Night One at Target Field

3 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

On Saturday morning at 10:00, I will be on DW The Great’s podcast, so check that out.

I feel the need to start by mentioning that I was “stuffing my face” with an order of Nachos Grande. Yes, that was me and my brother who were on the television during the bottom of the 5th inning of last night’s Twins/Cardinals tilt. Bert Blyleven said, “Now that is relaxing. That gentleman is stuffing his face at the ballpark.” Or something like that. Within seconds, my phone was vibrating. I had four texts, two e-mails and some facebook messages. Each of those numbers increased in the next few minutes. Apparently it was quite the topic on Twitter including pictures. Some don’t look too bad. Some looked horrible. Oh well, what do you do? It was about 6:30, so I had to eat something. It was kind of comical. But if nothing else, my TwinsCentric windbreaker and my SethSpeaks.net hat got some air time.

On Friday, I left work at noon, and met my brother at about 1:45. We got to Garage A by about 2:00, and walked through the walkways toward the stadium. It was raining hard outside. After it slowed just a bit, we walked down onto Target Plaza, but then it started raining again. We just stood under a walkway. It was plenty warm, with temperatures in the 60s. It rained right up until about 3:00. Fortunately, a little after two, I saw a few people walk in our direction. I recognized a couple of them. Steve Singleton, the father of the Twins infield prospect, came over. We had met in Phoenix at an Arizona Fall League game, so it was nice to catch up with him again. The one bit of information that he shared with me that I feel comfortable telling people is that Steve Singleton, the son, has become a switch-hitter this spring. So far, it has been a successful decision for him. But it was great to talk baseball with him.

We went into the stadium about 3:10 and went up to the Legends Club. Unfortunately, we could not get into that section without a ticket to that section. Then it was confusing because until game time, all of the escalators only go up, so we had to go up to the top and then find an elevator to go back down to the main level. Our seats were down the left field line, in the lowest level, in the bleacher seats. Great seats.

The only negative about those lower level bleacher seats are that you can’t see the scoreboard. On some plays, they show replays on the right field wall. I wish they would do the pregame information or at least the lineups on that screen.

I think Dick Bremer over-romanticizes the whole outdoor stadium thing. I mean, listening back to the broadcast later last night, I heard him at one time say that it was exciting that the players would be able to see their own shadows in the field for the first time in thirty years. That takes it a little too far. However, there are some things about last night’s game being outdoors that was very cool. I have to admit, watching the grounds crew take the tarp off of the infield about an hour before game time was kind of fun. We heard about the drainage system under the field. Well, based on how much it rained from about 1:30-2:45, even the outfield barely looked wet. The concourse traffic was much smoother on Friday night than it had been last Saturday during the Gophers game. I think more people were into watching the game as opposed to sightseeing. The corporate advertising was definitely out around the stadium for this game, and I’m sure there will be more by Opening Day.

Before the game, Ron Gardenhire announced that Jon Rauch would be the team’s closer to start the season. I don’t have real strong feelings about that either way. I’m sure he’ll do just fine. My question is actually more about what happened over the last few days since Gardy announced that the team would be using a Closer-By-Committee approach.

As expected, Joe Mauer got a nice ovation when his name was announced before the game and when he came up for his first at bat. But the loudest ovation of the game came for Jacque Jones, who clearly was taken aback by it. I thought it was great. As I’ve said, Jones was probably my favorite Twins player of the early part of the ‘00s. Jones also made a diving catch to end the previous half-inning.

Denard Span got the crowd going early. He ended the top of the 1st by tracking down an Albert Pujols fly ball to deep right center field. He led off the bottom of the inning with a triple down the 1B line. His next at bat, he drilled a long home run through the wind and into the right field seats for a home run.

Justin Morneau has really struggled the last two weeks of spring training. How concerned am I? Zero.

What a thrill for those non-roster minor leaguers to get the opportunity to be involved in these games to help open the new stadium. Big league hotel rooms and accommodations. Their names are on their lockers in the locker room. They get an opportunity to play in a big league stadium in front of 40,000 fans. They got to see Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew. I just think the honor is tremendous.

