The lights at Target Field were ablaze Monday morning before dawn, signaling the start of baseball season in Minnesota. The Twins host the Oakland Athletics this afternoon in their 2014 Home Opener.
Minnesota is off to a solid start, splitting a six-game road trip that took them to Chicago and Cleveland. The Athletics had no trouble with the Twins last summer, winning six of seven games and outscoring Minnesota 68-23 in the process, according to the Star Tribune.
The National Weather Service calls for an afternoon high temperature of 57 degrees in Minneapolis, which means fans should be comfortable in a ballpark that was covered in half a foot of snow a few days ago. Take a look at the before and after pictures of Target Field from last week's snowstorm.
After the week-long road trip and a long Spring Training in Florida, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is just excited to play in front of his home fans.
"Seems like we've been gone a long, long time," said Gardenhire, who on Saturday became the 60th manager in Major League Baseball history to reach 1,000 career wins, according to the Star Tribune. "It will be refreshing to get home, get in front of our fans, in our ballpark. That's going to be kind of cool."
Kevin Correia gets the nod on the mound as the Twins' starting pitcher today. He'll be opposed by Oakland left-hander Scott Kazmir.
Minnesota's lineup is off to a strong start, leading the American League in runs scored (38), according to ESPN. Chris Colabello is leading the charge with 11 RBI – three more than any other player in the AL. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe is tied for third in the AL with seven RBI.
The fast start has been encouraging, but Minnesota could be down a pair of starters today. Outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham are dealing with wrist injuries, and neither is expected to to play. The Pioneer Press reports that Arcia could land on the 15-day disabled list if he's unable to swing a bat without pain by Wednesday.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan says the winning has helped him get through some difficult radiation treatment. Ryan was diagnosed with cancer before the start the Spring Training.
“It always helps when they win, there’s no doubt,” Ryan told Sid Hartman. “You feel a lot better when you see a win up on the board.”
If you're headed to the ballpark today, check out the game-day festivities right here. Twins legends like Bert Blyleven and Tony Oliva will be greeting fans at the gates, which open at 1 p.m.
Also greeting fans at select gates will be metal detectors. They're part of the league's plan to help protect fans from dangerous objects entering the stadium.
The Twins averaged more than 30,000 fans per game last season, but team president Dave St. Peter admitted that they need to "get our act together" the the field to keep fans coming back.