MINNEAPOLIS (TUSEN) – Baseball fans heading to the Minnesota Twins’ opener won’t have to worry about freezing temperatures like in previous years – but they will likely need an umbrella.
Rain is expected on Thursday, enough to possibly delay the game but hopefully not postpone it. The good news is that the terrain was designed with this type of weather in mind.
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A new set of lines in the outfield here, a spot check of the grass there. It’s about sprinkling your I’s and crossing your T’s at this point, as the pitch has grown at Target Field. Larry DiVito is the head of the garden.
“It was a good spring. Probably the second easiest we’ve had since opening, ”said DiVito.
When you consider that some years have included shoveling snow and increasing the heat under an icy field to prepare for the home opener, it’s no wonder that DiVito’s stress level is low.
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“Reaching our level of playability was no different than it would have been in May,” he said.
But they are not out of the inclement weather yet, with a solid rainstorm expected early Thursday before the game. It has also rained from time to time since Tuesday evening. Fortunately, this is nothing the crew and infrastructure under the grass cannot handle.
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“We built this [stadium] on very aggressively drained sand. So it’s actually a 100,000 square foot golf green, I call it, ”said DiVito.
It’s almost like a layer of sand and gravel cake in the ground under already porous grass. There are also drain pipes installed every 10 feet.
“The industry standard is 15 feet, so we have a tighter gap on the drain lines,” he said.
Much of this rainwater is filtered, stored, and then reused for tasks such as stand washing or irrigation. In essence, a storm here and there is actually a good thing.
“My preference is just a couple, one or two heavy rains a week, that’s great,” DiVito said with a smile.
But maybe not in the middle of a game.
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The under-field stormwater recycling system is estimated to save over 2,000,000 gallons of water per year.