Alternating between cursing at snowflakes and shivering at the whipping wind this past weekend sent me scurrying for an indoor-based activity: obsessing about what it might be like for the Twins to play meaningful baseball into late October in the cold, bold North.
After all, if the Rays had won Game 5 against the Astros (they did not) and the Twins had managed to finally knock off the Yankees (they most definitely did not), Games 1 and 2 of the American League Championship Series would have been scheduled for this past Saturday and Sunday at Target Field.
Game 1 probably would have needed to be postponed for snow/common decency, and all the live shots of flakes falling in the Twin Cities on Oct. 11 would have added to the national perception of what life is like here while re-fueling the “why doesn’t Target Field have a roof?” debate.
Would that perception have been fair? How would Target Field fare during a deep October playoff run? Well, here are some facts that seem relevant an interesting:
*There has never been an outdoor MLB playoff game in Minnesota played later in the year than Oct. 14 (which also happens to be Monday’s date). So in that sense, we don’t really have much historical context.
That was Game 7 of the 1965 World Series, so long ago that there weren’t even divisions. Just one team from each league made the playoffs, which sure shortened up the postseason.
Baseball Reference says that game (a 2-0 Dodgers victory) at Metropolitan Stadium was played during the daytime in dry conditions and at 50 degrees on the first pitch – perfectly nice fall baseball weather, which it also would have been Monday on the shared date. (It also lasted 2 hours, 27 minutes, which will get you to the fifth inning of a playoff game these days).
*There were divisions by the time the Twins made it back to the playoffs in 1969 and 1970, but they were swept both times by the Orioles in the ALCS and didn’t play at home past Oct. 6.
The Twins’ next seven postseason appearances, including two World Series that went the full seven games and lasted deep into October, were inside the Metrodome (though everyone in Minnesota can tell you exactly where they were a few days later in 1991 for the Halloween snowstorm).
Since coming back outside, the Twins have had home playoff games in 2010 and 2019. Both were sweeps, and both times their last game at Target Field was Oct. 7 (but the weather sure was nice this year!).
*Game 7 of the World Series this season would be Oct. 30, and in the recent past the postseason has lasted into early November.
If that happened … well, it might not be as bad as you think. According to usclimatedata.com, the average high temperature in Minneapolis on Oct. 30 is 51 degrees and the average low is around 35. That’s actually better than it is on April 1 (50 and 31, respectively), around the time the regular-season schedule starts. In general: October has the weather you think and wish April had.
But … wasn’t it brutally cold for a lot of early-season Twins games this year? (Yes). And wouldn’t the World Series almost certainly be played at night as temperatures were closer to the low mark than the high one? (Yes). So isn’t there a chance it might snow and/or be really cold? (Yes).
*The Twins look like they’re building a team — plus one or two top-level starting pitchers — that could finally play deep into October again.
I guess we just have to file all this under “good problem to have” and/or “cross that bridge when we get there and hope for the best.”
Next Saturday looks pretty nice …