With the Royals already underway in their first trip to Minneapolis in 2012, one thing to take note of is their short, but substandard history at Target Field.
It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins were down last season. They lost 99 games and finished eight games below the Royals in the AL Central. However, In 2010 the healthy Twins won the division during the inaugural season of their new home stadium. That’s a huge swing in just two years. This year, they’re off to just as awful of a start as our Royals.
This matchup of underachievers is surely to be looked over by just about everyone this weekend.
One advantage that the Twins have over the Royals is their dominance of them at Target Field. The outdoor ballpark opened in 2010, and the Royals played in the first night game at the stadium. The Royals dropped 2 of 3 during that first trip to Target Field, and went on to lose 7 of the 9 games there during the season. As mentioned, the Twins were good in 2010, so some of that may have been expected. However, their record at Target Field fell way below their mean on the road that year. The Royals had a win % of .358 on the road during a season which they lost 95 games. Terrible, but they walked away with a win % of just .222 in Minneapolis. The Twins went on to carry a .654 win % at Target Field. Home Sweet Home indeed.
In 2011, despite the Twins woes, the Royals were only able to win 3 out of 9 at Target Field. The Twins won just 40% of their home games, but still managed to dominate the Royals.
So is it the stadium or just the team?
During their last year at the Metrodome, the Twins had a .598 win %. The Royals managed to win 4 out of 9 games there on their way to losing 97 on the season. The Twins won the Division.
From 1982 through 2009, the Royals played 203 games at the now empty Metrodome. They closed the stadium with a more than respectable record there, going 90-113 (.443).
So, it’s a little disconcerting that the Royals are currently working at a .278 win % at Target Field. It would appear that the stadium is more of a menace than the Twins are. It was ironic to learn that Target Field was primarily designed by Populous – a Kansas City Architecture Firm.
It’s tough to pinpoint the reason for why the Royals have had such a hard time at the Twins’ new home. It is a lot different than the Metrodome, that’s for sure, but the Royals should be accustomed to playing outdoors in a North to Mid-West ballpark. Hitters sure enjoyed the comfort of the climate controlled Metrodome over the years. Target Field is a little more pitcher-friendly, which would favor the Twins because the Royals pitchers are not, well, good. The wind will swirl, the ball won’t carry, and – at least this weekend – the players will battle temperatures in the 40’s.
Hopefully the Royals can overcome the struggles in Minneapolis over the past two years and win a series against a team that they are better than.