Twins Fans Welcomed Back to Target Field?
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsAfter a long and arduous battle over financials and restart principles leading up to Opening Day, we’ve finally got a level of consistency and schedule from Major League Baseball. Despite the best efforts of the Miami Marlins attempting to bring the league to its knees, virtually every other team has navigated what can be described as a new normal.
While the effects of this global pandemic rage on in the world around us, the goal is still returning to a greater sense of normalcy sooner rather than later. Although not a part of MLB, the St. Paul Saints are taking the next step in their similar goals. After having played their season in the hub city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota to this point, they’ll return home to CHS Field on August 4th and fans will be in the ballpark. Their next-door neighbors may not be long behind them.
KSTP’s Darren Wolfson noted on his latest version of The Scoop podcast that the Twins are loosely targeting August 14th as a date of return for fans in a limited capacity. Minnesota is currently scheduled to return home against the Kansas City Royals on that date, and they’d be 19 games into their 60-game schedule by that point.
Obviously, and as Wolfson also noted on Twitter, any return of fans would be subject to MLB approval. Currently the Twins are utilizing the concourses and suites as additional space to distance themselves while working out and getting ready for game time. While fans would be undoubtedly distanced throughout the ballpark, their presence would cannibalize some of the space presently helping the big leaguers work.
As has been the case from the outset of the restart, MLB ownership is looking for additional revenue streams as often and as quickly as possible. Despite the notion that owning a franchise “isn’t very profitable” the more likely reality is that revenues, while still present, aren’t in the stratospheric levels this season. Owners are looking to drive them back up any way they can, and that certainly includes the introduction of a 16-team Postseason format.
There’s a handful of different realities that could be in play regarding fans craving baseball action in 2020. Wolfson noted that the Twins home opener drew record numbers on Fox Sports North, and with fans all confined to their couches that makes a good deal of sense. It’s a bit unfortunate that MLB spent so much time hashing out labor disputes during the restart and failed to find ways to draw in new fans. The return of sports was always bound to be well received but converting those from other programming or holding onto casual onlookers while other leagues now restart, should have always been the goal.
We’re not close to out of the woods when it comes to the impact felt from COVID-19. Ultimately it will be the progress that we make on that end allowing Dave St. Peter and the Minnesota Twins to bring Twins Territory back home. The wheels are in motion though, and if we can all continue to do our part, maybe MLB will grant us an opportunity for overpriced beer and a beautiful skyline this summer after all.
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