Thursday, April 15, 2010

What a day! First experience of Target Field

Yesterday #1 Red Head (my wife, Amy) and I experienced Target Field for the first time.

We traveled to the ball park via the train. North Star is running extra trains to select Twins games. We arrived to the North Star Station in Coon Rapids with plenty of time to spare. The ticket was a steal—$10 for a round-trip ticket for the two of us. We ended up with extra time, so we got ready for Target Field by shopping at Target. I joined Twins Nation when I purchased a bright blue Morneau T-Shirt for the game.

When we got back to the train station I felt like I had been transported to a New York City subway station. The platform was crowded. We were able to get on the train, and encountered standing room only.

Minnesota Nice wore off when the train arrived at the Fridley station. When the train pulled up and the doors opened, a few folks loudly told the large group of people on the platform that there was no room on the train. I guess some Minnesota folks really do have the East Coast in them. Fortunately everyone got on the train, and we all lumbered down the track towards Target Field.

When we got out of the train we followed the crowd and voila, Target Field was on our left. I didn’t know what gate to enter—at the Metrodome we could only get to our seats by entering specific gates, but discovered that at Target Field fans can enter any gate.

We were certainly wide-eyed as we walked around the main-concourse of Target Field. We walked slowly and soaked in an experience that baseball fans have waited for since it became apparent in the early 80’s that the Metrodome was a football stadium and not a ballpark.

Our seats were in the lower level of left field, seventh row. We sat on an aluminum banch, but didn’t care. We couldn’t see the score board, but again it didn’t really matter. We were sitting outdoors on a warm day at a ballpark watching the Twins.

I left my seat to walk around. I can understand why people want to walk around the ballpark and snoop. There is a lot to take-in. Because I am a partial season-ticket holder (some neighborhood buddies and I are splitting a 20 game package), I was able to pick up some detailed program guides.

Oh yeah—there was a game. Twins lost 6-3. The difference in the game was we had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh and the man whose name was on the back of my T-Shirt popped out; the Sox had the bases loaded in the top of the eighth and Hermida cleared them with a double.

In the accounts of the game the media mentioned the rain. Our seats in left field are under an upper deck, so we stayed dry. Fortunately there is plenty of room in the concourses to stay dry during rain—plus television stations are all over the ball park.

We eventually went to the Metropolitan Club—I discovered that as a season ticket holder we had access to this fancy place. In the future I might come early and pay an extra five bucks and sit at the tables outside this beautiful restaurant.

For the last two innings we sat with my nephew and his college roommate in seats down the left-field line. We implored the Twins to rally. They did give us some hope. I was a screaming with the crowd when Thome came up as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth. We had two on in the ninth and Cuddyer’s hit initially was a long fly ball to deep in the outfield, but ……………… died in the mid afternoon air for the final out.

In between the top and bottom of the eight, I found a Murray’s Steak sandwich. The price was $10.50. It was the worst decision of the day—the sandwich was okay, but it was cold. I should have figured that out. Who is going to make a fresh sandwich when the game is almost over?

We sauntered around the main concourse after the game. We saw Anthony La Planta and Ron Coomer give their post-game analysis. We went to Target Plaza and said goodbye to my nephew. Eventually we found that gate that leads to the North Star train platform. We got on the 4:20 train. We were able to get second level seats in the car. We enjoyed listening to a grandfather teach his three grandkids play cards. They each had their faces painted.

I'm amazed at how far the Twins have come as an organization and as a team. It was only nine years ago that Carl Pohlad tried to contract the team. (I have to admit that as I was enjoying Target Field yesterday a voice inside of me shared that none of what I witnessed would have happened if Carl Pohlad had his way.) Now Minnesotans can enjoy a beautiful stadium while watching a quality team.

What a day! I had the privilege of spending most of the day with #1 Red Head, taking a train, and experiencing much of what Target Field has to offer. What more could a Minnesota guy ask for in a day?

I posted 20 pictures on my Facebook page. If you are not my Facebook friend, send me a friend request.

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