Sunday, March 21, 2010

No snow on Target Field

It's just a tarp, protecting the real grass of the new Twins ballpark.
Stan and Kathleen got a sunny preview today of Target Field as well as a chance to sit in their seats over on the first base side. Why there? Kathleen preferred a good view into the home team dugout over this spectacular downtown skyline view from the opposite side. She's really into the game, understand. Wants to steal Gardy's signals.
The red X in the above photo marks the spot where we'll be sitting for at least a half dozen games. Click to enlarge the image if you can't see it.
The ballpark architecture is stunning, to say the least. It took three hours of wandering and gawking to try to take in the spectacular views and intricate design features that attempt to maximize sight lines and give everyone an intimate sense of involvement with America's game.

There's something for everyone here. The ballpark mimics the class stratification structure of a traditional European horse track, the sport of kings, where the elite are separated from the unwashed, and the middle class sits in the middle and the lords have their rightful place and so on.
There are simple numbered aluminum benches in the left-field and a towering nosebleed section in center that gives the thrifty climber an amusement park sensation of vertigo. Contrast that to the plush and heated club levels where today ordinary folk could tread and marvel but soon will be barred without an expensive membership card.
An additional private corporate suite level -- Stan nicknamed Area 51 -- doesn't show up on the maps and the public escalators discreetly whisk past it without stopping. We could only speculate how one might find and achieve entrance to this posh windowed hideaway sandwiched between the terrace and the main concourse levels.
It is an efficient way to maximize return on investment based on ability to pay. The Twins management said they needed a new ballpark to be able to soak the corporate rich just enough to afford larger player salaries. This layout should allow them to maximize receipts without penalizing the little people. All good. The same baseball game is viewed from every seat.
We went behind the home plate backstop and sat in first-class cushioned highback chairs, (left) imagining newly-re-signed St. Paul boy Joe Mauer taking a 184 million dollar swing a few feet away. Joe was hard at work in Florida today. We know, because we watched him get a base hit on an absolutely massive high-definition television screen towering over center field. The live surround sound felt very intimate.

We stopped at Hrbek's. Mr. Hrbek wasn't in.
When it was time to eat, we found a cozy spot in the heated Legends Club and ordered a Murray's steak sandwich with garlic toast for $10.50. We were amazed. It was actually an excellent steak sandwich that you would pay $10.50 for outside the ballpark. Delicious. Served up by "volunteer" labor, earning donations for their children's dance lessons. What a country! The garlic toast was the size of a melba slice, but my, how spicy! We highly recommend the Murray's product, as well as the ice cream -- they call it gelato or something and we split a double dip for $5.
There are a number of intimate liquor bars high over the press box with heat and wide close-able picture windows that are going to be packed at game time, we predict. Then there is the Budweiser rooftop bar, which will be great for sun tans and beer drinking and baseball. We didn't take the elevator up there. Just too much everywhere else to see. The bathrooms were respectful, no galvanized cattle troughs. You could wash your hands in warm water. The toilets were green: two speed. That's very European but it is going to take some toilet training before we Norwegians get it figured out. We predict a batch of Ole and Lena "Big Flush" and "Little Flush" jokes soon.

The press box wasn't open to the public today. It had been open for the elite championship tour held earlier for fat cats, but they were serving them drinks and the cats started spilling things and making a mess so they just shut it down for today's Sabbath group, we were told.
Imagine -- spilled booze in the press box. Goodness!
This is one great ballpark, just no doubt about it. Well done. It will take a long time to get to really know it, there is so much to it.
Drive to it or take the light rail? Parking is confusing as hell. Clueless, we opted for Garage B. When we got there, it was blocked off for construction. We doubled back around some one-way streets then past Target Center (not to be confused with Target Field) and re-entered what we hoped would be Garage A and a good place to park.
A Somali ticket guy ($5) advised that Level 3 was best for Twins if we could only find a place and we bumbled around the concrete and steel maze, eventually just following somebody wearing a Twins ball cap. And this was on a Sunday morning when there is no traffic to speak of downtown. We may chicken out next time and take the light rail. We can handle a Bloomington park and ride lot. Or maybe a taxi from Danny's downtown condo.
Hey. Want to go out to the ballgame? Ask Kathleen for tickets. If she can't get you in, at least now she can direct you to the box office. And ask her why they call a left-handed pitcher a southpaw. Hint: The answer makes sense, now that we're playing baseball outdoors again.

Comment from nephew Adam Jerdee via email Monday:
We Iowagians just might hit you folks up on Target Field tips, like where to park. We thought we might bring baby boy Jerdee up and maybe hit a baseball game this summer. I actually remember going to a game in the old Metropolitan Stadium with my Dad in the late 70s. It’s nice to see they are going back to the good old outdoor field, but with style.
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becky at abbeystyle said...

Impressive! No wonder Miss Katie wanted to get back.

Lorlee said...

Yeah -- your snow was in Dallas. We had 3 inches on Sunday morning. Melted by evening. You just need to keep that stuff up there.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Twins dugout is now on the 1st base side. There is more room for a larger clubhouse, training area, workout area, etc. She can still 3rd base coach Scott Ullger signs, but not Gardy's!!