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Twins Open Target Field Against Athletics

Updated: 04/07/2014 3:19 PM
Created: 04/07/2014 3:09 PM WDIO.com
By: Jennie Olson, KSTP

It's the first chance to see the Minnesota Twins play at Target Field this season as the team hosts the Oakland Athletics on Opening Day. The first pitch is scheduled to be thrown at 3:10 p.m. as the Twins look to win their third game in a row.

According to our sister-station KSTP, the Twins could be in for another tough year after averaging 97 losses over the past three seasons. Target Field is no longer a novelty, with the gates set to open for a fifth season.

As time goes on, attendance has dropped and so has the economic impact for Minneapolis. Nothing takes away the excitement of a new park more than losing – which the Twin have done a lot lately.

According to Meet Minneapolis, the economic impact of a full Target Field on the city is $2 million, but over the past few years sellouts have become the exception to the rule, which means the money isn’t coming in like it used to.

Back in 2010 when the Twins finished with 94 wins and went to the playoffs, they brought in an estimated $162 million in economic activity. In 2011, the appeal of the new field seemed to fight off all the losses and brought in $162 million again.

But in 2012, they brought in $141.75 million, and last year they brought in just $121.5 million.

For the team's home opener at Target Field, there are many reasons the stadium needs to be in tip-top shape.

Before any line drives sail past the third baseman, the grounds crew paints the line that will determine each ball: foul or fair. Walking heel to toe, not straying one inch, the groundskeepers make straight and smooth surfaces for home opener.

Under the sunshine the small army of groundskeepers diligently get the field ready for action.

"It's a small area; you don't think it's a lot of work, but it takes a lot of time and effort to really make this field look good and make it safe," groundskeeper Nick Wilz said.

The first person to take the mound will be a homegrown star back from Hollywood.

"Our ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Captain Phillips' (actor) Barkhad Abdi, who starred opposite Tom Hanks in 'Captain Phillips,'" Twins Spokesperson Chris Iles said.

To honor Ron Gardenhire's 1,000th win as Twin's manager, the crew wants Gardy's ballpark to be in perfect shape.

The team is also showing support for Twins General Manger Terry Ryan, who was diagnosed with cancer this winter.

"We're going to have all players and fans stand-up at the bottom of the second (inning) holding a placard that shows for whom they stand-up," Iles said.

Something new this year -- 14 Spartan Juniper trees were planted to overlook center field.

Tickets are still available for the home opener, starting at $22 on up. The day will be filled with events - including a free breakfast. View a schedule of events here.

Courtesy: KSTP.com

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