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Monday, April 12, 2010
Bad breaks follow Red Sox to Target

By Gordon Edes

MINNEAPOLIS -- The golden limestone rock that adorns so many walls -- and the dugout roofs -- of the Twins' Target Field are nearly 500 million years old, at least according to information provided by the occupants of the gorgeous new ballpark.

Hearing that, a visitor from Boston is left to imagine how that fun fact would have been challenged by that noted expert on the prehistoric era, Carl Everett, the dinosaur disbeliever.

There should be little argument, though, that more than enough time had passed -- 29 years -- for baseball to be returned to the great outdoors in this land of 10,000 lakes (including Wobegon), a million snowmobiles, 5,270,000 Joe Mauer fans and one mostly despised dome whose most distinctive feature was known, not fondly, as "The Hefty Bag."

But for all the weird things that occurred in the rectangular edifice known as the Metrodome, a place better suited, football coach Mike Ditka once said, for roller skating ("I hate the place,'' Terry Francona said this past weekend), Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester might be inclined to believe, after its inaugural game, that Target Field will offer the Twins the same kind of home-field advantage its indoor predecessor did.

Terry Francona
A puzzling explanation from plate umpire Jeff Nelson on a pickoff play was part of a frustrating day for Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

There might no longer be fly balls clanking off speakers, popups lost in the greasy gray Teflon roof, ground balls taking weird hops on a variety of unreliable rugs and long balls manipulated by air-conditioning vents that seemed to blow favorably for the home team.

But consider what befell Lester on Monday afternoon in a 5-2 loss to the Twins: