As I sit inside watching the boys of summer play on my TV, I glance at the outdoor thermometer, 39 degrees, it may look like spring at Target Field, but here in central Minnesota, baseball seems like it is weeks away. For many high school players, this is the most frustrating time of the season. After sitting through team meetings and doing endless running drills inside, the one thing every player wants is to do is just play the game. So how do players and coaches stay on top of things with no place to play? They do a lot of improvising.
As Mother Nature takes its sweet time getting here, many teams are still working out. Teams have traded in the outdoor L nets for a pitching machine, and the real grass outside for a hard gym floor. Many teams have decided to go to the one place where you can play baseball all season long, the Metrodome. As many teams flock to the twin cities to get any sort of scrimmage in before the season starts, some teams are stuck inside, waiting.
Some teams have been fortunate enough to reserve a spot in the former Minnesota Twins stadium, although it's not the easiest of circumstances. The Metrodome has been one of the busiest places in the state over the past 2 weeks, hosting games for 20 hours a day! In fact last week St Thomas academy played an exhibition game at 4am, yes 4am, not 4pm. Another deciding factor is the price, it costs teams up to $500 just to play one game in the dome. Many of the teams in the MSC will not be making the long trip to the cities for that reason alone. Even St Cloud State has moved its weekend series with Minot State to Minnetonka's Veteran's Field, which has outdoor turf.
One other problem that many teams around the state are gearing up for will be happening next season when the Metrodome will be torn down because of the new Vikings stadium. If we see another long winter next year you could see many teams not start the season until late April, causing a much more condensed schedule. Either way, one thing is for certain, the players, the coaches, and the fans, just want baseball back.