I know it's four years or so down the road, but the prospect of a new stadium coming to Minneapolis is very exciting. Sometimes it just doesn't feel like baseball when you're playing inside a dome. You miss the sunshine, the breeze and the feel of the outside air.
I know a lot of people worked very hard on bringing this new stadium to light, and they never gave up on the idea. It didn't look like it was going to happen in the early going, but it sure is nice to see things finally falling into place.
Aside from the better atmosphere it will create, it lets the people of Minnesota know that this franchise is going to be here for a long time.
The new site will be about three minutes from the Metrodome. It's a nice area. There's a lot of stuff for the fans after the game. It should be good for the restaurants and bars around the area as well.
Hopefully we can keep this core group of guys together for the opening of the new stadium in 2010. We have a really good mix of young guys. Everyone should be in their prime when the new stadium opens. Most of us came up through the Minor Leagues together. We don't bring in a lot of outside guys like other teams do.
As for whether the new park will be a hitters' park or not, I think they're talking about making it similar to Safeco Field in Seattle. I would consider that more of a pitchers' park. I'd rather play fair than have a hitters' park, though. It's a long way off, so I haven't really considered that aspect very much.
The thing I will miss the most about the Metrodome is that it keeps us from playing in snow and frigid weather in April sometimes. Other than that, I'm not too big a fan of the Metrodome.
The weather here in Minnesota can be weird. It might be 70 degrees one day in April and the next it's 30 degrees. Who knows, it might be the same way in May, too. I don't think a 10-game, West Coast road trip to start the year would be such a bad thing. But baseball was meant to be played outside, so you just have to deal with what you have.
First baseman Justin Morneau enjoyed not only a breakout season in 2006 but also an MVP year with 34 home runs, 129 RBIs and a .321 batting average.
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