Extra innings bump Twins

Than Tibbetts

The Metrodome is a busy place.

The Gophers football game Saturday forced the Minnesota Twins to suspend their game against the Cleveland Indians because the Dome needed to be converted for the football game. The baseball game was tied at 5-5 in the 11th inning when officials stopped it.

The 11th inning ended at 2:33 p.m., and Metrodome rules said no inning could begin after 2:30 p.m. to allow adequate time to change the field.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said the conflict didn’t affect the Gophers football team before the game.

“It’s the first time it’s happened where a game had to be suspended,” Maturi said. “I think the Dome did a great job getting ready.”

Maturi also said he didn’t realize the game had been suspended until he left a campus event honoring alumni.

“I heard it on the radio, because I was listening to the Twins game when I heard it was suspended,” he said.

Last year, the Twins’ postseason games forced the Gophers to bump their Oct. 11 football game against Michigan to that Friday night.

This year’s homecoming football game against Illinois on Oct. 23 could also be affected, if the Twins extend their success into the postseason.

Challenges

Maturi said he spoke to Twins president Dave St. Peter on Sunday.

“I told him that we were thankful to them for understanding our challenge,” Maturi said. “We both kind of agreed that it might be an impetus to get something we both want, a new stadium for us and a new stadium for the Minnesota Twins.”

The Minnesota Twins could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Maturi said the suspension of the game Saturday should not affect future relations with the Twins.

Scheduling conflicts aside, both of Saturday’s games ended successfully for the hometown teams. The Gophers beat Penn State 16-7, and the Twins played 20 minutes Sunday to beat the Indians 6-5 in the 12th inning.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.