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Minnesota Twins Begin Target Field Era at Near Record Pace

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Twins' 14-8 start and 'projected' 103-59 finish are tied for second best for first seasons with a new ball park among MLB teams

Although the latest stadium buzz around the Twin Cities and the State Capitol concerns rejuvenated speculation about a new Vikings Stadium, the Minnesota Twins have ushered in the Target Field era thus far in near-historic fashion.

A Smart Politics analysis of historic Major League Baseball (MLB) statistics finds the Twins 14-8 start to be tied for the second best start among MLB teams after moving into their current stadiums.

Only the St. Louis Cardinals' 15-7 start to the 2006 year after the opening of Busch Stadium bests the Twins' record after 22 games.

Three other teams began the season with new stadiums at 14-8: the Boston Red Sox after moving into Fenway Park in 1912, the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962 after moving into Dodger Stadium, and the 1992 Baltimore Orioles after moving into Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Best Start After 22 Games in New Major League Baseball Stadiums

Team
Stadium
Year
Start
Pct.
St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium
2006
15-7
.682
Minnesota Twins
Target Field
2010
14-8
.636
Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park
1912
14-8
.636
Baltimore Orioles
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
1992
14-8
.636
Los Angeles Dodgers
Dodger Stadium
1962
14-8
.636
San Diego Padres
Petco Park
2004
13-9
.591
Cleveland Indians
Progressive Field
1994
13-9
.591
Kansas City Royals
Kauffman Stadium
1973
13-9
.591
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Angel Stadium of Anaheim
1966
13-9
.591
New York Yankees
Yankee Stadium
2009
12-10
.545
Atlanta Braves
Turner Field
1996
12-10
.545
Chicago White Sox
U.S. Cellular Field
1991
12-10
.545
Milwaukee Brewers
Miller Park
2001
11-11
.500
San Francisco Giants
AT&T Park
2000
10-12
.455
Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field
1999
10-12
.455
Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park
2004
10-12
.455
Texas Rangers
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
1994
10-12
.455
New York Mets
Citi Field
2009
10-12
.455
Toronto Blue Jays
Rogers Centre
1989
9-13
.409
Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park
2001
9-13
.409
Houston Astros
Minute Maid Park
2000
9-13
.409
Chicago Cubs
Wrigley Field
1914
8-13-1
.386
Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ball Park
2003
8-14
.364
Washington Nationals
Nationals Park
2008
7-15
.318
Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park
2000
5-17
.227
Note: data for current MLB franchises only, playing in the first season of their current ballpark. Excludes the Florida Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays, who moved into their current stadiums as expansion teams. Also excludes the Oakland Athletics, who play in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which was built in 1966, but the Athletics franchise did not move to Oakland (from Kansas City) until 1968. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

New stadiums, such as the partially publicly funded Target Field, are proposed not so much to give the team an advantage per se during its 81 home games played at the stadium, but to generate more revenue that can be spent on the players and facilities, to make the team better overall (e.g. Joe Mauer's $184 million 8-year contract extension signed in 2010).

While the season is just one-month old, the Twins' winning percentage of .636 means they are on pace for a 103-59 record, which would be tied for the second best record during the first season MLB teams moved into their current stadiums.

Only the 1912 Boston Red Sox's .691 winning percentage (105-47) would exceed the Twins' projected pace. The 2009 New York Yankees also ended up with a .636 winning percentage in the inaugural season of the new Yankee Stadium.

The worst record in a new stadium among the league's current teams is the Washington National's 2008 campaign, during which they notched a .366 winning percentage (59-102).

Minnesota is currently 6-3 at home and 8-5 on the road.

Of course, the Twins' 2010 team has the advantage of coming off an AL-Central winning season in 2009, in which they won 87 games, losing 76 (.534).

Even still, if the Twins' winning percentage should play out at .636 this year, their +.102 change in winning percentage from 2009 to 2010, would be the fifth best turnaround among MLB teams for the first year in their current stadiums.

The Twins trail only the 1912 Boston Red Sox (+.181), the 2004 San Diego Padres (+.142), the 1992 Baltimore Orioles (+.135), and the 1994 Cleveland Indians (+.115).

Eleven teams have fared poorer in the first season of their new stadium compared to the previous year, with the 2000 Houston Astros (-.155) and the 2009 New York Mets (-.117) faring the worst.

Change in Winning Percentage in First Season of New Baseball Stadium

Team
Year
%
Previous
Change
Boston Red Sox
1912
.691
.510
.181
San Diego Padres
2004
.537
.395
.142
Baltimore Orioles
1992
.549
.414
.135
Cleveland Indians
1994
.584
.469
.115
Minnesota Twins
2010
.636
.534
.102
New York Yankees
2009
.636
.549
.087
San Francisco Giants
2000
.599
.531
.068
Detroit Tigers
2000
.488
.429
.059
Kansas City Royals
1973
.543
.494
.049
Los Angeles Dodgers
1962
.618
.578
.040
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
1966
.494
.463
.031
Seattle Mariners
1999
.488
.472
.016
Toronto Blue Jays
1989
.549
.537
.012
Philadelphia Phillies
2004
.531
.531
.000
Milwaukee Brewers
2001
.420
.451
-.031
Atlanta Braves
1996
.593
.625
-.032
Chicago White Sox
1991
.537
.580
-.043
Pittsburgh Pirates
2001
.383
.426
-.043
Cincinnati Reds
2003
.426
.481
-.055
Chicago Cubs
1914
.506
.575
-.069
Texas Rangers
1994
.456
.531
-.075
Washington Nationals
2008
.366
.451
-.085
St. Louis Cardinals
2006
.516
.617
-.101
New York Mets
2009
.432
.549
-.117
Houston Astros
2000
.444
.599
-.155
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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