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Minnesota Twins Notch 5th Best Home Record for New MLB Stadiums in Modern Era

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While the ultimate success or failure of the Minnesota Twins' first season at Target Field will be determined in the coming days in the playoffs, ownership - and those who backed the publicly funded stadium - can point to some short-term success, according to at least one metric.

A Smart Politics analysis of Major League Baseball team records finds that the Twins' 53-28 record (.654) at home during the 2010 season is the fifth best home winning percentage among the 20 MLB franchises who have opened up new stadiums over the past 21 years.

Despite sputtering to the finish, losing three of four to Toronto in the final homestand of the season, only four other teams have fared better in their first season in a new stadium in the modern era.

The New York Yankees lead the way with a 57-24 record (.704) during their 2009 campaign in the new Yankee Stadium, followed by the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in 1996 (56-25; .691), the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field during the strike-shortened 1994 season (35-16; .686), and the San Francisco Giants at Pacific Bell Park in 2000 (55-26; .679).

The Twins' stellar home record in 2010 helped them notch the second best record among American League division winners, and thus earn home-field advantage during the division playoffs that begin on Wednesday (hosting the AL Wild Card, the New York Yankees).

Best Home Record in First Year of New MLB Stadium, 1989-2010

Rank
Team
Field
Year
Record
%
1
New York Yankees
Yankee Stadium
2009
57-24
.704
2
Atlanta Braves
Turner Field
1996
56-25
.691
3
Cleveland Indians
Jacobs Field
1994
35-16
.686
4
San Francisco Giants
Pacific Bell Park
2000
55-26
.679
5
Minnesota Twins
Target Field
2010
53-28
.654
6
St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium
2006
49-31
.613
7
Chicago White Sox
Comiskey Park
1991
46-35
.568
7
Toronto Blue Jays
SkyDome
1989
46-35
.568
9
Detroit Tigers
Comerica Park
2000
43-38
.531
9
Seattle Mariners
Safeco Field
1999
43-38
.531
9
Baltimore Orioles
Camden Yards
1992
43-38
.531
12
San Diego Padres
Petco Park
2004
42-39
.519
12
Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park
2004
42-39
.519
14
New York Mets
Citi Field
2009
41-40
.506
15
Texas Rangers
The Ballpark in Arlington
1994
31-32
.492
16
Houston Astros
Enron Field
2000
39-42
.481
17
Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park
2001
38-43
.469
18
Milwaukee Brewers
Miller Park
2001
36-45
.444
19
Cincinnati Reds
Great American Ball Park
2003
35-46
.432
20
Washington Nationals
Nationals Park
2008
34-46
.425
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

A deeper look into the data, however, shows that while the Twins performed well above average in terms of wins and losses compared to other teams on their new home turf (ahem, grass), they only performed slightly better than average when measuring the year-to-year improvement from the previous season.

Minnesota was already a playoff-bound division winner after the 2009 campaign, notching a 49-33 home record, or a .598 winning percentage, so the pieces were already in place for a strong team in 2010.

Overall, the Twins improved by +0.056 percentage points at home from 2009 to 2010, which is good for 8th best among the 20 teams with new stadiums since the late 1980s.

The best year-to-year home record turnaround during this span came from the Baltimore Orioles, improving by 10 games and +.124 percentage points from 1991 (33-48; .407) to their first year at Camden Yards in 1992 (43-38; .531).

Also notching better year-to-year turnarounds in the first year of their new stadiums than the 2010 Twins are the 1994 Cleveland Indians (+.118), the 2009 New York Yankees (+.111), the 2004 San Diego Padres (+.087), the 1996 Atlanta Braves (+.080), the 2000 San Francisco Giants (+.074), and the 2000 Detroit Tigers (+.062).

Still, a new stadium does not guarantee instant success or improvement, as demonstrated by the fact that 9 out of 20 teams actually took a step back during their inaugural campaign in their new stadium. This includes seven teams that had winning home records during the previous year - the last in their old stadium.

Biggest Improvement in New MLB Stadium from Previous Year, 1989-2010

Rank
Team
Previous
%
Year 1
%
Change
1
Baltimore Orioles
33-48
.407
43-38
.531
+.124
2
Cleveland Indians
46-35
.568
35-16
.686
+.118
3
New York Yankees
48-33
.593
57-24
.704
+.111
4
San Diego Padres
35-46
.432
42-39
.519
+.087
5
Atlanta Braves
44-28
.611
56-25
.691
+.080
6
San Francisco Giants
49-32
.605
55-26
.679
+.074
7
Detroit Tigers
38-43
.469
43-38
.531
+.062
8
Minnesota Twins
49-33
.598
53-28
.654
+.056
9
Seattle Mariners
42-39
.519
43-38
.531
+.012
9
Pittsburgh Pirates
37-44
.457
38-43
.469
+.012
9
Toronto Blue Jays
45-36
.556
46-35
.568
+.012
12
St. Louis Cardinals
50-31
.617
49-31
.613
-.004
13
Cincinnati Reds
38-43
.469
35-46
.432
-.037
14
Chicago White Sox
49-31
.613
46-35
.568
-.045
15
Washington Nationals
40-41
.494
34-46
.425
-.069
16
Milwaukee Brewers
42-39
.519
36-45
.444
-.075
17
Philadelphia Phillies
49-32
.605
42-39
.519
-.086
18
New York Mets
48-33
.593
41-40
.506
-.087
19
Texas Rangers
50-31
.617
31-32
.492
-.125
20
Houston Astros
50-32
.610
39-42
.481
-.129
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Of course, there are other measures of success for the business of sports franchises, such as attendance.

On this metric, the season was an unquestionable success for the Twins, with over 800,000 more fans in attendance this season compared to 2009. Overall, attendance was up 33.4 percent at Target Field from the 2009 final season at the Metrodome.

Drawing 3.2 million fans to Target Field in 2010 made the Twins the third best among the 14 American League teams, up from a fifth place showing for the Twins in 2009 (2.4 million).

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1 Comment


  • Politics aside, maybe the Boston Red Sox should construct a new stadium to see if that can get them back into the playoffs. Thanks for the good article Eric, and I will be rooting for the Twins to beat the Yankees.

  • Leave a comment


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