A spring fill-in for the disabled John Castino, Gaetti will be difficult to displace at third. "He has almost the power of a Harmon Killebrew, and he's a good defensive player," says Griffith. Gaetti homered three times while going 7 for 10 in the Seattle series and was thrown out trying for an inside-the-park home run in his first at bat. Every bit as classy at third as Hrbek is at first, Gaetti is of the Sal Bando breed: stocky, tough, durable and pleasant, with an Italian surname. When Gaetti followed a homer with a walk in his next at bat, in Game 3, he was disgusted. "The guy [ Seattle righthander Gene Nelson] should have at least tried to hit me," he said. Nervous and ingenuous, Eisenreich proclaims himself "amazed to be here. Last year I was following these guys, and now they're my teammates." Griffith insists that Eisenreich is the fastest Twin, waves a "magic wand" and isn't afraid to bounce into fences.
It will take a while to determine if the new Twins are as notable as their new dome. Unlike most other large arenas, this one was built on time and under budget and figures to meet operating and debt expenses.
Unfortunately for the Twins and their fans, the dome seems to have been designed for football. The seats face squarely out over the field; they are not angled toward the pitcher's mound as is the custom. And the upper deck is set back rather than overhanging, the better to accommodate 115 luxury boxes owned by the Vikings. "I cannot understand sitting in a glass-enclosed booth in a domed stadium," says Twins Executive Vice-President Clark Griffith, Calvin's son, with considerable logic.
If the Metrodome isn't an ideal baseball stadium, neither is Minnesota an ideal baseball team. The Twins have finished below .500 each of the last two years, and since 1976 they have lost 18 free agents and signed one. "We don't have the population or the radio-TV contract to pay those salaries," Calvin Griffith says, ignoring the fact that the Twins have baseball's highest average ticket price ($7.50) and lowest average salary ($90,000).
"If he doesn't pay, he'll lose all the young guys with potential," said a Twin last week. And Metrodome or not, the team would be out in the cold again.