Updated: 04/08/2014 1:39 PM KSTP.com By: Joe Mazan
Opening Day at Target Field
Photo: Photo: KSTP/ Todd Raen
It was the first chance to see the Minnesota Twins play at Target Field this season as the team hosted the Oakland Athletics on Opening Day.
After coming off of two wins, the Twins lost to the A's 8-3.
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, as the gates opened for a fifth season.
Nearly 36,000 people attended the game Monday. 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 were many reasons the stadium needed to be in tip-top shape.
Before any line drives sailed past the third baseman, the grounds crew painted the line that determines each ball: foul or fair. Walking heel to toe, not straying one inch, the groundskeepers made straight and smooth surfaces for the home opener.
Under the sunshine the small army of groundskeepers diligently got 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 was a homegrown star back from Hollywood.
To honor Ron Gardenhire's 1,000th win as Twin's manager, the crew wanted 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.