Posted by: gravessack | July 4, 2012

Home Runs Galore at Target Field

Well, it looks as if Target Field’s cement has finally dried! Well, that is if you believe Colorado Rockies Jason Giambi’s 2010 theory that the slow drying cement was disallowing home runs at Target Field. During the first two years of Minnesota’s new ballpark, players and fans thought this was going to be a pitcher ballpark. Players got so frustrated that the Twins painted the batter’s eye and removed the Black Spruce trees from center field after 2010. The Twins made those changes to make the players happy, with little evidence that it would help much. We might be seeing the evidence in 2012 that making those changes is producing more home runs at Target Field, or could it be something else?

In 2010 and 2011, the Twins hit 100 home runs, while opponents smacked 146 at Target Field. Analysis had several theories for the lousy number of round trippers. Some blamed the players, and others argued that the fences needed to be moved in. Target Field’s home plate is situated facing northeast, so some thought when a ball was hit the southwesterly winds would push it back into the field of play. These theories, however, aren’t proving to be true in 2012; could Giambi’s thought process be correct?

The 2012 Target Field campaign is becoming much different from the ballpark’s first two years of existence. Baseballs have been flying over the fence at a much faster rate. During the Twins’ first 42 home games, a total of 87 home runs (2.07 per game) have been hit. In two games this year, the Twins have hit three home runs. On July 1, the club hit a record number of home runs at Target Field in a single game when they hit four over the fence. The Twins home run leaders, Trevor Plouffe (19) and Josh Willingham (18), have combined for 23 home runs at Target Field so far this season.

Target Field is not holding balls back this year as it did in the past. Fans are growing accustomed to seeing long balls at the ballpark now. If this rate continues, Target Field could give up a record 180 home runs this year. That is 50 more than 2010 and 2011!

So, why would Target Field be allowing so many home runs this season? While I don’t fully agree with Giambi’s theory, I kind of see where he gets that idea of cement drying. Cement dries over several days and takes longer in bigger structures, and that could affect an object’s flight path. However, I don’t see how that would affect a baseball. Knowing that Target Field had not given up a lot of homers, pitchers might be pitching the ball more in the strike zone where batters can smash the ball.

The Twins also acquired more hitters last off-season, but that does not say much because Plouffe has been with the club since Target Field debuted. My best bet is that the warmer weather is causing the increase of home runs. Maybe the falcon, named Kirby, left a magic potion two years ago while perched on top of Target Field’s foul poles, and that potion started working three months ago. Ultimately, I have no idea why Target Field is giving up so many home runs this year!

At any rate, it will be easier for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney to put on a home run of a show at Target Field’s first-ever concert this Sunday, July 8.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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