What to expect at the Twins’ home opener on Friday
“The home opener’s always a great day,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
MINNEAPOLIS — Sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s are on tap for Friday when the Twins, one day delayed, open their home schedule at Target Field. Coming off a 4-2 road trip to start the season, the Twins will play host to the 2022 World Series champion Houston Astros with game time set for 3:10 p.m.
“The home opener’s always a great day,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve all been watching the weather, but moving it back to Friday, moving the game back to Friday, I think, is going to be a real good thing for everybody involved and I think it’s going to be a pretty nice day out there.”
Here’s what to expect on Friday:
New at the park
When Twins fans return to the ballpark on Friday, they’ll see a new version of Target Field.
This offseason, the ballpark underwent extensive changes, as the Twins refreshed the stadium to reflect their new branding and increased the size of video boards around the stadium.
Scoreboard 2.0 was a $29.5 million project jointly funded by the Twins and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority’s Ballpark Capital Reserve Fund. The main board is now 76 percent bigger than it was previously and is the sixth largest in the majors.
The auxiliary board is 54 percent larger, and other video displays around the park have been increased, as well.
The Minnie and Paul Celebration sign in center field now reads, “Win! Twins!” across the top and features customizable LED lights. Their handshake is mechanical now, for the first time ever.
In right field, atop the Twins Tower, now sits a baseball medallion — a ball with the TC logo inside of it that lights up.
Also in right field, the Twins are introducing Creator’s Corner presented by U.S. Bank, which will feature Must Be Ruff, Native Roots Trading Post and SJC Body Love, all businesses owned by women or BIPOC community members.
There’s plenty of new food offerings , too, including items from Official Fried Chicken, Union Hmong Kitchen, Waffles & More and Soul Bowl, among other options.
Opening Day festivities
The Twins will host Breakfast on the Plaza from 6 to 9 a.m. which will feature live music, a free meal and giveaways. At 10 a.m., the Twins will unveil their new mural celebrating women in baseball inside the ballpark.
The gates open at 1 p.m., and the first 20,000 fans in the park will receive a giveaway “TC” hat.
Rehabbing Twins starting pitcher Chris Paddack will help open the gates, ushering fans in. Paddack is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and will spend most of his season at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla., but he joined the team in Miami so he could travel with the group and participate in the celebration.
“Anything we can do to get Chris involved and get him around the team and let him have some added fun, we want to do that,” Baldelli said. “… Most of the work that he puts in is in a quiet space or in a training room somewhere or in a weight room. Not that he’s by himself but he is away from all of his teammates, so being able to bring him here is a nice thing.”
Among the other festivities, the national anthem will be sung by a cast member of “Hamilton,” which is currently at the Orpheum Theatre, and it will be accompanied by a flyover.
The ceremonial first pitches will be thrown by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last year/ The actual first pitch will be thrown by Sonny Gray minutes later. Gray will face off against Astros pitcher José Urquidy.
“The excitement and everyone showing up and having a packed ballpark at the beginning of the year and having Sonny Gray on the mound going out there and pitching you hopefully to a win, it’s something that we all look forward to in this game every single season when we show up and it’s one of the special days of the year,” Baldelli said.
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