Target Field Weather: #1 pitcher’s park in baseball?

Update 8:00 am:

More interesting data shows Target Field as the #1 pitchers ball park in Major League Baseball. According to ESPN, when you compare home vs. away numbers for home runs for all MLB teams, Target Field has the top bias as a pitchers park in the majors when it comes to home runs.

This data is even more pronounced than the raw numbers from HitTracker, which shows Target Field has yielded the 4th fewest home runs in the majors this season.

The abrupt and high rise of the stadium structure is like a mini mountain range that winds have to cross. The result may be an eddy that can actually blow back toward home plate in a downward direction, even though the prevailing wind is blowing out.

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One reason for the relatively low number of home runs at Target Field may be that the canopy and stadium walls create what’s called a “rotor” effect with certain (primarily westerly) wind directions.

My friend, fellow baseball coach and Twins season ticket holder Mark Werley shares the following observation.

The stadium is on a hill to begin with so a northwest wind has to climb the hill, and the left wall of the stadium, then maybe you just get a downdraft eddie out there – possibly helped somehow by that ‘airfoil’ shape of the sunshade. We sit in the upper deck on the right field side and the shape you see is a ball going up and out nicely, only to start dropping fast before it get’s to the fence. Does anyone else think that what’s unusual about the stadium is that the sides are steeper and set closer to the field than most other stadiums? Wonder if that creates different/sharper downdrafts on the field?

It will be intersting to see how the Yankees and Twins home run numbers compare during the upcoming series. Of course weather is only one factor…the fact is if the ball is up in the strike zone these guys are going to hit some out of the park.


Update 10:30pm:

New York Times baseball writer Pat Borzi did a nice piece on the weather and home runs at Target Field here. Pat contacted me on Monday and I shared my observations about Target Field weather with him for the article.

(Original post 4:40pm Monday)

October Baseball: Twins weather winning streak continues

It looks like the Twins winning weather streak will continue as the Yankees come to town this week for the first ever playoff series at Target Field.

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Jim Thome and the Twins may have a slight tail wind blowing out to right field Wednesday evening at Target Field.

(photo by Paul Huttner)

A favorably dry early October weather pattern with sunny mild days and clear, crisp cool evenings means great baseball weather this week.

Here’s the Huttner Weather Lab forecast as of Monday for the games on Wednesday & Thursday:

Game 1: Wednesday evening. First pitch 7:37pm CDT

Sky: Mostly clear

Temps: 68 degrees first pitch. Near 60 by 10pm.

Wind: NW 5-12 mph (blowing out toward right field)

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Game 2: First pitch 5:07pm CDT

Sky: Mostly sunny

Temps: 70 degrees first pitch. Near 64 by 8pm.

Wind: West 5-12 mph (blowing out toward left-center field)

The early outlook for a possible Game #5 next Tuesday looks favorable as well right now.

What a difference a year makes:

Remeber last October in Minnesota?

The words cold, wet and miserable come to mind.

Last October 6th (the date of Game #1 this year) was an absolutely dismal weather day. A raw wet early October storm system dumped a cold rain on the Twin Cities all day. The high was a bone chilling 47 degrees, and the storms dumped 1.38″ of rainfall on the metro. A raw, cutting, bone chilling northwest wind blew between 11 and 22 mph.

Not exactly a day for outdoor baseball.

We saw snow on 5 days in the metro in last October, including a daily record snowfall of 2.5″ on the 12th…the same day of a potential Game 5 at Target Field this year.

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Snow clad deck chairs at the Huttner Weather Lab on October 12th, 2009.

(Photo by Paul Huttner)

Anyting can happen in October in Minnesota:

As fans and local meteorologists eyed the possibilities of outdoor playoff baseball in October, we knew that anything can (and usually does!) happen with Minnesota weather this time of year.

Check out some of the weather extremes for the first 12 days of October in the Twin Cities.

Warmest: 87 degrees on October 6th 2007.

Coldest: 23 degrees October 12th 1917.

Wettest: 1.69″ rainfall October 6th 1941.

Snowiest: 2.5″ snowfall October 12th 2009.

The Twins weather luck has been uncanny this season. In the most severe weather summer in Minnesota history, only two weather delays have occurred at Target Field this season. Monday marks the 9th straight day with no measureable rain in the Twin Cities. That is the longest dry stretch in over 6 months since late March!

It looks like the weather gods are dancing over Target Field again this week. Let’s hope the baseball gods are dancing too.


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