Snowballs replace baseballs at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS — Maybe the Twins and Mets can just have a snowball fight this weekend.
Crews have been working since early Thursday morning at Target Field to clear the several inches of snow that fell in the Twin Cities area overnight and into the afternoon. Despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions a week and a half into April, the Twins’ front office remains hopeful that all three games against New York will be able to be held at Target Field this weekend.
“As of right now, we plan to play,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said Thursday. “There’s a potential for some late flurries tonight. There’s potential for some light flurries tomorrow. Certainly that’s going to play into the ultimate decision as to whether we play or not tomorrow night. If we get a lot more snow, I think it becomes much less likely.”
St. Peter said crews of Twins employees, ballpark operations partners and an outside firm have collaborated to remove the snow from the seating bowl of Target Field, which holds over 39,000 fans. A combination of shovels and hot water has been used in the seating bowl area, and an underground heating system set at 70 degrees has helped melt the snow on the playing surface.
Still, it could be a long night for the snow removal crews, as well as groundskeeper Larry DiVito and his staff, if more snow falls Thursday night and into Friday. A total of 6-8 inches  is expected from the storm that has dropped massive amounts of rain and snow from the Midwest to the Southeast this week. Five inches had fallen by Thursday afternoon.
“Those crews will remain on site into the night and overnight, if necessary, continuing to remove any additional snow that we could get between now and tomorrow morning,” St. Peter said. “A large focus of course is on the playing field and ensuring that that is major league-ready for tomorrow. But in addition to that, probably even more people are focused on the seating bowl and trying to remove the snow that we’ve gotten to date.”
Complicating this weekend’s series and any potential makeup games is the fact that this is the only time the Mets are scheduled to visit Target Field this year. This weekend marks the first interleague series for the Twins, who are 4-5 after being swept in Kansas City this week.
If the Twins were hosting, say, the Royals or the Chicago White Sox or any other American League Central foe this weekend, potential makeup games wouldn’t be as big of a deal since those teams will be back in Minneapolis several times throughout the season. St. Peter said he hopes the Twins will make a decision on any potential postponement by midday Friday. He added that the plan if a postponement takes place is still up in the air.
“That’s unclear. To be honest with you, it’s one of the challenges we deal with based on a 3 o’clock game time on Saturday,” he said. “In addition to that, the forecast for Sunday isn’t real good with a high likelihood of rain. Every effort will be made to play tomorrow.”
During the first three seasons at Target Field since the downtown park opened in 2010, the Twins have been relatively fortunate with weather. Prior to moving to Target Field, Minnesota spent many seasons playing indoors at the Metrodome. There were some who questioned the notion of building an outdoor stadium without a retractable roof in a climate like Minnesota’s, but the good weather has far outweighed the bad.
Few people could have predicted a snowstorm in April, but that’s a testament to the unpredictable Minnesota weather. The Twins are just hoping Thursday’s snow was the last of it.
“Certainly, the weather is going to be challenging. It has been challenging the last few days in a lot of northern and Midwestern markets,” St. Peter said. “I expect that’s going to be the case in others this weekend. We’re not alone in this. We know that. We’ll do the best we can.”

Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.