Brian Dinkelman came into the game in left field the last few innings. In the top of the 9th, he caught a fly ball on the warning track. The entire lower level bleachers crowd started chanting, “Dink-el-man! Din-kel-man! Dink-el-man!” It was kind of cool. Then when he came to bat in the bottom of the 9th, the chant extended to more of the stadium. That is kind of a random note, but I thought it was neat and probably made him feel pretty goodl

Anthony Slama got the Twins out of the top of the 8th. He was rocking some actual stir-ups. It was also great to see Kyle Waldrop get to pitch the top of the 9th. He got the first out on a ground out. Then the next batter hit a line drive off of his glove wrist. That had to hurt. He had a scoreless frame.

The Minne and Paul Minnesota sign is pretty neat. It is lit up throughout the game. After Denard Span hit his home run, Matt Holliday turned and watched the sign. The two were shaking hands and the lights were lighting up. Any time a Twins pitcher would record a strikeout, the Minnesota border would flash randomly around it. I am looking forward to seeing what all happens on the big screen.

Once the game finished, we left pretty quickly, got to the car and easily got out of the area. It was so much easier than I thought. I hate to give away too much, but if you’re driving in on 394, park in Garage A! It’s simple! It’s $13, which I think may be a little high, but for how convenient and easy it was, it was totally worth it.

The rain stopped two hours before game time and it didn’t even sprinkle the whole game. It was in the low-60s at game time and was around 55 degrees the game concluded. It got a little chilly, but it was comfortable.

Also, I bought tickets via Stub Hub for the first time, and I can’t believe how easy it was.

The main thing, I am excited to get to my next Twins game at Target Field. This first game was terrific. Were you there? What were your thoughts? Leave projections and comments here.

10 Responses to “Night One at Target Field”

  1. Scot April 3, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    Seth, I wrote about my game experience at my blog.

    Any food reviews from the game? I had the Cuban from Tony-O’s, highly recommend.

  2. Dave April 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I’m such a geezer as a child I went to the old Nicollet Avenue park. Now we’ve come full circle from the old Met to the new stadium. My wife and I will be in Mpls for our annual vacation in July and will take in as many games as humanly possible. Exciting times! PS Amazing how many of the “experts” are picking the Twins to win the Central.

  3. Joel Thingvall April 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    The game was a blast.

    Took the I-94 bus in and out, fast and easy.

    Took the walk around the concourse. Had a Tony O’ sandwich and the near-foot-long dog with lots of oinions. Just amazed at how much of the game you can watch while wandering.

    The Twins have 1,200 wheelchair seats, which is great. Plus seating for attendants. The only problem is…where are the 1,200 parking spaces for wheelchair vehicles. And the in-out time.

    Loved watching the grounds crew and the tarp. Plus their other duties.

    The bullpen is interesting. The Twins get the shade and overhang. Do any other ballparks have bullpens side-by-side like this? You’d think that would encourage fratenizing by the players. If I were the Twins bullpen, I would have them build a little bullpen balcony out there.

    We are up in 324 and the view is quite pleasant. Windy that night, but truly a skyline view. And the scoreboard…whew! Waiting to see all the lighted surfaces rock at night (and did you catch that plaza wall at night with the colors and how it flickers?).

    Have yet to see the Tradition Wall. Also, unveiling os Twins sculptures.

    Couldn’t get my free yearbook or media guide until the opening game.

    Had another Big Dog, and ordered a float and the stand didn’t have root beer. So, Mountain Dew and ice cream sufficed.

    Loved the Jacque Jones lovefest.

    You have to look to see the announcements. Twins-O-Gram is a small part of the during-the-game scoreboard.

    Also, out down the firstbase line they have a board that flashes typed versions of the announcer lines for those with hearing issues.

    The pine trees. Notice the flower boxes along the outfield walls?

    The Twins offices overlooking the field, and two tiers of unused balconies? Whew.

    Standing in line to use the men’s room. No troughs. Two towel dispensers only. What gives!

    I want to go to every game, rain or shine.

  4. roger April 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

    Seth, Jealous, no! Was just something I thought was worthy of mentioning from Ft. Myers. It was actually Bonnie who found out what she did for a living, etc., by listening to the conversations in the stands. But tell me, shouldn’t Steve be a happy young man?

