30 by 30: Target Field

The Park: Target Field

The Games: 9/20- MIN 4, KC 3 and 9/21- MIN 5, KC 12

This was an especially exciting trip for me; I got to check Target Field off my list with my best friend of 22 years. I often do these ballpark trips alone, which is something I thoroughly enjoy as I feel more inclined to get outside my comfort zone, meeting new people and trying new things. However, getting to spend a weekend with a friend who’s been by my side for almost my entire life and experience this park with her was something I’ll always cherish. I had an idea somewhere along the line of these visits to make a jean jacket filled with patches I got at each ballpark. Annie helped me bring that vision to life and made it her mission at our first game to find and buy me a Twins’ patch right away. So grateful to have gotten to see another park, and to do it with such a special person in my life. If you’re planning a visit or want to know what Target Field is like, here’s everything (I think) you should know!

Atmosphere: TRIPLE

Before setting foot in Minnesota, it had never occurred to me that Target Field was sponsored by THE Target. As in: go for one thing, leave with 20 Target. But as soon as I got to the ballpark, it was hard to ignore. My first impression of the Twins’ home field was that it is modern. Not to say that modern is a bad thing, but it doesn’t have the feel of an old-time ballpark. In fact, my first impression was that it reminded me a lot of the new Yankee Stadium. After a quick Google, my instinct was proven correct. Target Field and Yankee Stadium actually share the same architect (Populous), who has designed many a Major and Minor League ballpark. Beyond the actual structure of the park, Target Field and Yankee Stadium had no similarities. The Twins’ field felt homier, more authentic, and certainly more welcoming. The abundance of Target logos and branding covering nearly every inch of the park was off-putting, but it’s almost expected in most ballparks these days.

I went to two of the four games of the series vs. the Royals, sitting in different sections each night. For the first night, we sat in the “nose-bleeds.” Though these seats often get a bad rap, I like being able to see every inch of the field, and to have a big-picture view of everything happening at once. On the second night, we sat in what I can only imagine are considered the bleacher seats. Dubbed the “Home Run Porch”, the crowd was very enthusiastic and friendly. Don’t sit here if you don’t like heights or plan on having more than a few beers as the stairs are quite steep and unforgiving.

Surrounding Area: TRIPLE

When I told Twitter I’d be heading to Minneapolis for the first time and was looking for recommendations on what to do/see while there, most people warned me there wasn’t much to do around the park. Now, it’s certainly no Fenway or Wrigley, with a distinct area or street with bars for fans to flood pre and postgame, but there was no shortage of breweries and bars to choose from within walking distance.

Over the course of two days, we tried the following: Freehouse, First Draft, Fulton Brewery, Graze Food Hall and Bunkers. The first three seemed to be the most sports-oriented. Great beer selections at each, and you were the odd-one out if you weren’t sporting some sort of baseball gear. First Draft is a self-service taproom where you exchange your ID and credit card for a wrist band that enables you to access any of the 40 taps throughout the building. You’re given the freedom to pour 32 ounces, with the potential to pour more granted they deem you sober enough. Graze was an interesting environment- good food selection and an OK beer list at the bar. Definitely not the classic sports bar vibe though if that’s what you’re looking for. After the game on Saturday, we headed to Bunkers for live music. Again, not so much a sporty vibe but a really fun bar (with free popcorn!)

Food/Drink: TRIPLE

Being a vegetarian at a ballpark usually means fries, peanuts, and pretzels. Don’t get me wrong- there’s nothing wrong with any of those, but it’s nice to have options. I was excited to see that Target Field carried both a vegan hot dog and a vegan burger, but equally as disappointed when the vegan dog sold out both two nights I was there. My friend got the vegan burger and was satisfied but not impressed. While visiting the Midwest, I was told I must try cheese curds. Not wanting to disappoint the friendly Midwesterners, I had to oblige. I’ll be honest: I was underwhelmed. Perhaps it’s because I don’t really eat cheese anymore, and they certainly weren’t as fresh as could be. Maybe there’s a future for cheese curds and me, but not with the ones at Target Field.

Traditions:

As far as I could tell, there were no in-game rituals or traditions played out by the fans. A fun (albeit an obvious one, I suppose) fact I did learn was that the name of the team originates from the “Twin Cities” nickname. Calvin Griffith, the owner at the time, wanted to name the team the “Twin Cities Twins”, in an attempt to make fans from both Minneapolis and St. Paul feel included. Mr. Griffith’s idea was vetoed, but the Twins kept “TC” for their logo.

Bottom line:

I’d go back to Target Field in a heartbeat. It was fairly easy to buy tickets, getting to and from the park is simple, there’s plenty to eat and drink within walking distance, and the park itself is well-designed and perfect for watching a ballgame. And if going into the park isn’t your thing, the train station outside has a massive TV screen with ample benches and grass for a much less expensive ballpark outing.

Follow me on Twitter @mollyburkhardt!

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