Dozens of college baseball teams were affected by the collapse of part of the Metrodome's roof, but the most high-profile program impacted was Minnesota. The Golden Gophers had 32 games scheduled for the dome this season, and even if the weather permitted them to play outdoors, their on-campus facility is "really not usable," in the words of coach John Anderson, because they have let it slip while raising money to build a new one.
So Minnesota has had to scramble to find alternate sites for many of its games while awaiting the Jan. 21 announcement about whether or not the Metrodome will be repaired by the end of March, as hoped.
Minnesota was scheduled to host Cal Poly for a three-game series from March 25-27, and then visit Cal Poly for three games next year. Instead, that home-and-home series has been reversed—so the Gophers will travel to Poly this year, then host the Mustangs next year.
The Dairy Queen Classic—scheduled for March 4-6 and featuring Washington State, Oklahoma State and South Alabama in addition to Minnesota—will be moved to either Vero Beach, Fla., or Tucson. That decision will be made this week, according to Anderson.
The following weekend, Illinois, Butler and Gonzaga were scheduled to join Minnesota for the Metrodome Tournament. That event has been broken up—Butler will head to Florida early to pick up some extra games, while Illinois will travel to Western Kentucky. Anderson said he's trying to arrange a series with Gonzaga for that weekend in Northern California.
"Stanford's in finals that week, and their facility's available," Anderson said. "Sacramento State's on the road that weekend. We don't have firm commitments, but we have gotten positive responses back. We're going that way anyway (for games against Sacramento State and Santa Clara the following week), so we'll just go a few days early."
For now, Minnesota's games against Cal State Bakersfield on March 29-30 remain on the schedule for the Metrodome, but of course that will be subject to the dome re-opening on time.
Minnesota's home Big Ten schedule is slated to begin April 1-3 against Purdue. The Gophers have four home conference series in April and May, and it just so happens that the Minnesota Twins will be on the road for all four, making Target Field a possible site for those games.
"We'll meet with (the Twins)—they've been very generous to offer it," Anderson said. "They have a heating system, but it will be depend on the temperature and some other things. All four weekends we're home, they're gone. How's that for an act of God? I thought maybe we could play a few dates there, but how lucky can you get? So that's a backup option."
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