St Peter: No trees, no dimension changes at Target Field
Joe Christensen passes along the message from Twins President Dave St. Peter that the team will not re-install trees in center field nor change the dimensions of the stadium, much like the Seattle Mariners are planning on doing in Safeco for 2013.
With the addition of Josh Willingham, we've seen what kind of player is necessary in order to have a true home run hitter on the Twins: someone who pulls the ball regularly with authority, to left field. Right-center field however, while it did relinquish more home runs this year than years past, is still a death valley for fly balls. If any area of the ball park needed some rearranging, it would be in that area. Frankly, I'm okay with giving an advantage to the pitchers in this case.
I'm sort of on the fence about the trees. They were aesthetically pleasing to viewers and provided a unique stamp on the field but if they really did affect the play of the hitters then, understandably, they had to go (of course, the Rockies have managed to do well offensively in Coors despite all this stuff in the background). And some players were lobbing complaining about the trees almost from Day 1:
The two exhibition games at Target Field against the Cardinals earlier this month gave the players a chance to hit in their new ballpark.
One of the only early complaints from a couple players was how the spruce trees behind the center-field wall might affect the sight lines while players are at the plate. While Michael Cuddyer was one player who said the trees affected his vision a little, others, like Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel, didn't seem to be affected by it.
Meanwhile, if these April 2010 quotes hold true today Ron Gardenhire may be one of the organization's biggest impetus towards bringing back the trees:
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that there have been some shadows off the trees, particularly during the 5 p.m. CT start for the first exhibition contest. Gardenhire said that some players had a little issue with depth perception off the trees, but he stressed that was just the early talk.
"We'll see what happens," Gardenhire said before joking: "We've got chainsaws, plenty of chainsaws. If we don't like it, we just whack them. We'll come here late night and whack them. People will say, 'Who did that?'"