Michaels’ weather predictions help head groundskeeper Larry DiVito know how much to water the field. Both men work from a tiny concrete-walled office below the third base dugout, jokingly referred to as the “weather closet.”
DiVito oversees a team of about 15 workers to prepare the field for game day. They mow and water the grass, roll up the infield tarps, rake the dirt, prep the mound, and paint the foul lines and batter’s box. Seven work year-round, while others just come on game days.
Beneath the field is a system of drain pipes for when it rains and heating pipes for when it snows in the early part of the season. The most challenging task for the grounds crew isn’t baseball but the concerts and occasional college football games Target Field hosts. The carefully groomed grass can take a beating.
Tonight, the grass is green, the mowing lines are straight, and the weather is perfect for a night of baseball. The Twins are hosting the Nationals at Target Field. Washington’s leadoff hitter grounds out. Sue Nelson plops her hands on the organ keys and plays a ditty for the first out of the game.
Nelson has been the Twins organist since 1999. She began by filling in for the previous organist and took over when he retired. In the early days she played from the outfield press box at the old indoor stadium. When the Twins moved to Target Field in 2010, Nelson was elated she would be playing from “the best seat in the house”: She and her organ are perched in the upper deck behind home plate with a full view of the field.
Now in her mid-70s, Nelson wears a blue polo with a Twins logo and a black headset to communicate with the game producer. She plays a 1977 Yamaha model provided by a local family business, Bodine’s—the same instrument she used at the Metrodome 20 years ago. The back of the organ displays artwork from young fans and a photo of Nelson with her all-time favorite player, Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.