04-15-2012, 08:58 PM #1
Wind patterns at Target Field responsible for power outage
This past offseason, Baseball America rated Target Field as one of the worst venues for left handed power hitters. The Pioneer Press's Ben Goessling sat down with MPR's chief meteorologist, Paul Huttner, who provided some interesting nuggets and offered some scientific insight as to why Joe Mauer can't hit home runs anymore (in a roundabout way):
The prevailing wind in Minnesota during the summer comes from the southeast, meaning the wind is blowing in from right field, Minnesota Public Radio chief meteorologist Paul Huttner said. That also means the elements are working against hitters in what should be the most offense-friendly months of the year.Right field at the ballpark opens to Target Plaza, giving southeast winds a better chance to affect balls hit in that direction."When it's warm, and the ball wants to carry, the winds are fighting that, and they're blowing through that gap in right," Huttner said. "It boils down to the way the park is laid out. The wind and weather is almost always working against the ball traveling out of Target Field."
Homers were tougher to hit on days with southeast winds than in all but one other wind condition: the teeth-chattering winds that blow from the north early and late in the season.
And a southeast wind was the second-most common condition in the first two seasons at Target Field, meaning on many days, the elements are working against hitters - especially those who are left-handed.
Even though the ball leaves the yard more frequently with northwest winds - the most common wind in spring and fall - Huttner theorizes that the design of Target Field knocks down some would-be homers in that scenario, too. As an air current approaches Target Field from behind third base, it must climb the stadium structure and the canopy stretching over the infield seats. Once the wind has entered the stadium, it spins back downward, creating a "rotor" that can drag some balls toward the grass before they reach the stands.