Following Monday afternoon’s come-from-behind victory over the Detroit Tigers, the Minnesota Twins improved to 85-52 on the season. At the friendly confines of Target Field, the team is a healthy 39-29. Opposing ballparks have been where the Twins have done their real damage this year, however, going 46-23 (.667 WP). In other words, this ‘19 squad has won a remarkable two out of every three road ballgames.
Growing up in the Metrodome Era of Twins baseball, this is a foreign concept to me. Whether it was Homer Hankies or the Teflon-white roof and large banks of lights (sometimes even effecting our guys), the Twins seemed to have an ENORMOUS Dome-field advantage.
This got me thinking about the history of the Twins’ home/road splits in the three different parks they have called home thus far. I ran some numbers and found some interesting results...
From 1961-1981, the Twins resided at Bloomington’s Metropolitan Stadium (currently the site of the Mall of America). In those seasons, they compiled a 910-759 (.545) home record while going 809-853 (.487) on the road. In their AL Championship 1965 campaign, they finished a rather unique 51-30 both home and away. Their best home record in that span was 57-24 in 1969 (compared to 40-41 elsewhere).
Next up was of course the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from 1982-2009. On that hallowed ground (opinions may vary regarding that statement), the Twins went 1,211-1,028 (.541) versus 982-1,244 (.441) away from it. In 1987 (a pretty good year, you may recall), the Twins went an insane 56-25 at the Homer Dome and 29-52 scattered throughout the rest of the AL. The ‘91, ‘02, ‘06, & ‘08 seasons also saw 50+ home victories within them.
At first, I was surprised that the Twins’ home winning percentage was actually better at the Old Met than at the Dome. However, the different between home/road victories was much wider in the Dome years. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the 60s/70s Twins were either “solid” or “about average”, while the 80s-00s Twins were simply “really good” or “really bad”.
2010 brought the team to its current digs (Target Field), where the Twins have played to the tune of 389-408 (.488) against 360-438 (.451) elsewhere. The only season to top 50 home wins? The inaugural one, also going 41-40 on the road that season. In what could perhaps be considered a bit of a precursor to this year, the 2017 club went 41-40 sleeping in their own beds and 44-37 snoozing in other luxury hotel bunks.
While the Black Hole years of 2011-2014 (with 2016’s Total System Failure thrown in for good measure) certainly don’t help the home numbers, even then the statistical home field advantage for the Twins has been much lower here than at the previous two ball yards.
What does this all mean for the current iteration of the Twins? I’m not sure...so I’ll let you decide:
Going into an MLB postseason, would you rather...
This poll is closed
Have a team that dominates at home but is just average (if not a little below) on the road?
Have a team that is league-average at home but almost historically good away from its natural domicile?
All in all, the road warrior mentality does give me a bit of confidence knowing that whether the Twins open a potential postseason run in New York or Houston, the locale likely won’t be the deciding factor of those first two ALDS contests.