When the concept of Target Field was being sold to Minnesota taxpayers it was touted as a way to build a competitive team. The thrust of the argument was that the new beautiful park would draw more fans and let the team pay for higher priced players.
The fans came at first, but the competitive team remains elusive. Fans appear to be spending their money on other activities. Yesterday marks smallest opening day crowd ever at Target Field.
Twins officials say the 35,837 fans in the stands watched another disappointing stat unfold, too: This was the Twins third home opener loss in row. The A’s beat the home team 8 to 3. (MPR News)
MPR News blogger Bob Collins writes, “No, it wasn’t [a mistake to build the park.] It’s a great ballpark, it’s outdoors, and going there is a pretty fun experience.”
The Twins certainly had a moral obligation to field a better team than it has. But it spent much of its payday on keeping catcher Joe Mauer and then budding star Justin Morneau. Their contracts violated every tenet of “Moneyball,” the Oakland Athletics’ (the team that beat them on opening day yesterday) formula for fielding a good team on a small budget. But the Twins had no choice. It would have been a political disaster to get a taxpayer-funded stadium and then let Mauer and Morneau go.
Today’s Question: Was building Target Field a mistake?