Live ball era at Target Field? No, it’s the live wall era.

Baseball hates change. Things get changed, players perform differently. The change gets blamed, for better or worse.

That’s where we’re headed in this year’s Minnesota Twins baseball season.

The team said Monday it will transform the batter’s eye — the black backdrop in center field that allows for maximum contrast for batters as the baseball heads toward them at home plate — into a new “living wall” system of 5,700 sea green juniper plants.

The team said the change will boost “the aesthetics of the center field hitter’s backdrop, without compromising playability.”

It will be the “first of its kind in Major League Baseball,” the Twins said. While that sounds great, baseball doesn’t have a tremendous record of innovation. For instance, the whole bullpen pitcher cart fiasco of the 1970s was a disaster, yet some teams felt compelled to try and bring it back.

We don’t even have to go that far back to find a batter’s eye controversy. When Target Field opened in 2010, the batter’s eye had evergreens planted there, a tribute to northern Minnesota’s forest goodness.

But some players didn’t like the trees. The trees waved a little. They had to go.

As NewsCut wrote in 2011:

Those trees? Kiss ’em goodbye. The Twins have decided to cut them down to improve the background for the batters. Apparently the dark green trees against the dark green background made it too difficult for the mighty Twins to pick up the white ball from the pitcher.

Players started complaining about the trees after the first exhibition games at the new park last year.

Personally, I think the living wall idea is awesome.

But, you know, if Nelson Cruz hates it, I will hate it.

  • Target Field’s Curse of the Spruce continues to haunt us.

    • Jeff

      A juniper curse is worse, so they better be careful.

      • Robert

        Beware of the Tamarack of Terror!

  • Jack Ungerleider

    Somebody needs to check if any of the craft distillers in the area (maybe with a Target Field connection) are planning a new gin variant. Those juniper berries could provide a distinction to the new gin.

    As for the bullpen carts, I remember those from the original incarnation. They were needed in the big round football/baseball stadiums where the bullpens were halfway to the parking lot. In today’s stadiums they might as well use a Segway.

    • jon

      I was thinking skip the junipers, put up a trellis and grow some hops.

      • Alex

        Aren’t they already growing hops in the plaza?

  • lindblomeagles

    I actually LOVED the trees, but these plants look really cool too.

    • Jeff C.

      My thought was, “Home field advantage, here we come!” If they really were as bad as the players said, the Twins players could get used to them and all the visiting batters would have trouble.

      • TBH

        We did go 53-28 at home during the only season of the trees 🙂

  • Rob

    I think that I shall never see
    A wall more lovely than one made of trees…