Though I lived in the Twin Cities
for seven years and have many dear friends there, it was an easy decision not to
attend the St. Louis Cardinals upcoming pair of games against the Minnesota Twins in
You see, I know too much. No, not
about baseball – about
Exactly 25 years ago today, April 1, 1985, is a date that lives in infamy for my family - and it had absolutely nothing to do with April Fools.
That was the day my wife, then
eight-plus months pregnant, our four-year-old, his little brother, celebrating
his second birthday that very day, and I had scheduled to move into our new
house in a
There was only one slight problem. The moving van tractor-trailer was having trouble reaching us. The night before, a new 24-hour Twin Cities March snowfall record was set – not just for that date, for ANY March day in history – 14.7 inches, a record that may still stand today.
That very long-lasting memory of just how unpredictable Minnesota early April weather can be should help explain why I decided to stay home this time. I will wait to return there in June – just in time for the height of the annual mosquito season.
This coming weekend
This weekend's Twin Cities forecast is quite unsettled. The good news is that the temperature will not be in the 20s and 30s, but instead in the 60s on Friday, settling perhaps only in the upper 40s to around 50 on Saturday. The really bad news is that there is a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms on Friday afternoon, going up to 70 percent for just plain old rain on Saturday.
It would be extremely unfortunate for everyone involved if the exhibition series is impacted by the weather, but the baseball gods always seem to have a way of making their displeasure known.
It was an extremely short-sighted move to build a new outdoor baseball park in that climate, let alone one that could not later be retrofitted with a retractable roof when people came to their senses. Yet that is how Target Field was designed. In an area where the first freeze is often in mid-September, one can only imagine what late October night baseball might be like there.
Update: Reader Ben Tighe informed me that the record snowfall in Minneapolis occurred on October 31, 1991. The "Halloween Blizzard" dropped 21 inches of snow in 24 hours, and a total accumulation of 28.4 inches in 48 hours. As a point of reference, Game Three of the 2009 World Series was held on October 31.
Plans for the exhibition series have been worked on for weeks down to the nth degree of detail. I asked around a bit in camp recently to understand what some of the people in and around the Cardinals were thinking and doing in preparation.
The clubhouse staff is definitely focused. As part of MLB etiquette, home clubs are normally responsible for supplying parkas for both teams. The Cardinals checked with the Twins since their new outdoor park is opening for the first time. After all, coats were not needed in their former home, the climate-controlled Metrodome.
The Cards obviously didn't bring
parkas with them to
Weather "war stories"
A Canadian by birth, a former Minnesota Twin and a major league coach for almost three decades now, I figured hardy Cardinals first base coach Dave McKay would have some thoughts about playing in the cold. I was right.
McKay told me a story about the
first home game of the then-new
McKay also remembered very well having played outdoors in the Twin Cities at old Metropolitan Stadium in 1975 and 1976. Those were his first two partial seasons as a major leaguer, then wearing the Twins uniform.
McKay recalled that the early part
of baseball schedule was ahead of the natural growing season for the upper
Old Met Stadium was the Twins'
home prior to moving to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 1982. The
Metropolitan Stadium site in
Target Field footnotes
Target Field's first official game
was held last weekend between the
It can happen (almost) anywhere
Inclement wintry weather
disrupting the game can even occur in self-proclaimed "Baseball Heaven,"
Even if they can get this weekend's games in around the rain, here's betting Target Field will not go 13 or 14 years between snow outs. No April Fooling required.
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