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There's No Place Like the Dome

October 09, 2002|Jason Reid; Mike DiGiovanna | From Staff Reports

MINNEAPOLIS — Left fielder Jacque Jones has spent his four-year major league career with the Twins, so he never considers a fly ball at the Metrodome to be routine.

Fielding can be a nightmare at the multipurpose stadium because of its Teflon-coated fiberglass ceiling. Outs often turn into hits as players lose the ball against the white backdrop, and Jones has had some scary experiences.

That's why the former USC standout focuses on defense, and he plans to be especially attentive in the field against the Angels in the AL championship series.

One misjudged fly ball can lead to big things, and the Twins are eager to avoid making TV highlights on popups with a World Series berth at stake.

"When you have to battle a roof, every time the ball comes to the outfield, it's not baseball," he said. "It kind of takes away from the game, it gives one team an advantage if they just get a few popups in the right place, and it's unfair to the players that have to deal with it all the time.

"People don't understand how hard it is. It makes playing outside a lot easier, and you really realize it when you get outside. Yeah, you have to battle the sun from time to time, and you realize that you're paid to play in any conditions. But here, no matter what you do, you're going to lose the ball sometimes."

No one lost the ball Tuesday, and Jones said the Metrodome roof wasn't much of a problem for Twin outfielders in the division series victory over the Oakland Athletics. The Twins will try to keep it that way, continuing to catch countless fly balls and popups during batting practice. Of course, Jones also knows it may not matter.

"You do all that, but you know that, really, it can be a factor any time and in any series," he said. "So far it hasn't been, but you can't ever take it for granted here."

Jason Reid


Rick Reed, who will start Game 2 for the Twins tonight, is not considered a dominant right-hander by any means, but he has had his way with the Angels the few times he has faced them.

Reed went 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in two starts against the Angels last season, and in his only start against them this season, he threw a complete-game three-hitter, striking out four and walking none in a 5-1 Twin win in Anaheim on May 24.

"He's a pitcher who has an incredible feel out there on the mound," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He has very, very good command, changes speed well, and he's not afraid to challenge guys. He does a great job pitching ahead in counts and putting guys away."

Mike DiGiovanna

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