Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FIELDS OF DREAMS - Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Right now, Target Field in Minneapolis is the second newest ballpark, behind the new Marlins Park in Miami.  It’s the home of the American League’sTwins, named after the Twin Cities…Minneapolis and St. Paul. An animated sign in right field illustrates this with two ball players, Minnie and Paul, shaking hands across the Mississippi River.  It replaces the Hefty Bag…the derisive nickname of the unmissed Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

The Twins have had some real superstars on their roster over the years. Kirby Puckett, Burt Blyleven, Harmon Killebrew, Kent Hrbek , and Frank Viola are some players that called Minnesota home. They’ve won three World Series titles in 1924, 1987, and 1991.

This year, 2013, they’re sitting in fourth place, a dismal 16 games behind the Tigers, led by longtime manager Ron Gardenhire and featuring such star players as catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau.

Here are the stats…

Year opened: 2010
Surface: Grass
Construction cost: $545 million
Capacity:  39.504
Field dimensions: Left field – 339 ft.; left center – 377 ft.; Center field – 411 ft.; right center – 365 ft.;  Right field – 328 ft.
Home teams: Minnesota Twins (American League, MLB) 2010 –present
Events attended: one game

The stadium sits in downtown, just north of the warehouse district about a mile and a half from the old Metrodome.  It’s easily accessible by the Hiawatha light rail line and by the Northstar commuter railroad, both of which have stations at the stadium. It’s also served by various bus lines, has plenty of parking, and is linked to the downtown Skyway…an all-weather pedestrian bridge system in downtown Minneapolis.

Reflecting the area’s Scandinavian heritage, light rock and blonde wood are used extensively throughout the stadium, giving it a northern European look. Many seats even have wooden backs. It kind of looks like a stadium that was designed by Ikea.

While they don’t have kitschy little traditions like a sausage race, they do have others. One touching tradition is that a local veteran is selected to raise the flag during the national anthem.  Here, Muriel Cantor, raises the flag. Muriel was an army nurse and the first American woman in Paris after its liberation in World War II.

Sight lines are excellent throughout the park. Many seats have shelves in front of them instead of cupholders. This comes in real handy to have a place to set your food, drinks, laptop (free WiFi throughout the park), and anything else you’d like to have handy.

Wheelchair accessible seats are available in all levels, from the first row to the upper deck.  Tickets at this newer park are a bit hard to come by due to the many sellouts.  It’d be best to have an alternate date in mind when you call (800) 33-TWINS for tickets. Prices are demand based, meaning they go up or down (but mostly up) based on the demand. Generally, they run $16 - $120. Our seats in right field cost $42 each…not the cheapest stadium around.

Another very visible accessible feature are the closed captioning boards near each foul pole where hearing impaired guests can follow along with the public address announcer.

Food runs from the typical hot dogs and other varieties of sausages to Minnesota favorites such as whitefish on a stick (very good, by the way). Beer selection is good but some popular brands, like Leinenkugel, can have very long, slow lines at their stand. Pricing is decent at $7.75 for a large, premium beer.

It’s a gorgeous stadium with very good access and amenities. It’s easy to watch a game here and, even though many wondered why such a weather battered city would not build an indoor stadium, a wonderful place to sit in the sun enjoying baseball as it should be.

Copyright 2012 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2012 – Letty Musick
All Rights Reserved
Updated for 2013

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