While traveling to Minneapolis for work, I had the opportunity to check out Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins. Unlike the old Metrodome, the new park is open-air and a splendid outing in May. It was a delightful experience, and I was quite enamored in Twins Territory.
An Open-Air Stadium in the Twin Cities
Target Field was the first stadium built specifically for the Twins (opened in 2010), and it is a gorgeous, retro modern design. The stadium used local limestone throughout, which is a beautiful tan color that really stands out. Target Field was awarded LEED Silver Certification for its environmental design and is only the second LEED-certified professional sports stadium in the United States, after Nationals Park.
The outside of the stadium has some neat features. There is “The Wave,” a wind veil that makes waves as the wind blows and shimmers red and blue at night. It happens to be the largest piece of public art in Minnesota.
There are also statues of former legends like Kirby Puckett and Harmon Killebrew.
A large “Golden Glove” sits in the plaza in recognition of all the Twins players that have won the Gold Glove Award. This a famous place for fans to climb up for a photo 🙂
The gate entrance numbers are numbered according to former Twins legends and roughly located near to the positions that they played.
- Left field gate is #6 honoring Tony Oliva (with his bronze statue nearby)
- Centerfield gate is #3 for Harmon Killebrew
- Target Plaza gate (in right field) is #34 in tribute to Kirby Puckett
- Right field gate is #29 in tribute to Rod Carew
- Home plate gate is #14 in honor of Kent Hrbek (featuring his bronze statue)
Minneapolis has a nice skyline and is highlighted on the right field side of the stadium. The left field skyline is blocked with the Budweiser roof deck and scoreboards/signs.
The stadium is located in the Warehouse District west of Downtown Minneapolis. The area had many restaurants and seemed very safe and well maintained. I went to the game with a local so it made it easier to get around and find all the fun features (thanks Nate!). There are plenty of parking garages within the area, although it takes a bit of navigating through the one-way streets.
There are a number of unique concessions, including “State Fair Foods” for fans to enjoy. I happened to go on a Wednesday which was dollar dog night. This seemed to bring in a pretty nice crowd for a weekday game. Other Minnesota favorites include “Jucy Lucy” burger, walleye, fried pickles, Kramarczuk’s sausages, and items served “on a stick”, such as the pork chop or corn dogs.
There are several local beverage options. I enjoyed a unique and spicy Bloody Mary with a bratwurst “on a stick”. There were also options to have bacon or pizza “on a stick” with this drink. There are plenty of Minnesota brews to enjoy including Summit, Grain Belt, Schell’s, and Finnigans.
With the open-air design, it can be chilly in Minnesota in April and October. The stadium does offer heated viewing areas and a heated field. The Budweiser roof deck in left field has the only bonfire in the Majors. The weather was gorgeous in May, but I’d be sitting by the bonfire during October postseason!
There are a slew of activities during the game to keep fans entertained. They had a match game with Twins gear on the big-screen before the game, which was hilarious because the two players were horrible and seemed to have never learned how to play this game as children. You can pickup a Twingo card and play baseball bingo throughout the game by noting plays. They also have the traditional stuff like races on the field, fans dancing and the kiss cam.
We ran into the TV broadcaster (and Hall of Fame pitcher) Bert Blyleven on the escalator and my friend shouted, “Circle Me Bert!” Bert is known for circling Twins fans on TV with the telestrator so there were lots of fans with signs (including a couple celebrating 48 years of marriage) trying to get him to circle them on the broadcast. Interesting fact about Bert, he was a former Twin pitcher and one of baseball’s most notorious dugout pranksters. He earned the nickname the “Frying Dutchman” by frequently setting fire to his teammates’ shoelaces, a practical joke known as a “hot-foot.”
The Twins mascot – “TC the Bear” – is seen throughout the game entertaining fans. He catches the ceremonial first pitch instead of the typical player from the home team.
There were three home runs during the game I attended, and the celebrations for these were fantastic! The Twins “Minnie and Paul” on the Minnesota state backdrop light up and “shake hands” over the flowing Mississippi River. The following are other flashing celebrations the Minnie and Paul sign did throughout the night:
- When the Twins scored a run by any means other than a home run, the strobe lights traced the border from the bottom-left corner for each Twins player that crosses home plate, symbolizing that a Twins player rounded the bases.
- For each strikeout, the corners of the sign flashed to portray the strike zone.
- The strobe lights flashed at the end of the top of an inning when the Twins did not surrender a run during the inning.
- After the Twins victory, the “T” and “s” in “Twins” blinked to show the message “Twins win” in addition to the Twins shaking hands over the river.
And of course there’s the traditional fireworks!
All the fans were super friendly, providing recommendations for things to check out. The fans next to me guessed I was from Missouri because of my accent but maybe it was my Cardinals gear 🙂 There were a good number of fans that stayed until the last out – despite being up by 13 runs. There were many fans mingling afterwards – almost like they had just won a major championship game. Overall I had a terrific time exploring Twins Territory and cheering them on in their phenomenal 13-0 victory. Hopefully the Cardinals will see you all in October for a rematch of the 1987 World Series!
Summary & Scoring
Date Visited: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Game Played: Twins 13, Athletics 0, WP Gibson – Rookie Rosario hit a HR in his first major league at-bat on the first pitch, and the Twins combined for 3 HR. Former Cardinal Shane Robinson (“Sugar Shane”) had a great diving catch to end the game.
Design: – Retro modern design with local limestone, roof canopy soffit and several unique features like the Minnie and Paul logo flashing sign. The exterior isn’t super eye-catching but does include the “Golden Glove”, many Twins legend statues, and “The Wave”. Minneapolis has a nice skyline on the RF side. The LF skyline is blocked with the Budweiser roof deck and scoreboards/signs.
Location: – In the Warehouse District west of Downtown Minneapolis next to the Mississippi River and Twin City of St. Paul
Concessions: – Many local brews and foods including “State Fair Foods”
Amenities: – Many heated seating areas including the only bonfire in the Majors in the Budweiser roof deck.
Culture: – Fans were super friendly and supportive of their team – especially considering it’s been a few years since they’ve had a winning season. The atmosphere was lively with fans trying to get “circled” on TV and the kids really taking the show during the dance-offs. The fireworks and flashing “Minnie and Paul” sign made celebrations very thrilling.
Overall: – It ranks towards the top of the list of current stadiums visited. The modern design with a plethora of local touches and enthusiastic fans, makes this ballpark a must-see while visiting the Twin Cities.
Let us know what you think of this stadium.