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Park 54 Where Are You?

July 20, 2010 - Al Stephenson

That would be Target Field in Minneapolis.  I returned home about an hour ago after taking in an Indians-Twins game last night.  Thus Target Field becomes the 54th different major league stadium that I have visited.  It also becomes the third different park to serve as the home of the Twins.

During my 1978 visit to the Twin Cities, Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington was the venue for the Twins and a part of it still exists.  The stadium was located where the Mall of America currently sits.  Two items from the old "Met" are located in the amusement park in the center of the mall.  A red seat from the old stadium hangs from the wall in the amusement park.  I'm guessing that many people do not even see it.  Those that do will want to read the plaque located well below it.

Harmon Killebrew hit a 520 foot home run at the Met that went well into an unoccupied portion of the upper deck.  The seat was painted red and never sold again and now sits in the MOA.  A replica of home plate sits on the floor of the park, though a security guard told me that it is a few feet from the site of the old plate.  I wonder how many people notice it.

The old Metrodome is still in operation as the Vikings call it home though they would prefer to move out.  It was a bright cheery place for a domed stadium, but had one serious problem.  It was a domed stadium.  The game of baseball is meant to be played outdoors and Target Field is beautiful.

My wife and I sat next to a young couple who were season ticket holders and we had some interesting conversations as the game went along.  When I suggested that a retractable roof might have been a wise investment, they had an interesting tax story that explains why the roof is not there.

It seems the only ones paying taxes for the new park are the residents of Hennepin County (which includes the Twin Cities).  The city politicos said that if people wanted a roof, fans from outlying counties could cough up the extra money.  That didn't happen - nor did the roof.  That may be a problem come September as it was in April and May.

For this night though the weather was beautiful and for me personally it was fun to watch the Tribe smash 20 hits, score 10 runs and extend their winning streak to five games since the All Star break.  I know it's too little, too late, but it's still fun to watch your team win.

The lady beside me, who is about to launch a teaching career soon, was playing TWINGO.  It's the Twins version of bingo and the card is filled with scoring displays.  Some are common such as F-9 or 6-4-3, but many are unusual such as K, PB.  Batter strikes out and the catcher misses the ball allowing a runner to advance and you get to mark the space.  I'm not sure what you win if you get a TWINGO but she seemed to be having fun playing.

If there is one complaint that I might have concerning the ballpark it would be the cost of concessions.  It is no worse than any other stadium I guess, but I had to try the Vincent Burger.  A French chef who has a restaurant called Vincent's has brought his signature burger to the park.  It has smoked Gouda cheese in it and was big and tasty, but $12 for a burger?  Yikes.  Maybe I should have had walleye on a stick ($11) or a pork chop on a stick ($9).  Either way I would have to wash it down with a $5 soda!

The view from my seat suggests that Target Field is worth a visit if you get up that way.  Tickets are hard to come by as Twin fans fill the park every evening.  

One suggestion.  Try StubHub.  I got my ticket there and it only cost me a dollar more than my burger. 


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