Target Field, the new home of the Minnesota Twins, is actually the third venue for this franchise since
they began play in this region. They initially played at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington
before moving to the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome at the other end of downtown, where they played for
28 seasons. Like most teams that have replaced venues in recent years, the Metrodome had become
too cramped, too outdated and devoid of premium spaces and amenities designed to generate
revenue. So in 2007 ground was broken for a new stadium at the west end of downtown Minneapolis.
Despite a great deal of debate and consternation about the weather, Twins baseball would once again
be moving outdoors.
Getting to the venue
Situated right downtown, easy road access is provided via I-394 coming from the west, I-94 and I35W
from the north and Hwy 55 from the south. Parking is amply available throughout the downtown core,
with prices starting at $20 in the lots closest to the ballpark. Over 10,000 spaces are available within a
10-15 walk from the venue.
Many fans use the Hiawatha Line light rail, which terminates at the ballpark and runs eastward through
downtown before heading out towards the airport and the Mall of America. Trains run at regular
intervals but get pretty packed before and after the games. Additionally, the team supports biking as a
mode of transportation. Bike routes are scattered throughout downtown, and over 400 bicycle rack
spaces are available steps from the ballpark gates.
Outside the venue
The stadium is located at the west end of downtown, is an anchor of the historic Warehouse District,
and is adjacent to the Target Center, the basketball arena which is the home of the NBA Minnesota
Timberwolves. The Warehouse District is a tightly woven neighborhood of historic structures combined
with some new builds, and is replete with shops, bars, restaurants, many with outdoor patios to
provide a real energy to the neighborhood. On game nights this area hums and thrives with activity.
The large and spacious plaza on the east side of the stadium blends in with the adjoining
neighborhood nicely. A timeline exhibit of all the ballparks in Minneapolis/St. Paul’s history, statues of
team icons Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew, a massive metallic wind veil which
obscures a parking ramp overlooking the plaza and provides a dynamic example of urban art, and 9
tall metal topiary frame statues, which light up for each inning when the game is played, are just a few
of the features worth checking out.
Architecture and seating bowl
The designers of the ballpark stayed away from the old “retro” red brick façade look, as well as the
modern urban design of such venues as Washington’s Nationals Park, and instead mined yellow and
beige limestone from local mines to create a distinctly local look. Add ample splashes of glass and
Target Field represents a ballpark which is truly unique. The light rail station and a commuter rail line
station is integrated right into the stadium’s north side. While the idea of a retractable roof was once
considered and then rejected, a sail like canopy roof runs across the top of the stadium and covers a
good portion of the upper deck seats.
The stadium is divided into three levels of seating, with a suite level above the 200 club seats. The
lower level is further divided into premium spaces closest to the field. The upper deck is divided to offer
fans in the concourses an unfettered view of the seating bowl.
Stadium electronics here include a huge HS video board, ribbon boards which run foul pole to foul
pole across the upper deck fascia, and dot matrix boards for out of town scores, pitchers lines and
message board. The entire presentation adds a great feel and look to the game day experience. The
best view of the skyline can be enjoyed from the third base side seats.
Here is the one negative critique of this ballpark. Due to the dimensions of the land available to build
this ballpark, Target Field sits on the second smallest footprint of any stadium in the majors. The result
is a more vertical than wide structure, and this means that the public spaces aren’t as ample as one
would expect, given a new venue.
What this means is when the ballpark is at full capacity of 40,000, the stadium concourses are heavily
congested. Mind you too, that the team sells standing room tickets when they enjoy sellouts, and this
just adds to the mass of humanity. Hallways are choked and move slowly, and just walking out the
stadium is a chore. Judging from the looks of things, not much can be done to modify or improve the
traffic flow in the building. So it is what it is.
If you can navigate through the crowds, then the trip will be worth it, for the foods and eats here are just
incredible. They serve up such local favorite’s as the Murphy’s Steak Sandwich, served up on ciabatta
bread with melted provolone. The Kramarczuk Sausages are locally made by a Ukrainian butcher and
come smothered with sauerkraut and fried onions. Pork chop on a stick, walleye on a stick, the
Vincent Burger served with smoked gouda, and the Minnesota wild rice soup are must haves. The
regular ballpark fare all have local themes to them, such as Twins Brews, Hennepins Grill, Mill City
Grill and North Shore Creamery.
Several restaurants are available to all ticketed fans, including Hrbek’s, containing many of the player’s
great memorabilia and an outdoor patio, Town Ball Tavern has pub fare and the hardwood of the old
Minneapolis Lakers playing surface provides the floor here, and up top above home plate is the Twins
Pub, where organist Sue Nelson entertains the crowd, while chatting it up with fans and well wishers.
The main clubhouse store is located on the Target Plaza near the 7th street side.
In addition to Jackie Robinson, five Twins, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Rod Carew and
Kirby Puckett have their numbers on display along the fascia of the administration offices which look
over the left field corner. Interestingly, each of the gates are numbered after one of these icons of the
team, a great touch. He Twins’ division, championship and two World Series pennants all proudly fly
high above the stadium atop the outfield bleachers.
Those who are lucky enough to visit the club areas at Target Field will experience what a great living
museum this really is. Behind home plate is the Champions Club, offering access to an opulent
restaurant with a fireplace, multiple food and carving stations, and on the way in the two World Series
trophies of the team are on display.
The dugout boxes, running down the basepaths on each side, offer access to more austere dining
areas. But on the 200 level Legends Club, fans have access to a sit down restaurant, nicely appointed
lounges with relief wood sculptures of Kirby Puckett and Rod Carew, and endless memorabilia
displays. One level up along the suite level, a lengthy display listing all of 11,000 lakes in the State of
Minnesota gives a decidedly local feel to the venue.
Home runs, hits, errors…
Home run… to the USRT Karma, which helped along a three win set in a four game series, of the arch
rival Chicago White Sox. In Sunday’s finale, the Twins plated four runs in the bottom of the 9th for the
improbable 7-6 win. On Saturday, the teams battled between two thunderstorms and got the game in
in under two hours.
Hit… to the baseball card murals, lining a fence along the exterior walkway on the north side of the
Home run… to the LEED certified green building, offering recycling stations, bike racks, and other
amenities designed to reduce the carbon footprint.
Hit… The gates are numbered after the retired numbers of the team’s icons.
Hit… Single game tickets aren’t printed like your ordinary ticketmaster dreck. Each ducat spit out of the
machine is full color with a logo and photo and makes for a souvenir in itself.
Error… Poor traffic patterns. Congested concourses and some tight seating areas. Not good.
Home run… And thanks to Patrick Klinger, VP Marketing for the Twins, for the behind the scenes tour of
the ballpark, and for assisting us with ticket purchases to a very sold out weekend homestand.
What is nice about Target Field is that the venue is opulent and dramatic, yet not overstated. At 40,000
seats it has a bit of an intimate field, but is also very much the edifice of a major ballpark. Great
attention is given to team history, cutting edge technology, game day presentation, terrific food
selection, and the location could not be in a better or more dynamic part of the city. Add the fact that the
venue is deferential towards green initiatives, and the transportation options,including the abundance
of bicycle racks, is a definite plus. About the only thing we have to complain about here is the
congestion and lack of space and subsequent negatives as to fan comfort. But given the whole picture,
the Minnesota Twins’ new stadium pretty much fires on all cylinders.
Fan Support 7.5
Bonus: USRT assist 1.5, Ticket stubs 1, Organ 1, Baseball card murals 1, Warehouse District 1,
National anthem/flag raising 1
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