As an elementary school art student, my go-to drawings or paintings were ballparks.
I’ve always liked triples and inside-the-park home runs, so these fields would always have outfield dimensions entirely in the 400-500 foot range, dimensions which would see the blueprints used for wrapping executives’ lunches today.
But the Twins have played at three parks since taking up residence in Minnesota, and spent many years in Washington at another. Were their dimensions vastly different, or were they practically identical? Let’s take a look.
(NOTES: I could not find dimensions for American League Park or Boundary Field, the first two stadiums the Senators called home. Additionally, I used Clem’s Baseball’s ballpark overlay comparison for dimensions.)
The longtime home of the Washington Senators, Griffith Stadium was laid out within a D.C. street block and so boasted dimensions that nine-year-old me would have been giddy to see baseball played in. The left field fence was 405 feet from home plate, extended straight out to 421 feet in center, then made a sharp zigzag in right-center, creating a farthest point at 457 feet. From there, the fences came sharply in, ending at the right field foul pole 320 feet away. Though inner fences would be built over the years in left field to shorten the home run distance, it never got closer than 350 feet.
The first of two consecutive Twins stadiums built additionally for professional football, the Met was very much a hitter’s park, with the foul lines 345 (left) and 330 (right) feet away. The fences extended straight out from the lines (aside from a slight jut in right), creating power alleys 365 feet from the plate, Center field was also friendly to batters, only 402 feet away, another significant change after the sizable outfield of Griffith Stadium.
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
Famous for its 23-foot wall in right field, the Hefty Bag extended from 327 feet at the foul line past the 367-foot power alley, nearly out to center field. As opposed to Metropolitan Stadium’s angles, the Metrodome’s wall transitioned with round curves, from the 408-foot mark in center to the left-field foul line 343 feet away. The left-field power alley, where there was once Plexiglass atop the wall, sat at 385 feet. But the most advantageous feature for hitters was the white inflatable roof, disguising baseballs in the eyes of fielders.
The Twins’ current facility is recognized as one of the best in baseball. Angular and asymmetrical enough to stand out, with features like the high right field wall and Target Plaza beyond, Target Field reaches out to 339 and 328 feet at the foul lines (left and right), extends to power alleys of 377 and 365 feet, and even angles in center field, from 411 at its deepest point (just left of dead center) to 403 feet (just right).
If the fences were, oh, 50 feet deeper, I’m sure they’d please a younger me. Guess we’ll have to settle for having to please fans all around Minnesota and around baseball. It’s a good trade.