My wife has done many wonderful things, but few surpass going on StubHub (the official scalper of Major League Baseball) and getting us two tickets to the Twins’ home opener, their first game ever at Target Field, today at 3 p.m. It was a glorious occasion; the only variables were the weather and the result. Rain was in the forecast, but the day proved fine, and the Twins won 5-2 over the Red Sox to push their record to 6-2.
This is the main entrance to Target Field, which features local limestone both inside and out. The gates have numbers, and they go in ascending order, but each number is that of a famous Twins player:
Target Field is, to put it mildly, a hit, and not only in contrast with its much-derided predecessor, the Metrodome (which, on top of everything else, was named for Hubert Humphrey). Target Field is one of the most authentically urban ballparks in America. There is a light-rail station immediately beyond left field, and most seats have a beautiful view of downtown Minneapolis:
This is what the field looks like from an upper deck behind home plate. It shows, among other things, the one design feature that I consider iffy–a row of pine trees in a “dugout” just beyond the center field fence. This could be the occasion for mockery for some years to come; on the other hand, as manager Ron Gardenhire observed yesterday, if we decide we don’t like it we have chainsaws:
Here are the left-field seats. One of the park’s defining features is that it sits on a very small footprint, squeezed in among highway overpasses and railroad tracks. This turns out to be a plus, in that it has to rise relatively steeply so that there are multiple levels and all the seats are good:
The Budweiser roof that you can see in that photo looks like a cool place from which to watch a game. I should add that even though highways and railroad tracks run beneath and around the park, there is room for a nice plaza where you can buy food and drink before a game. With the new park and the Twins looking like a powerhouse this year, Target Plaza will be the place to be, especially for young people, from now until September (October if we’re lucky).
Happily, the young woman to my immediate right was my wife:
We now have a large, state-of-the-art scoreboard. Note the old-fashioned looking graphic at the right of this picture. This is an image associated with the earliest days of the Minnesota Twins: figures representing Minneapolis and St. Paul shaking hands across the Mississippi River. The figures reportedly are animated in various ways; for example, if there is a rain delay the river flows. But the image has a more serious purpose: there once was a major rivalry between the two cities, and the Twins are the first team to be named after a state rather than a city, I believe, to avoid exacerbating it:
This photo was taken from the middle deck in left field:
We walked around the concourses and observed the many food options. One of the notable features of Target Field is the homage it pays, in many ways, to the team’s history–from a restaurant called Hrbek’s and food kiosks with names like Senor Smoke’s to hardwood murals of Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew, and statues of Carew and others. That theme carried on today, as Twins greats from the past, from Harmon Killebrew to Frank Viola, were present and were honored before the game. Speaking of the concourses, though, I noticed one oddity, something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before–a line to get into a men’s room. Not sure what was going on there:
I made this little movie of the game, from fans milling around beforehand to the celebration after the Twins won. I should add that the scoreboards are not so lame as to have moving black bars in them, but that is how they look, for some reason, when filmed with my Flip camera:
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