Sportress of Blogitude

Not All Minnesotans Are Thrilled With The New Sod Getting Installed At Target Field

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In what should have been a joyous day for all Minnesotans after being forced to spend the past twenty-eight Twins seasons watching baseball in the dreadful Metrodome didn’t quite turn out that way. Sadly, there is a small contingent of folks up here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes that is none too pleased with the sod getting laid in anticipation of Target Field’s grand opening next spring:

Sod farmers.

On Monday, workers began laying rolls of Kentucky Bluegrass at Target Field and only two days later, controversy has reared its ugly head.

The problem is, at least to these local sod farmers, is that the Twins contracted a company, Graff’s Turf Farms from Fort Morgan, Colorado (OUT OF STATE!) to grow the sod out west and then deliver it in refrigerated trucks. Gary Blocker, a sod farmer from “up nort” by Duluth, as well as the president of the extremely-powerful Minnesota Turf Association (don’t get on their shit list, I’ll tell you that much) isn’t happy about it and refuses to stand idly by while good and decent, hard-working Minnesota sod farmers aren’t getting their pockets fertilized with seed money from the Twins.

“I think we could have done it certainly for less. They are getting a good product, but we wish it would have come from Minnesota.”

Goddamn right, Gary! The Twins spent $112,000 to have 400,000 square feet of sod grown out in Colorado. By simply hiring a local company to grow the sod, the Twins could have saved a bunch of green in shipping costs alone.

Graff’s is well-known in the turf industry for its quality product. The company has grown sod for the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the Notre Dame football team.

The Twins, to their credit, have responded to the allegations that they let their home state down and failed to protect the fragile sensibilities of provincial Minnesotans.

[Dan Mehls, the ballpark project coordinator for Mortenson Construction] said the company and the team talked with sod farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin two years ago about getting them to provide the turf. But none of the local farmers had the proper growing sand or the expertise that the company was looking for as it created a professional baseball playing field, Mehls said Tuesday.

“They were willing to do the job, but it would have been their first time,” he said. “That’s not the place to take a risk. We’re talking about the playing field of a Major League park.”

For some reason or another, many of my fellow Minnesotans suffer from extreme insecurity complexes when it comes to how our state is perceived by others. To insinuate that a seasoned sod farmer from Minnesota couldn’t do the job that some company out in Colorado, of all places, could do is too much for our fragile psyches to handle. Either your one of us or your against us. It’s somewhat sad, really.

Rumor has it that the sod farmers are planning on marching on the Twins booth at the Minnesota State Fair this weekend to voice their displeasure and protest the team’s decision.  I just hope we don’t have another Kent State on our hands.

Target Field has local sod farmers green with envy [Star Tribune]