  5. rover27 April 3, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

    “I think Dick Bremer over-romanticizes the whole outdoor stadium thing. I mean, listening back to the broadcast later last night, I heard him at one time say that it was exciting that the players would be able to see their own shadows in the field for the first time in thirty years.”

    AMEN! I mean there’s homerism and then there’s Dick & Bert…who take it to a whole new level. I expect a fair degree of homerism from a team’s broadcasters, but this insipid, syrupy, awe-struck, faux-emotional, the Twins organization-and-everyone-in-it-or-ever-in-it are the most exceptional beings on Planet Earth-style of homerism makes me want to puke at times.

  6. CapitalBabs April 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    I’m such a HUGE fan of the stirrup look Slama was rocking! Granted, I have a massive soft spot for tall socks. But if the dude could get a couple of the guys going on that, I’d be all for it!

  7. Risa April 4, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    I’m smitten…with Target Field. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I was worried about missing the Metrodome…the roof, my favorite cheap seats, the atmosphere… well, Target Field will make that all a faded memory soon!

    It’s incredible…I don’t think there is a bad seat in the place! Even sitting way up high in 325–great view of the field! Even more amazing is how you can walk around and see the field from almost anywhere!

    Looking forward to a fantastic season! Wish I had tix to more than 20 games…but I’m sure glad I got that 20-pack!

  8. Ed April 4, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    No “the show” episode tonight?

    Waaaaaa! (I really enjoy it!)

    Ed

  9. JimCrikket April 4, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Made it up for the game Saturday and splurged… took advantage of the availability of Skyline Suite tickets for the game. I had my adult son and mother with me so it made for a terrific day trip! The Twins really did a great job with the Suites and Club section. I could have stood around looking at the pictures on the wall for an hour if I had the time.

    We wandered all the way around the lower level concourse about mid game and I was struck by how close the view seemed to be even from the lower level outfield seats. It felt like you were very close to the infield. I’d definitely be willing to watch games from out there occasionally.

    If you’re interested, CapitalBabs and I both put together slideshows of pictures on the “Knuckleballs” blog. I’m hoping to have a few pictures of your 2010 Beloit Snappers later in the week as they open their season in Cedar Rapids this week.

    God I’m glad “real” baseball is finally here and I can’t wait to get back up to the Cities for another game!

  10. Chaddens April 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    I was able to go to the game on Friday and Saturday – both were great but Saturday was defitely better (and I didn’t even really watch the game) because of the sun! I walked around the stadium quite a bit inside and out, went into the Metrolpolitan Club (I had to pay $7.08 for a drink – who wants to carry around change?), and am very much looking forward to opening day. Maybe I’ll actually watch some baseball that day (did you know Cuddyer hit an HR on Saturday? I didn’t until later that night).

    My favorite parts about the stadium:

    My seats! Section 126 Row 4 – I feel like I’m so close to the field! It was pretty neat watching Holiday enjoy the new HR sign. Plus Delmon learned how shots down the 3rd base line (Puljos double) carom off of that wall. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of foul ball action in my section (maybe I’ll finally catch a foul ball?)

    The Food – love the variety. So far I’m up to 3 big dogs (one each time at the stadium), Cheese Curds (okay), a brat (no flavor!) and Walleye Fingers (good – but get cold fast). My buddies had a dog from a cart and had the Onions and Peppers on it – definitely recommend that! Still need to try the State Fair booth (it’s in center field on the 1st level).

    Parking – a breeze compared to the Dome – I found a lot 6 blocks away for $5 – easy in from 94 via 4th street and easy out via Washington – way better than the dome.

    Public transportation – we lag way behind other cities in trains and buses and the line on Friday was amazing – how great to see all those people off of the street and using the light rail. I look forward to bringing my son in on the North Star – he’ll love it!

    Hrbek’s – lots of good beer in there. I talked to a few people and they said the food was okay. Definitely will be a nice gathering spot for groups. All hi-top tables with a few booths so you can cram kids in and eat some food if you want.

    Handicapped spots – i’ve got a friend who is bringing a group of special needs people down for a game and there will be plenty of space. An added bonus to those spots? If your stuffing your face (Seth) and want to chill out and eat your food without walking to your seats, this is a great place to do that!

    I’m so excited – can’t wait until next week!

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