Though Minnesota will take to a renovated Sibert Field this season, John Anderson’s club will still utilize the climate-controlled settings of the Metrodome.
With one of the more demanding pre-conference schedules in recent memory, the Gophers will welcome Indiana State and Texas for weekend series inside the dome. The shared home of the Gophers and NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, former home of MLB’s Minnesota Twins, provides Anderson with scheduling flexibility.
That flexibility’s future is uncertain.
With a new nearly $1 billion multi-purpose stadium on the drafting board, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Vikings and a group of baseball coaches with Anderson at the forefront are at odds with the dimensions of the facility and how it could properly accommodate a baseball field.
A desire for fans of the Vikings to be as close to the action as possible would force a right-field foul line that extends 285 feet from home plate and a right-field power alley 319 feet away. Those dimensions are 20 feet shorter than originally proposed and are too short to in the eyes of several coaches.
“If it comes a point where that field is too small, we’ll probably just end up going south to Missouri and get as many games as we can in the spring,” said Kyle Poock, head coach at Winona State, which plays several doubleheaders at the Metrodome each spring.
The Metrodome has provided a safe haven for dozens of college and high school programs to play games while escaping Minneapolis’ less-than-desired early winter and spring weather. As Anderson’s Gophers played 37 games inside the Metrodome last year, a graphic below shows the obstacles of playing indoor games with the objected dimensions that he says “would compromise the integrity of the game and put the future of indoor baseball in Minnesota in jeopardy.”
The Gophers will open its home schedule with 21 games in the Metrodome before playing its first game at Siebert Field on April 5 against Ohio State. The 21 contests include a homestand of 17 games which begin with a four-game series against Western Michigan Feb. 22-24 and ends with three against Indiana State March 15-17.