Target Field: a shopper's paradise?
Hopes and expectation go with baseball like Copenhagen and seeds . . .
Of course, we in the Bread Basket are not alone in holding the sanguine enthusiasm that a new home brings with it improved results. But does the expectation mesh with the reality?
Since 1999, nearly half of MLB clubs have opened news ballparks; specifically, thirteen teams (3 AL; 10 NL) have moved into new homes in said brief time span. Of the 13, nine clubs began their new era with a higher payroll than they had amassed in their final year at their "old" home. Some of that rise can no doubt be attributed to inflation, however it's still well-worthy of note that 30 percent of those 13 (the other four) actually decreased payroll after having moved to a new ballpark. Given that the Twins at present have the league's 7th lowest payroll, it's encouraging that there's more rungs to climb up the pay ladder than below, however the numbers dictate that there's no guarantee that increased spending is a gimme.
Beyond the shekels are the standings, and therein the cause for a few additional numbers of note. Eschewing, for a moment, the in-progress seasons of the newly stadiumed Mets and Yankees, of the eleven other clubs that opened parks since '99, just four of those teams saw increased win totals from the final year at their "old" home; six teams had decreased win totals and one club's mark equaled that of their previous season. Just three of the clubs
made the playoffs in year #1, with New York (A) looking to add one to that mark this year. As of this writing, the Yanks are +12 in wins compared to this time last year; the Mets are -13.
Target Field, with it's newly rolled out Kentucky Blue Grass blend grass looks, in a word: phenomenal. We can only hope that the club can avoid some recent, untoward hardball history and field a local nine that isn't quite as green as the fresh turf on which they'll perform.
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