Arriving at Target Field

Yesterday I finally had my opportunity to visit the Minnesota Twins new ballpark, Target Field, for the first time. You know me, I’m a big Twins fan. I have been since the team moved here from Washington D.C. and started playing 50 years ago. I had a couple chances to go to the old Met back in the ’60s when I was a kid; watched whenever I could through the ’70s; suffered through the dome years of the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s (the Metrodome was a football stadium which was converted through the baseball season for baseball. The sight lines were terrible!) This season the Twins are playing in a brand new real baseball stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

When the first drawings of the new ballpark became available, we became very excited to see that the correct baseball sight lines were all built in. No more craning our necks to see the pitcher and batter from just beyond the dugouts. So we were very excited to get the opportunity to come and see the new ballpark and watch our Twins play.

As last year’s autumn wore on and the new ballpark was virtually finished, all we heard was, “There’s not a bad seat in the house!” Good news, huh? But then as spring approached, I started hearing a few rumblings that there might be some “obstructed view seats” in the stadium, just maybe. It soon became clear that those seats, for all intents and purposes, were mainly in the outfield stands. The rest of the stadium would still have wonderful sight lines. But the rest of the stadium, for most of the season, was already sold out! You can still get seats way up in the nosebleed section, or possibly from somebody with season tickets who can’t go to a particular game, but about all that’s left is in the outfield.

Now I can remember sitting in various spots around the Metrodome, and I was aware that there are a few areas where you couldn’t see the entire field, like if you sat right above the right field wall, you might have a little bit of trouble seeing the right fielder and the center fielder at times.

Well, yesterday we went and watched our Twins go down to defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers, but that wasn’t the biggest disappointment. I will show you the biggest disappointment:

Target Field, Section 139, row 11, seat 3, field view before game

See that? We had a fairly good view of the diamond, but we couldn’t see the right fielder in front of us. Both the Twins Michael Cuddyer and the Brewers Corey Hart play too deep for us to see them. And to our right, because of the raised section of seats there, we were totally unable to see either center field or left field. The only way we knew when there was a home

Closeup of the raised overhang section

run hit was by noticing that the batter was jogging around the bases instead of running and stopping at a base! If we wanted to see what happened, we could stand up and try to see the giant scoreboard for the instant replay, if you could see around the spectators in that raised seating section.

And this is a major league stadium? I was sadly disappointed by this development. I know, the organization wanted a new “old-fashioned” ballpark with a “quirk” or two, just like ballparks used to have, but this quirk is very unfortunate. Someone decided it would be a great “quirk” to have a raised section of seats hanging over the top of the outfield wall in right, but this overhang is becoming a headache for fans and players alike.

View during the game

The facing of this overhang is made of the same tan Kasota stone found in many other places around the ballpark, and if a batted ball hits that stone it ricochets violently back to towards the infield. The surfaces of the outfield wall below the overhang are of completely different materials so the fielder has little idea how to play a ball coming out that way.

Well, all in all it wasn’t a bad day for a ball game. It was very warm, but mostly cloudy with a few sprinkles to cool us off. But when the sun came out it was sweltering. As it turns out, there would have been precious little shade in that section until evening, so it’s a good thing we weren’t sitting there on a brightly sun-lit afternoon at

View from the shady right field concourse

90+ degrees with no wind! I think that section would probably have emptied out pretty fast, as people sought shelter in the wonderful open concourses.

I plan on going to another game at Target Field in a couple weeks. Our church has chartered a bus and my daughter Rachel and I will be riding up to watch the Twins take on the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, June 9th. It’s a night game, so I’ll be tired the next day. At least Rachel will be out of school by then, so she will be able to sleep in. The tickets for that game are for the left field stands high up in left center field near the scoreboard. So I’ll get another chance to see what kind of a view there is in that area.

Kirby's Perch - the right field foul pole

Since it’s a night game, we might get a chance to observe the Twins’ newest mascot, Kirby the Kestrel. It’s been said he doesn’t show up for every night game. The speculation is that Kirby only bought the 20-game season ticket package, and that’s why he not always there!

OK, now that I got my grumping off my mind, let me say that it’s a beautiful ballpark, and from what I’ve seen it’s the equal of virtually any ballpark in the major leagues. We’re all very pleased that our Twins now have such a fine facility to play in. For many fans, it’s the first time in their lives that they’ve been able to see a Twins game played outdoors, and there’s something really special about that.