Some blamed it on an early start to the season. Others pointed to global warming.

Whatever the reason, fans turning out for the unusually chilly Twins home opener Thursday afternoon were gamely wearing layers and carrying blankets at Target Field as they waited for the home team to take the field against the Seattle Mariners.

Kathy Malaske, 68, of Minneapolis, said she wore a fur-lined hat to a Twins’ game in mid-April a couple of years ago. She hauled it out again for Thursday’s game.

“If you have something on your head, you’ll stay warm,” Malaske said. “And warm socks too! Because there’s nothing worse than standing and your feet get cold.”

Malaske and her husband, Tom, 62, gave out plenty of free advice on bundling up to shivering out-of-towners a couple of months ago as Super Bowl volunteers. On Thursday both were wearing their blue volunteer coats, and Tom had on a Twins cap covered with 48 lapel pins from other ballparks they’ve visited around the country. A lot of them are nice, he said, but Target Field was “the best of the best.”

The Malaskes have been to every Opening Day at Target Field since it opened in 2010. The first opener was “a perfect day,” Kathy said, but she added that this year’s chill was no big deal for folks from the so-called Bold North.

“Minnesotans can handle anything,” she said.

Robin Holscher, 58, of Minneapolis, agreed. She watched the Twins play a couple games in Fort Myers, Fla., during spring training, and has been to nearly every opener, she said. She was afraid she would miss this year’s game because she was in Florida and only just realized that the regular season began March 29.

Holscher said it was hard to fly from balmy Fort Myers to snowbound Minneapolis, but she said it would have no effect on the Twins. After all, she said, they beat the Pirates Wednesday night during a Pittsburgh snowstorm. It’s just a matter of getting in the right mind-set, she said.

“They gotta get the Yankees off their back, too,” Holscher said. “They’re not going to be perfect all the time, but [the Twins] are just as good.”

Cheryl McCoy, 54, of Stillwater, was bundled up along with her young grandson. She’s been to almost every Opening Day at Target Field with her daughter, who couldn’t make this one because she’s studying in Mexico.

“We got our June 1st game prepared, though,” she said.

While McCoy couldn’t remember a chillier opener, she recalled a game when it was so cold she was able to get better seats closer to the field.

“And free hot cocoa,” she said.


Emily Allen is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.