Dave Fuentes arrived from, Merced, Calif., late last week, ready to cheer on his son, pitcher Brian Fuentes, as the Twins make their playoff run. He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts, perfect garb for when he left home but, he soon realized, perhaps not quite as suitable for Minnesota in the fall.
"Now I'm ready," he said with a laugh, after dressing up in layers at the Clubhouse, the main pro shop at the Twins stadium.
The Twins are ready as well for whatever curve ball Mother Nature throws their way.
On Wednesday, the team hosts its first outdoor playoff game since 1970 with coffee, hot chocolate and soup on standby for chilly fall evenings. The stadium's pro shops are stocked with parkas, blankets, hats and gloves.
But fans who get caught without the right gear when the temps drop will pay a price: A woman's parka will set a cold fan back $84, the warmest men's jacket at the shop, called the Dugout, $149. A blanket is $45; stocking caps range from $18 to $24; gloves and scarves go for $18.
The team can react quickly to changing temperatures, said Pete Spike, general manager of concessions. That's important because in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the game schedules are in flux depending on what teams are playing in which time zones.
If the Twins have a day game on a warm afternoon, Spike will send out the ice cream kiosks.
But if they end up with a night game amid quickly dropping temperatures, he'll switch out espresso carts for the ice cream.
"We're here for the long run," he said of the playoff schedule, which has the American League champion hosting the fifth game of the World Series on Nov. 1.
While the souvenir shops will have cold-weather gear on hand for fans who have forgotten what it's like to watch the Twins host an outdoor playoff game, much of the clothing is expected to be bought for souvenir purposes rather than emergency warmth. The shirts are emblazoned with designations of the playoffs or the Twins' division championship.
Cold-weather clothes also were available when the stadium opened in April, but the fans dressed for the weather.
"These are Minnesotans," team spokesman Kevin Smith said. "They know about being outdoors. They come ready."
There will be other ways to take off the chill, including a gas fire pit on the Budweiser Roof Deck located above the left field corner.
"We have radiant heaters running from foul pole to foul pole in the main concourse," said Smith. "And there are several indoor places to eat, including Hrbek's Restaurant and the Metropolitan Club," the latter being for season-ticket holders.
Spike said that the concession stands also will be making more hot foods, although he expects that the standards -- peanuts and popcorn -- will remain popular.
And how about that other baseball park favorite, beer? Don't worry; it will be available. While hot weather drives up beer sales, cold weather doesn't have nearly the same corresponding negative effect, he said.
That's because baseball fans love a tall, cold one, even if they can't hold it without putting on mittens -- which, by the way, also will be for sale.
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392