It would’ve saved us from being the target of snickering from the the icebox to the east of us.
Last night’s temperature at Target Field at game time was 31 degrees, the coldest temperature ever recorded at the start of a game at the stadium. Good times for the announced crowd of 20,698, most of whom weren’t actually there.
In Milwaukee, writer Mike Baumann went to a game in 31 degree weather, too. And he writes today that he was just fine.
Nobody made a big deal about the snow at Miller Park, either, until people went outside to their cars after the game and realized that the roads home would be glazed over with ice. But at game time it was 62 degrees inside Miller Park. In this current climate, that seemed like a day in mid-July.
I don’t mention this to sneer or snicker at our neighbors one state to the west. The Twin Cities being farther north than Milwaukee, their climate can be even more severe than ours in the winter, or in an April when the winter just won’t go away.
They don’t have a roof on their ballpark. But they do have a varied ballpark history; outside at Metropolitan Stadium from 1961-81, then inside at the Metrodome until 2010, then Target Field and outdoors once again.
Target Field is an outstanding facility, top-shelf, first-class, one of the very best. It is vastly superior to the Metrodome, which was never really suitable for baseball, on every level except one, I suppose. And that would be when the temperature is below freezing and it’s snowing.
In Milwaukee, the retractable roof has saved baseball for this community, for this state. Without this roof, the Brewers would not be drawing anything like three million people in a single season, as they did three times over a four-year period.
The roof is also in the process of saving a baseball season. For the nine Brewers home dates so far this season, the weather has been acceptable maybe twice. Couldn’t have played Monday night with the snow. Couldn’t have played Tuesday night, either, with the cold.
The former owner of the Brewers and current Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, insisted that the roof was an absolutely necessary part of the package. I don’t think the Commissioner had advance knowledge of the polar vortex, but he was right on the roof, then and now.
The people in Minnesota, with a baseball park without a retractable roof, may be tougher than we are. Or they may be merely cheaper than we are. Or they may be both. But in Milwaukee, 31 degrees at game time does not bother baseball fans in the least. As long as there are ice scrapers in their cars.