Saturday, March 27, 2010
Observations from Target Field
A couple of quick notes:
· On Sunday after the Twins game (approximately 3:30 CST), I will be in studio with Phil Mackey at am1500. Plenty to talk about as it relates to the Twins, I’m sure! If you’re able to listen the radio, great. If not, you can Listen Live online.
· Then on Sunday night at 9:00, I will host The Show. Guests will be announced, but Pat Neshek (congratulations to Butler and their Final Four trip!) has confirmed that he will be on The Show!
My brother and I went to Target Field this morning. The Minnesota Gophers were taking on Louisiana Tech in the first game played in Target Field’s history. Here are some of my thoughts and observations from the day:
· Because it was announced that they would cut off attendance at 25,000 fans, and because my brother had not yet walked around the stadium and I just wanted to again, we wanted to get their earlier. Actually a friend was planning on being there by 7:30 to get tickets right away at 8:00. I wasn’t willing to get up that early, but she was kind enough to pick up a couple of extra tickets for us.
· Anyway, we got to the stadium about 10:45. We proceeded to walk around the entire stadium. We walked and sat in every section of the stadium. We spent time in the club level, noticing all of the pictures, the Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew atriums, and more.
· We went up to the Budweiser party deck. We went into Hrbek’s, and walked through Townball Tavern, which is a great historical review of amateur baseball in Minnesota and its history. There are a lot of great old pictures.
· Before the game started, we each got a Jumbo Hot Dog, a Schweigert hot dog, of course. So much was made of the Twins and Hormel not reaching a hot dog agreement, and the Twins signing on with Schweigert. Interestingly, at old Metropolitan Stadium, they sold Schweigert hot dogs.
· We sat down to each down the third base line. We watched infield practice. Twins president Dave St. Peter was presented a Gophers jersey by coach John Anderson and Athletic Director Joel Maturi. Following the national anthem, former Gopher and Twins player Terry Steinbach threw out the ceremonial first pitch, twice.
· I watched the entire game, but I can’t tell you much of who did what and such. I didn’t know too many of the names of players and really was just enjoying watching baseball from various sections.
· After an inning down the left field foul line, we went out to the left field, lower level bleachers. They are actually bleacher seats which is very cool. Although you can’t see the huge scoreboard from this section, I noticed that on the right field wall scoreboard, they can run replays in some sort of technology that was very impressive to me!
· I decided to use the facilities and my brother stayed in the bleachers. In the few times I was in various restrooms throughout the day, I heard one complaint and it is the only complaint that I have heard about the whole stadium. The paper towels have to be pulled out. They do not come out automatically. Oh boy, huh?! If that’s the only thing people are disappointed about at Target Field, then the Twins and the developers did everything great!
· I got out of the bathroom and called my brother to tell him that I was just going to watch the half-inning from center field, behind the bullpens. While standing there, I got to see the first home run in Target Field history, a no-doubter by Louisiana Tech’s catcher Clint Ewing. I watched it land a row in front of where I had been sitting, next to my brother. He said if I would have been there, it would have been right at me. The person that did catch it was mocked for not “Throw(ing) it back!” but someone came to the person and discussed what it would take to get the ball.
· The Powerball Pavillion is pretty cool. It’s in right center field and it is covered. It’s a great view of the game and there are plasma flat screen TVs showing the game on it. This is true around much of the lower level where there is space. They air the MLB Network before the game as well.
· We went up by the Paul and Minnie sign and watched from there which again are great seats, better than the upper deck in the Metrodome.
· We went up to the third deck in left centerfield, in front of the scoreboard, and again, could watch the game clearly. In fact, to summarize how great the seating is, we went to what we assumed to be the worst place to watch a game from, highest seats in the highest level down the left field foul line. Although the wind is a bit stronger and swirling the higher you get, the game can be seen very well.
· We walked over to a spot that I will spend at least five games during the 2010 season, Row 1 of section 308. It is in a location very similar to Section 220 of the Metrodome. It is higher, but closer to the foul line, if that makes sense.
· At one point around the 7th inning, the PA announcer said something like, “Fans, we do not yet have the official attendance number yet, but I can tell you one thing for sure. You are part of the largest crowd to see a game at Target Field!” The crowd erupted.
· Remember when I mentioned above that we had heard that only 25,000 fans would be allowed through the turn stiles. An inning or so later, it was announced that over 36,000 people were in attendance. That is a good thing for a few reasons.
o Target Field was packed. I was concerned that, if just 25,000 fans were there, and a sellout would be 40% more (just under 40,000), the concourses would be just as tight as the small ones at the Metrodome were. However, that is likely not the case. When the Twins are playing, there will likely be less walking around and more just staying in your seats. In Year 1, people will walk, but not all people will walk the way they did today. My point basically is that as tough as it was to move around today, it shouldn’t get any busier than it was. Target Field held up just fine, and should continue to do so even when the place is completely full.
o I thought some of the ‘grill’ concession stands were a little slow. Could be training of employees. Could just be that they are grilling fresh so it does take a little while.
Finally, I will end with a question that my brother asked later in the game. It initially made me laugh, and then it made me think. So, I’ll pass it along for your thoughts. While sitting in the third deck, just looking around, he noted three birds fly overhead. He asked, “I wonder how many people will get pooped on by birds this year?” Seems funny, but when you think about it, it just has to happen, right?