Tomorrow marks the first Opening Day at Target Field since the stadium opened for business in 2010. The first Opening Day at a new stadium has not been kind to the franchise over the past half century.
The Minneapolis Millers, then an affiliate of the New York Giants, played the first baseball game at Metropolitan Stadium in 1956, and the Twins came to town in 1961. Three seasons later, The Met hosted the first MLB Opening Day in Minnesota.
The Twins lost 5-4 to Cleveland. In his last full season with the Indians, Mudcat Grant pitched all nine innings to pick up the win over Camilo Pascual. First baseman Vic Power hit a solo shot in the eighth, and wouldn’t hit another until May 29. Harmon Killebrew went 1-4 and hit into a double play in his penultimate season as an outfielder.
Nearly 30 years later, in 1982, the Twins were at home for Opening Day in their first season in the Metrodome. Jim Eisenreich led off, and Kent Hrbek and Gary Gaetti batted behind cleanup hitter Roy Smalley. Gaetti went 4-4 with a pair of home runs, and nearly had a third inside the park, but was thrown out at home. Still, the Twins lost 11-7 to the Mariners.
So now we have the first Target Field Opening Day. The Tigers are going to be good again, and the Twins are rebuilding. In all likelihood, the Twins record in their stadium maiden Opening Days is going to 0-3.