Fans Await Twins Home Opener

Fans are anxiously awaiting games at Target Field. The home opener Thursday will invite fans back to the ballpark for the first time in more than a year (4:39) WCCO 4 Saturday Morning - April 3, 2021

Video Transcript

- Game 1 of the 2021 season didn't turn out the way the Twins and fans had hoped for. Minnesota lost to Milwaukee in extra innings 6 to 5 on Thursday. But there are still five more games on the road, starting tonight at 6:10, before the team heads to Target Field, and fans are anxiously awaiting games here at home. The home opener Thursday will invite fans back to the ballpark for the first time in more than a year. We spoke with the Twins president and CEO about that and this upcoming season.

DAVE ST. PETER: [INAUDIBLE] we couldn't be more excited to have the home opener scheduled here for Thursday. You know, it's-- it's special every year, but especially this year, when we have the opportunity to return fans. 10,000 fans will be in the ballpark on Thursday, and I know that will be emotional for them. It will be emotional for our players and for our staff. And hopefully a sign of what will be a more normal 2021, working toward hopefully full capacity over the course of the summer, as we work to try to win a third consecutive American League Central Division title.

- Sure. I know having fans in the stands is-- is really going to be something for-- for everyone. It seems like excitement is building even in the community, whether people were able to snag a ticket to the home opener or not.

DAVE ST. PETER: Yeah. Well, there's no doubt about it. I think that, you know, there's a lot of anticipation for this team. I think people are excited about Twins baseball. I think that during COVID, I think we learned those things that we maybe took for granted. And just the chance to get outside and go down to a lovely evening at Target Field or an afternoon game, whatever it might be, I think those are things that people are clamoring to do. Our season ticket holders have been incredibly patient. So there's a lot of, I think, pent-up excitement for sports in our community, and certainly the Twins are seeing that across all metrics. And we can't wait to get our home schedule started here this week.

- Definitely. So spring training has wrapped up. How is the team looking as we start the season?

DAVE ST. PETER: Yeah, we've had a good spring. You know, I think every year you go to spring training, particularly when you have a pretty veteran team like we have, you really hope for good weather so you get your work in, and you hope for good health. And generally speaking, we've had both of those.

And our lineup is pretty set. You know, we obviously know what we have in terms of a core group of players here who've had a lot of success, and we like our chances to compete not just for the American League Central Division title but hopefully put us in a position to finally do some damage in the postseason. That's the goal, and certainly that's what we're focused on.

- Hey, we're all rooting for that too. What kind of depth does the team have this year? Do you think that will be a strength this season?

DAVE ST. PETER: Yeah, I do think depth will be a strength, particularly in the pitching side. You know, last year was such a short season, and so many of our pitchers were unable to throw as many innings as they normally would. And I think it's going to be really a difficult scenario for a lot of clubs to see those pitchers rise back to those levels that say they threw in 2019.

So we've added a lot of starting pitching depth. We obviously have a lot of bullpen depth. And then in terms of our position players, we're uniquely situated there with a lot of players that can play multiple positions, which is something Rocco Baldelli I think does masterfully in terms of managing our lineup. So we feel like we're really in a good spot, and we can't wait to get-- to get rolling.

- Anyone we should be keeping our eyes on this season?

DAVE ST. PETER: Well, I mean, I think that with our team there's always-- there's always names. I mean, I think Byron Buxton is a guy that if we can keep him healthy has a chance to be a flat out superstar and his emergence I think is going to be important.

You know, Josh Donaldson. We signed him a year ago, but none of our fans got a chance to come out and watch him play in person. He's had a fabulous spring, and Josh Donaldson when healthy is a perennial MVP candidate. So you know, obviously I have to mention Nelson Cruz, who's the MVP of our team and just does magical things year after year.

So we have a lot of star power on our team. We have a good group of young players that are emerging. Obviously we have great starting pitching, with Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios leading that. So there's no shortage of guys I think that you're going to want to watch over the course of the 2021 season.

- And the Twins are taking COVID precautions, like having fans fill out a health questionnaire before entering Target Field, mask wearing, and contactless ordering when you get food and drinks. There are still some single-game tickets available for games. Currently, sales are for games through May 6. You can find more information at wcco.com/links.