Major League Ballpark #33: Target Field
Why Minnesota? Hadn't been in a long time (I went to the dome back in the 90's), they have a shiny new ballpark, and I know a few people there. Easy decision.
We'll get the complaints out of the way first. United can suck it, because they delayed me every step of the way, causing pre-game beers at the Fulton to be cut short. Secondly, I can't believe how much Twins tickets cost. Not as much as Yankee Stadium, but definitely more across the board than Nationals Park. Go figure.
That said, this is a heck of a nice park. The Metrodome felt weird, because baseball is meant to be played outside, so I'm sure Twins fans are greatly relieved to have an actual nice place to call home. We sat down the right field line in the lower level and had a great view. The layout reminded us a little of the White Sox's stadium; we didn't go to the upper deck, but I got the feeling it was far a-way. There were also upper deck seats in the outfield that looked like they were a zillion miles from the field. Plenty of square feet of big modern scoreboard/jumbotron, and the big neon Twins sign where Minnie and Paul shake hands after a home run.
Absolute highlight of the trip: We went early enough for batting practice, and no more than five minutes after arriving, some A's player sent a missile toward us in left. John took two steps to his right and caught it before we even had time to think. Pretty sweet.
Great food at this park, particularly the "Minnesota State Fair" stand in center field. We got some walleye on a stick and fried cheese curds, and they were delicious. Later I got a bucket of mini donuts, because we hadn't had enough fried stuff yet. Joe recommended the locally-made sausages, and they had plenty of local beers, too.
The game itself was a dud. The A's went up 4-0 in the first, hit something like four home runs, and went on to win 9-3. The crowd pretty well stuck around until late in the game, though, and there was as high saturation of home-team gear as I think I've ever seen. Plenty of ex-Nats in this game--Willingham, Capps, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris, and Jamey Carroll.
The mascot photo took a bit of doing--the Twins' bear mascot was on the field quite a bit, but didn't appear to spend much time in the stands. 'Round about the 7th we spotted him in one of the club/suite areas, and waited outside the elevator for him to come down. I tried tweeting at him during the game, but no reply.
Sunday we found breakfast, then wandered the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and sweated a lot. We went into the Walker Art Center as soon as it opened, because they had air conditioning to go with the art--some was wonderful, some made for some serious nightmare fuel. John's friend Tom met us for lunch, and then took us to Minnehaha Falls Park, which was a great way to wrap the trip.
Full photo set here (Snapfish may make you register). Thanks to John, Joe, Todd, Nils and Tom for an awesome weekend. Nine to go. Short list for next season: Citi Field, Dodger Stadium, and whatever Arizona's ballpark is called these days.
What with being outrageously busy at work, politics being too depressing to get worked up about, and a variety of other locations to babble about sports and food and other stuff, this here blog's gotten a little rusty. I can't promise it's going to get significantly better, either. But I will still use it for the occasional long-form piece, such as the Minnesota trip report I'm about to write. So keep it in your RSS reader and I'll pop up from time to time. Thanks.