game comeback win against Seattle provided just one example of a benefit to playing in the Dome. Denard Span's infield chopper, which kept the inning going for the Twins, almost certainly isn't a hit on a natural grass field. Over the years, there have been countless similar hits that have helped the team, plus all the balls that opposing players have lost in the lights. And the noise.
I certainly won't miss the Metrodome as a place to watch a ballgame. But come next Spring, when the Twins are down a run in the 9th with men on, I might be wishing they could call on a little of that Dome magic.
I wouldn't be so quick to assume the end of the "chopper". Remember that term is derived the original term "Baltimore Chop". And that was devised long before artificial turf.
If the Twins continue to focus on speed at the top (and bottom) of the order, I think the grounds crew will be "tuning" the field to help those choppers along.