The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers are back indoors, opening their 2017 season with a pair of games at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
When debate was ongoing for state approval of U.S. Bank Stadium, lawmakers wanted to make sure the facility was a complete replacement for the Metrodome — including baseball, as the Dome hosted a slew of college and high-school games in February and March before the Minnesota Twins rolled into town. That includes hosting the Gophers baseball program, which splits games between U.S. Bank Stadium and Siebert Field. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
With the return of indoor baseball in Minnesota, the first of this magnitude since the Metrodome closed its doors in 2013, Anderson envisions a boost to a Gophers program that was unable to play home games until late March the last three years.
That meant a hectic road schedule that Anderson said drained energy levels, and missed opportunities to promote the program, which won the Big Ten regular-season title last spring.
“I think we underestimated (the advantages to indoor games) a bit,” Anderson said. “It has an impact in a lot of different ways.”
Playing indoors is certainly an advantage when it comes to recruiting: other Big Ten programs are forced to spend time on Southern road trips.
Photos courtesy University of Minnesota Athletic Department.