Cold open: Festivities frigid at Target Field
Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. Men's Curling team throws out first pitch at home opener
MINNEAPOLIS -- It took an entire community to get Target Field ready to host a baseball game in the days leading up to Thursday, which marked one of the most frigid home openers in franchise history.
"I have to give kudos to everybody who worked pregame to get that field ready after what's been happening in the Twin Cities," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was pretty impressive. We appreciate the grounds crew and the front office for helping out."
Minnesota defeated Seattle, 4-2, with the temperature reading 39 degrees at first pitch. It may not have been the coldest home opener in franchise history -- that honor still belongs to the 1962 Twins, who played in 34-degree weather at the Met Stadium in mid-April -- but it still required some getting used to.
"I was surprised -- I thought it was gonna be a little colder today, to be honest with you," James Dozier said before the game. "It is what it is, though. It's not the warmest, but we've gotta play. Both teams have to take the field, right?"
Dozier joked that the best way to avoid the effects of the cold is to avoid long innings.
"You just have to make sure you keep your hands warm out there -- everything else will be fine."
One group that wasn't deterred by the weather was the Olympic gold medal-winning U.S. Men's Curling team, on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Twins and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
Tyler George, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, Joe Polo and John Shuster were part of the first U.S. team to capture the gold medal in the event during the Winter Olympics. All but Hamilton -- who was born in Wisconsin and cheered for the Brewers as a kid -- were born in Minnesota and grew up as Twins fans.
"The days that I looked forward to most as a kid were the ones that we spent driving down to the Twins games," Shuster said. "Literally, one of the more memorable moments of my life was when Kirby Puckett hit the walk-off home run in Game 6 of the World Series, and then we had tickets to Game 7."
Molitor was given the chance to wear one of the gold medals before first pitch, and he and Minnesota's players had a chance to talk with the Olympians.
"It was great to have those guys here," Molitor said. "They were happy to be here. I'd never had a chance to even hold a gold medal, let alone put one around my neck, so that was kind of fun."