MINNEAPOLIS -- Whether they had good memories, bad memories or no memories of the Metrodome, members of the Cardinals said on Friday night that they were impressed with the Twins' new home ballpark.
St. Louis was Minnesota's first opponent at Target Field, which officially opens for the regular season on April 12. The two clubs inaugurated the ballpark with an exhibition game on Friday night, with the Cardinals winning by an 8-4 final.
Slugger Albert Pujols had a deep drive to right-center field fall short of the wall, possibly knocked down by the wind. In some parks it might have been a home run, but on Friday night it stayed in at Target Field. Pujols still had no complaints.
"It's nice," said Pujols, who never played in the Metrodome. "The infield is unbelievable, in pretty good shape. I'm pretty sure it's just going to get better. Everything is good. There's nothing that you can complain about. I think they did a good job with it. I care more about the playing field than anything else, and it's outstanding."
Manager Tony La Russa is a veteran of many battles between his old A's teams and the Twins of the 1980s and early 1990s. La Russa said that even if one or two balls didn't clear the fence, it's too early to know how the park will play.
"I think it played fair," La Russa said. "I don't think it played big. You're not going to be able to tell until you get the summer wind, you don't know. ... It's a good size. But when it gets warm, I don't know if that's going to be the wind that you contend with all year."
Starting pitcher Kyle Lohse had a contentious relationship with the Twins when he pitched in Minnesota. He had his contract renewed twice and went to arbitration twice, and he famously had a confrontation with manager Ron Gardenhire. He's not a favorite of Twins fans, but he had no complaints with the facility.
"I'm not going to say anything about the lack of a roof here," Lohse quipped. "But I was impressed. It looks good. You don't normally get a start like that where you get the regular feelings, juices going. It was nice to get out there and get some boos out of the way and go do it."
Meanwhile, reliever Dennys Reyes, who has nothing but fond memories of his three years as a Twin, said he was happy for the fans of Minneapolis.
"It's beautiful, man," Reyes said. "Really good. It's about time. A good time. The people have been waiting for this for a long time."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.