Blog Entry

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Posted on: June 27, 2010 9:21 pm
So maybe it wasn't the blowers.

And maybe it wasn't the bouncy turf, or the goofy roof. Maybe it wasn't the Metrodome at all.

Check the record: Last year, at the Metrodome, the Twins started off 23-13 at home. This year, at Target Field, the Twins have started off 23-13 at home.

"I think they're just a great home team," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird suggested.

"You look at all good teams," longtime Twin Michael Cuddyer said. "They all win at home."

He's right, of course. But for years, when the Twins won so much at the Metrodome, we always wanted to give the building half the credit. Or half the blame, as opposing players did when they accused the Twins of manipulating the air blowers to create a jet stream when the Twins were hitting.

"You can't do that outdoors," Cuddyer said with a smile.

There is something they can do outdoors. They can put nearly 40,000 Minnesotans in the stands, creating what general manager Bill Smith describes as "a high-energy experience."

It'll be high-energy again this week, when the Twins return from a typical 3-6 road trip for an important series against the Tigers. The Twins hold a half-game lead over the Tigers (and a 1 1/2-game lead over the White Sox) in the American League Central.

The Tigers, who went winless in their first Target Field visit last month, know what to expect.

"Everyone wanted to say before that it was because of the Dome, or whatever," Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said. "You know, they just have a good ballclub. What kind of [unusual] advantage can they get now? It's a normal ballpark, a great ballpark."

Or, as Laird said, "I don't think there's any excuses anymore."

And there would be no excuse for leaving Tigers-Twins off this week's edition of 3 to watch:

1. Jason Heyward is getting his sore left thumb examined Monday afternoon, so there's a good chance that the first-ever Heyward-Stephen Strasburg matchup will wait for another day. But Strasburg's start, in Nationals at Braves, Monday night (7:10 EDT) at Turner Field , is notable anyway, and not just because we promised to highlight every Strasburg start. For one thing, it's still his first-ever start against a first-place team. For another, his opponent is Tim Hudson, who has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this year.

2. Since the start of last year, the Tigers are 2-11 in the state of Minnesota (indoors and outdoors), but five of the losses were by one run, and in five of the losses the Tigers led in the seventh inning or later. So if any Strasburg start is can't-miss, so is Tigers-Twins, at the Metrodome or Target Field. That the teams are separated by just half a game in the standings only makes Tigers at Twins, Monday night (8:10 EDT) at Target Field , that much more interesting.

3. Remember, the Rays were supposed to have had the easy interleague schedule (no games vs. 2009 playoff teams). They went 7-11, had a no-hitter thrown against them and fought among themselves. The Red Sox were supposed to have the tough interleague schedule (four series vs. 2009 playoff teams). They went 13-5, good enough to move into second place (ahead of the Rays) in the AL East. So now the Rays arrive in Boston, for a two-game series that begins with Rays at Red Sox, Tuesday night (7:10 EDT) at Fenway Park . The Red Sox already have Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett and Jacoby Ellsbury on the disabled list, and by gametime Tuesday Victor Martinez could be there, too. Is that good for the Rays? Sorry, we're done making predictions.

Since: Feb 20, 2008
Posted on: July 9, 2010 2:00 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Yep, Dodgers and Giants.  There were no professional sports teams in California prior to the move.  They both came from New York.  They were rivals in New York.  The Giants and Yankees had a bigger rivalry than even the Yankees and Red Sox had.  The Yanks-Sox rivalry only heated up after the Giants left town.

You go to any old time New Yorker and ask them.  They'll tell you.

Don't be fooled by what ESPN pimps out to us every year.  Giants and Dodgers changed everything about expansion and baseball west of the Mississippi.  You talk about 8 or 9 million people caring about the Yankees-Red Sox nonsense.

Well, there are 50 million people in California.  6th biggest economy in the WORLD.  Not US.  WORLD.  What "people" don't care about it?  East Coasters?  Doesn't matter here.  Californians don't care about the Yanks-Sox.  So your argument is moot.

Giants and Dodgers moving West is bigger than Jackie Robinson integrating.  Giants and Dodgers moving West is the biggest move in baseball history, and I suggest you do some research on it if you don't know anything about it.

Since: Jul 1, 2010
Posted on: July 2, 2010 11:00 am

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Twins need to keep a team healthy. Every tema has injuries, but this year we have had a rash of them and all at the same time. Losing Hardy and Hudson at the same time, a couple bereavement leaves, let's try to field a full team without any subs.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 10:46 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

I'm a lifetime Twins fan and would love to see them win the Wolrd Series too, but they struggle a LOT with the Yankees.  The Twins record vs the Yankees is very very bad, going back for many years.  I don't even want to know how bad it is.  :) 

Since: Sep 16, 2009
Posted on: June 28, 2010 9:47 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Yeah, but they play at 10:30!

Since: Dec 17, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 9:20 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Yes, there may be a substantial number of corporations headquartered in teh Twin Cities (I know--I went to grad school there), btu that pales to the number of people living in the television market. That number is easily one of the smallest in the major leagues, and the Twins (not to mention the Brewers, Royals, etc.) get a microscopic fraction of the television revenue that the Yankees or Red Sox do.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2010 6:17 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Ha Ha Ha Ha, ahhhhhhhhh.  Giants and Dodgers.  I needed a good joke today!

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 4:58 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Dodgers/Giants?  Seriously?  If your outside of the bay you don't even care about either team.  Neither team has been relevant since the Earthquake series.  If you want to go baseball you have to go Boston/Yankees.  13 million people in NYC alone, another 8 to 9 in Boston.  That in itself spells most POPULAR rivalry.  Accompany that with the fact that ESPN has a crush on the rivalry as well as everyone not a fan of either team LOVES to bash the two teams.  It's really not even close when it comes to baseball.  In other sports college football etc, it all comes down to a matter of opinion, with the exception of perhaps basketball where the Lakers/Celtics rivalry is definitely the best.  NFL is too boring now adays for rivalries to even come about.  In any case, it's ludicrious to think anyone cares about the Dodgers or Giants....

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: June 28, 2010 4:24 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Biggest rivalry in sports? I didn't know Ohio State and Michigan were playing football today.... Army - Navy? Alabama - Auburn?

Since: Jun 28, 2010
Posted on: June 28, 2010 4:20 pm

Get Free Picks via Twitter at: FleetsPix504

Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2010 2:53 pm

3 to watch: The Non-dome-field advantage edition

Dodgers-Giants is the "biggest rivalry in sports"?  Are YOU kidding me?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or