MINNEAPOLIS -- It has been more than five years since David Ortiz wore the uniform of the Minnesota Twins. But each time he returns to the Metrodome, a flood of memories comes rushing back.
Some of those Minnesota memories were sweet as Ortiz put together a solid season in 2002 that positioned him to sign as a free agent with the Red Sox in January 2003. But other memories cause Ortiz to wince.
"I was hurting a lot when I was here," Ortiz said. "That turf killed me."
Ortiz applauds the fact that the Twins will be moving into a new 40,000-seat ballpark in 2010. But Ortiz, noting the weather patterns in Minnesota during baseball season, is curious about why there's not going to be a retractable roof.
"I don't know how you're going to play here in April with a park that's open," Ortiz said. "It's too cold to begin with, and it rains a lot in the summer. You can't have Opening Day in May. I don't know why they didn't do the retractable thing."
Ortiz was part of the Twins' renaissance when they used a cluster of young, talented players to win 94 games and capture the American League Central title in 2002. Ortiz hit .272 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs that season.
While Ortiz has moved on to much bigger and better things in Boston as a key member of a club that has won two World Series championships in the last four years, the small-market Twins have remained a competitive force despite an ever-changing roster. Minnesota, which won three division titles in the five years after Ortiz left, faces another big test this year with marquee center fielder Torii Hunter moving on to the Angels.
"They've changed things around player-wise, but they've done some good things," Ortiz said.
Just not as good as Ortiz and the Red Sox.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.