MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The grass in Minnesota only recently peeked out from underneath the white blanket. Blooming and growing usually comes much later around here.
Except for Larry DiVito's lawn.
The Minnesota Twins head groundskeeper has again helped guide the grass at Target Field out of hibernation, and with the home opener a week away the ballpark was almost in playing shape despite another delayed spring. Even with the historically harsh winter, featuring the most days in Minneapolis below zero in 36 years, the work for DiVito and his crew has actually been easier than the race to the opener last season.
"This year, it only took us four days to get the snow off the field," DiVito said Monday in front of the empty visiting dugout, while the Twins were in Chicago to start the season against the White Sox.
The bulk of the work, actually, lies in the clearing of the seating bowl and the plaza area beyond the gates. With state-of-the-art technology in place and experts there to use it, producing a major league-caliber surface from the dreariness of a Midwestern winter is simply part of the job, no matter how impressive it appears to the average homeowner.
The temperature on this gray, wet morning was about 20 degrees warmer than last year, when the Twins opened at home on a 35-degree afternoon. The forecasts are calling for some snow later this week, but predicted sunshine by next weekend ought to help the ballpark dry out again before the April 7 game against the Oakland Athletics.
"It'll all be done. The only thing that would throw us off would be a blizzard," DiVito said.
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