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Twins Missed on Retractable Roof

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April 1, 2019

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A Monday notes column that includes quotes from Minnesota governors and a lot more.

The Twins did okay with the weather for their 2019 home opening series in Minneapolis. Game time temperatures in their three-game series with the Cleveland Indians were 49 degrees on Thursday and 34 both Saturday and Sunday. The 34 degrees tied a record for the third coldest temperature in Target Field history. The coldest is 27 on April 7 of last year.

Not exactly balmy but better than early season weather in 2018 that led to postponements. Cold weather, rain and snow keeps ticket buyers away, and the Twins management knew this years ago when they pushed state officials for a retractable roof facility to be built along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

Arne Carlson, Minnesota’s governor in the late 1990s and a sports fan, saw the advantage of a retractable roof facility. Reached by telephone last weekend at his residence in Florida, Carlson talked about Minnesota’s “adverse weather” in both the spring and late fall. “…So a retractable roof only makes good common sense,” he said.

A financial package couldn’t be agreed upon for a retractable roof baseball stadium in the 1990s and the club finally worked out a deal with Hennepin County to build open air Target Field, a facility in operation since 2010. The acclaimed ballpark is often ranked among baseball’s best stadiums, but it can’t guarantee that weather won’t postpone games, and that’s a challenge in selling tickets to potential customers who live near and far.

The proposed cost for a Twins retractable roof stadium years ago was $438.8 million. Target Field, with financing from the county and the Twins, cost over $550 million including original expenditures and later enhancements.

The Twins drew a sellout crowd of 39,519 for opening day, then announced attendances of 15,271 Saturday and 15,613 Sunday. The best numbers of the last few days for the Twins were winning two of three games against their AL Central Division rival Indians, the favorite to win a fourth consecutive championship.

Minnesota native and Indians ace reliever Brad Hand pitched in both Thursday’s and Saturday’s games. After the Saturday game he told Fox Sports North that as an amateur in Minnesota he had pitched while it was snowing.

In a feature story on how technology has impacted baseball, the late March issue of Sports Illustrated said, “the Twins hope they have found the next undervalued pitcher based on data.” The magazine reported Martin Perez, who Minnesota signed in January for a reported $3.5 million for one season, threw his fastball 97 miles per hour in spring training—faster than he had achieved in four years. The left-hander had a 6.22 ERA with the Texas Rangers last season.

Perez, pitching in relief, was the winning pitcher yesterday in Minnesota’s 9-3 victory. In 3.2 innings he gave up three earned runs but struck out six batters.

Governor Tim Walz, elected to office last fall, spoke to high school football coaches Friday night. He is a former prep football coach. “My peers sit in this room,” he said at the 12th annual Minnesota Football Coaches Clinic in St. Louis Park.

Walz was the defensive coordinator for the 1999 Mankato West state championship team. “This game (football) shaped me,” he said.

Ron Stolski

Three-day event organizers, including Ron Stolski and Jim Dotseth, said the clinic had record attendance of about 1,500. Among the recipients of awards from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association (MFCA) was KARE TV’s Randy Shaver, who was recognized for his contributions to football in the state including through his Prep Sports Extra program that starts its 35th season this fall.

At Iowa State Shaver planned to be a football coach and teacher before deciding to enter broadcasting. At KARE 11, first as a sportscaster and now a news anchor, Shaver remained intrigued with high school football. On Friday nights after going off the air he will work until 3 a.m. poring over game film for information he will eventually use to determine the station’s all-metro offensive and defensive teams. “People think I am crazy,” he told Sports Headliners about his passion to review film.

The MFCA announced Mike Kesler of Rochester Lourdes as its 2018 Coach of the Year on Saturday. His Eagles had a 14-0 record in 2018 and won the Class 3A State Football Championship last November.

Among clinic speakers was Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck who recommended reading the following books: Belichick, Date Your Wife, Power of a Positive Team, and You Have What It takes: What Every Father Needs to Know.

Fleck also told the audience he enjoys vacationing at Disney World in Orlando.

Ryan Suter can become the third Minnesota Wild player ever to win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The popular defenseman would join goalies Devin Dubnyk and Josh Harding as winners of the award named after the late Bill Masterton from the Minnesota North Stars. The trophy is presented annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

You can be sure the many friends Fred Hoiberg made while working for the Timberwolves are happy he is back in coaching. The former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach, who both played for and worked in the Wolves front office, has agreed to a reported seven-year, $25 million deal to coach at Nebraska. It looks like another savvy hire by Bill Moos, one of the best athletic directors in the country. At Nebraska Moos also hired football coach Scott Frost and while at Washington State he hired football coach Mike Leach.

The Michigan State team that plays in the Minneapolis Final Four on Saturday had a great season even though the Spartans’ Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson declared early for the NBA where they are averaging 7.2 and 13.8 points per game respectively.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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