With the wicked spring weather Minnesota and much of the country is experiencing this year, I’m seeing a lot of people upset and complaining about the fact that Target Field was build without a retractable roof. From day one, I was against a retractable roof and even with the spate of postponed games and games played in sub-40 degree temperatures, I stand behind my initial opinion. Here’s why.
Retractable roofs are ugly. Target Field is a beautiful stadium offering great views of Downtown Minneapolis. A retractable roof would either block much of the view of downtown or the view of the sky for much of the stadium. On a beautiful sunny summer Minneapolis day, the last thing you want is a obstructed view of your surroundings. Minnesotans love summer more than people anywhere else I’ve ever been. When it’s beautiful out, we want to be outside in the sun. Most of us are willing to suffer through a few cold games or lose a couple to weather to maximize the enjoyment we can get out of the stadium the majority of the season. And a retractable roof looks ugly from outside the stadium too. A stadium can be a signature piece of architecture for a city, or it can be an eyesore. Target Field is a beautiful stadium inside and out and unlike the Metrodome, adds to the overall beauty of Minneapolis.
Retractable roofs tend to lead to more games being played under the roof than necessary. Because they take time to open and close, teams with them often err on the side of caution and close the roof at first sign of inclement weather.
Third, beyond just the cost of building a retractable roof, there are substantial costs in maintaining a machine of that size to keep it in good working order. And they do break down. A poorly designed or maintained retractable roof can significantly shorten the usable life of a stadium. If Target Field is to become an iconic stadium with a long life, leaving the retractable roof off was almost essential.
That’s just my take anyways. I love Target Field and wouldn’t feel the same way if it had a retractable roof.