From the second you got inside Gate 29 (Rod Carew’s gate), it was heavenly.
Perhaps it’s the years and years without outdoor baseball, the stuffy and plain hallways of the Metrodome, or the light green surface they try to pass off as grass. Whatever it is, for Minnesota, this stadium is special, and the Metrodome and those terrible features of it, is a distant memory.
But nothing is above criticism, and the trip to Target Field is no exception. The new home of the Twins had it’s ups and downs on this day, so let’s find out exactly what they were with the grades of Downtown Minneapolis’ 40,000 seat palace.
Atmosphere: Even though people were distracted with the amenities, bells, and whistles, you could tell when you got close to the field, where people were actually paying attention to the game, that the closeness of the seats to the field would be a huge upgrade over the Metrodome. Seats behind home plate are at field level and close all the way down the left and right field lines, not leaving much foul territory, which is completely fine. With most seats facing home plate and all being either close to the action or on top of it, like in left field with the first two decks being all over the left fielder, it will make for a very intimate setting, something the dome never had. GRADE: A-
Concessions: The Twins have upgraded this aspect of their stadium tenfold. They have put in former Twins Kent Hrbek and Frank Viola’s respective restaurants, while also carrying over an upgraded version of their hot dogs and adding a number of different items, including grilled steak sandwiches, state fair classics including cheese curds, and chicken strips. All of the food is much better quality and while some products are slightly more expensive, such as Frankie V’s pizza and beers of course being off the charts, it remains somewhat reasonable for a new stadium with quality food. I had some of the pizza, the new foot long hot dog, and a classic helmet sundae. The pizza was quality and the hot dog was much better than the dome dogs of old. The sundae left something to be desired, but they didn’t have hot fudge, which they will be receiving before the start of the season, so it’s forgivable. One last thing which shows how much the Twins have expanded their concessions: They now offer a stand which sells pastries including cupcakes, along with espresso at the same stand. It might be heaven. GRADE: A
Sights: In a word, fantastic. On the field, the green grass and view of downtown are something that hasn’t been part of the Twin Cities since the old Metropolitan Stadium. Off the field, there are an unbelievable amount of things to find and explore in the actual stadium. In the Legends Club, which is a new addition in between the lower and upper levels of the stadium, there are ridiculous amounts of pictures, murals, stories, and homage-paying to former Twins going on. You feel like you are in a museum, and could easily spend three hours there rather than actually watching the game.
Seats: There definitely isn’t a bad seat in the first two levels around the stadium, particularly in left field, where I believe the second mini-deck of about ten rows above the first deck of bleachers, is the best seat in the house aside from the ones directly behind home plate. The standing-room-only right field reminds you of AT&T Park in San Francisco, and is a great touch to the multi-layered seating around foul-territory and in left field. Once you get above the second deck views get a little rough, but you get what you pay for, and while they may be far away, not every seat can be right on the field. Although there aren’t awesome third deck seats, they are a lot better than the Metrodome’s second deck, so for Twins fans, anywhere is a major upgrade in this park. GRADE: B+
Facilities/Cleanliness: The Metrodome just seemed dirty. Every time you walked in, it just seemed dull, stale, and kind of like a giant sewer was under the dome. To this day, there still might be, as the first base dugout reeks of waste, the smell originating from the rubbery floor of the dugout, but that’s a different story. Target Field was very clean, almost sparkling, which is easy to do when it hasn’t hosted a game yet, but it was still quite a sight. The bathrooms, at least the men’s, were beautiful. They offer individual urinals rather than the trough that Twins fans grew accustomed to at the former establishment. It’s comforting to know that no one is staring at your junk while you’re trying to relieve yourself. If they are, at least they have to try really hard to do so.
Other Things to do at the Stadium: The Metrodome offered literally none of these, so anything will do for this category. But the Budweiser Party Deck, located practically on the roof of the stadium down the left field line, a pub for commoners on the upper deck behind home plate, and extremely well kept team stores and stands are just a few of the extra things around the park. Located by Gate 29 is a team store that is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. every day, so fans don’t have to travel to a pro shop anymore. There is literally something for absolutely everyone, capped off by these extra gold nuggets around the stadium. GRADE: A+
OVERALL: It’s probably not a mystery that I love the stadium. You walk in and you’re literally right there, which is what struck me most about the new digs. It’s no more than 20 yards from the gate to outdoor baseball, a sign of change from the dregs of the Metrodome to the amazing wonders of this new fantastic home of the Twins. It didn’t stop there and I’m completely in love with this stadium. I’ve been deprived, as have all Minnesota baseball fans of a true baseball experience because of the big white teflon monstrosity that is the Metrodome. But now, with the exploring that was done today, the experience that was taken in, and everything that I saw, the Twins have outdone themselves and we finally have what true baseball should be, back in Minnesota.
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