Stan and Kathleen joined the crowds exploring the new Target Field ballpark during its first major league exhibition game tonight. It was a night of firsts, with Denard Span getting the first major league home run . . . and first triple. . . and first hit in the new venue.
Above, after sitting out 2009 with Tommy John surgery, Brooklyn Park boy Pat Neshak got a chance to show off his unorthodox delivery during the eighth inning. He was in the running to be a closer now that Joe Nathan is out, but after giving up five hits last night, maybe now not so much. (Click on the photo to enlarge: there are two Cardinals on base and the batter is a millisecond away from getting a hit. This is the view of the action you get while standing on the concourse putting mustard on your hot dog. Very nice, perfect for those with short attention spans who just can't seem to stay seated.)
Despite predictions of precepitation, the weather cooperated nicely. Cloudy but pleasant, no rain. The sun even made a brief appearance just before nightfall. The wind put a snap in the flag and made the wind veil behind it, one of the largest pieces of public art in Minnesota, dance magnificently. Somehow there was no wind in the stands; the friendly structure sheltered the fans effectively. The acoustics are great, the crack of the bat reverberates convincingly throughout the intimate structure.
Below, Susie and Barry of Burnsville, our enthusiastic neighbors in Section 103, mugged for their keepsake photo after quizzing us on Target Field trivia. Did you know:
- The wood floor in the Town Ball Tavern is the actual floor from the Minneapolis Armory, the last home of the Minneapolis Lakers prior to their move to Los Angeles.
- Larger than life-size bronze statues of Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew were created by local artist Bill Mack.
- The videoboard is the fourth largest in the major leagues.
- The overlook seating area cantilevers eight feet over the playing field in right.
- Kentucky Bluegrass covers Target Field.
- The original flag pole from the Old Met has found a new home on Target Plaza.
Susie and Barry knew all this because they read the Fan Guide. But what's not in the Fan Guide? Susie asks: So where was the flagpole kept during the years between the Old Met and Target Field? Don't know, do ya. Well, our new friends informed us, it was used as the flagpole at the Richfield American Legion. The Club donated it back to the Twins to fly Old Glory at the new ballpark.
Remember, you read that here, it's not in the Official Fan Guide.