Target Field has been breath of fresh air for Twins

This April 12, 2010, file photo shows fans

This April 12, 2010, file photo shows fans at the Minnesota Twins' home opener baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field, in Minneapolis. Last year, the New York Yankees christened their billion-dollar ballpark with a World Series title. This time, the Minnesota Twins are hoping their new downtown home can help supply the same October charm. (Credit: AP)

MINNEAPOLIS - Nick Swisher instantly sized up the major difference between the Twins' first-year ballpark, Target Field, and their old home, the Metrodome, when asked about it last night.

"It's outside," Swisher said.

That it is. But there's more. The Metrodome was a quirky, dark, bubbled-over building. Target Field - site of the first two games of the American League Division Series between the Twins and Yankees - is a bright, lively, open-air baseball palace.

And for all those who worried that outdoor baseball would not work in Minneapolis because of the cold weather in October, consider this:

Today's expected high temperature in Minneapolis: 72.

Today's expected high temperature in New York: 65.

That's not to say it won't feel a little chilly Wednesday night in the late innings of the first outdoor playoff game in the Twin Cities since Game 2 of the 1970 ALCS at Metropolitan Stadium.

"People are concerned with the weather. We don't really worry about that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's cold everywhere else, too. This time of year you start getting a little chilly. That's OK."

If the Twins are going to play deeper into the fall, they will first have to reverse the trend of losing in the ALDS to the Yankees, which they have done in 2003, '04 and '09.

The Yankees were 5-0 at the Metrodome during those series. But the baggy-accented multipurpose stadium was a homer haven, which helped the powerful Yanks. Target Field is most assuredly not a homer haven.

The Twins hit 90 home runs on the road this season. They hit 52 at home. The ballpark yielded 1.43 homers per game, fourth-lowest in baseball.

But the Twins were an AL-best 53-28 at home. That's one reason they drew 3.2 million fans, 800,000 more than in their final season inside.

"This is our ballpark and our fans love it," Gardenhire said. "And we've enjoyed it, so it makes it a lot nicer coming to the ballpark. It's the Twins' fans ballpark and our ballpark and we don't share it with anybody."

The Yankees won two of three in their only visit in May. Swisher and Derek Jeter were the only Yankees to go deep.

"I don't think there's a ballpark in this world that can hold somebody like Alex Rodriguez or Robbie Cano," Swisher said. "We don't worry about that stuff. We don't worry about home runs. We worry about wins and losses."

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