Target Field – Minnesota Twins
Right on Target
In 2010, Minnesota returned to outdoor baseball with the opening of Target Field, replacing the Metrodome and its plastic fence. Twins fans celebrated by selling out the first season and most of the second, but as the luster of the new ballpark faded and the team enjoyed little success, attendance dropped accordingly. Some changes for 2018 season along with a young lineup that enjoyed a brief playoff appearance might turn things around, but for now, tickets are still easy to get. Which is great news for stadium journeyers; as Target Field is one of the best ballparks around, with a downtown location, easy transit access, countless food choices, and an incredible amount of history on display. If only the locals appreciated what they have.
Food & Beverage 5
There are so many options here that it would take the entire review to list them all. Many of the concessions are Minnesota-based, such as Kramarczuk’s Sausages, made fresh daily just a mile from the stadium. Bratwurst and Polish sausages are $9, $1.50 more than a typical brat at the usual concession stands. Other homegrown favorites include Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich, Murray’s Smoked Beef, or Turkey to Go, a deal at $8. Hot Indian Foods offers Chicken Tikka and Tofu Vindaloo in a rice bowl or salad, while the Loon Café’s Red River Chili is a good way to warm up on a chilly night. One additional note – all Wednesday games are dollar dog days.
Target Field also offers several bars and grills, with Bat and Barrel the most impressive. The former Metropolitan Club is now rebranded and open to all fans, which is a welcome change as the area holds the two World Series trophies that the Twins won in 1987 and 1991. Located in the right field corner, it is really a large sports bar with a decent menu, including some relative bargains such as sliders for $10. Other sit-down eateries include Hrbek’s behind home plate and Town Ball Tavern on the second level above left field.
Budweiser products can be found at most stands, with small beers going for $8.50 and large for a dollar more. A better bet for craft beer fans is Drafts at 34, a stand just inside Gate 34 that features 22 draft beers for $11.50. Pepsi is the soft drink provider, with bottles going for $6 (water is a buck less) and fountain drinks for $6, with souvenir cups costing $8 (add five bucks for a refill). The designated driver program can be found near Section 130 on the Main Concourse and 222 on the Terrace.
The best thing you can do is to pick up a concession guide at customer service as soon as you get in; this pocket-sized menu lists all the concessions and their locations giving you the best chance to choose something to your liking.
As you arrive at Target Field, you might be confused by the gate numbering, which starts at 3 in center field, then 6 behind left field, 14 at home plate, 29 in right field next to the main box office and 34 that leads to the right field plaza. Each of these represents a retired number and is an immediate indication of how seriously the Twins take their team’s history. At each gate, a statue of the player who wore that number can also be found, so walk around before or after the game to see them all. In order, those are Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Rod Carew, and Kirby Puckett.
Gate 29 is also where you will see a statue of Calvin Griffith, the man who orchestrated the team’s relocation from Washington in 1961. As well, there is a display of photographs on glass documenting all the past ballparks used in the area here, plus a “Fence of Fame” as you make your way to the gate.
Inside, Kelly green seats can be found in most sections, but there are a couple of spots where the seats have wooden backs: the Club on the second level, and the seats on the main level above right field, dubbed Treasure Island Cove for now. Cup holders are available at all seats.
Above center field is the iconic Minnie and Paul sign that lights up for every Twins homer. The logo was created for the Twins first season in Minnesota and it is quite impressive to see it retained over 50 years later. Meanwhile, the original flagpole from the team’s first home in Metropolitan Stadium can be found in the right field plaza.
The Minneapolis skyline can be seen stretching from beyond center field to right field as well, so choose a seat on the third base side to take full advantage of this scene.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, the Twins raised the height of the protective netting above the dugouts from seven feet to nine feet and extended the netting beyond the dugouts down both foul lines to cover sections 1-17. Even the lower rows of the 100 sections between the bases will have the netting in their way, but it uses thin strands, a knotless intersection, and green hues so that it is barely noticeable.
A video board measuring 100 feet long by 57 feet high is above left center field. When it was installed in 2010 it was the fourth largest in the majors, but since then, 9 teams have installed larger boards so it ranks 12th. Still an impressive sight with plenty of stats and information to keep you occupied during the game. A smaller board is above the grandstand in right field, which has some of the steepest seating I have seen at a big league park.
One of the unique touches here is a wind veil sculpture in the parking garage behind right field. It covers up what would be an eyesore and also moves as the breeze passes through, creating an interesting effect.
Target Field is located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis in a neighborhood known as the North Loop. There are dozens of bars and eateries within a short walk, some of them part of national chains such as Brothers Bar and Grill, while others are single-location entities, with Kieran’s Irish Pub a good spot to visit. The area is still undergoing a process of renovation, but it is entirely safe and clean.
In terms of attractions, the Minneapolis Farmers Market is open daily from 6 AM to 1 PM and is just a half-mile away, a good spot to visit before an afternoon game.
The Mill City Museum is housed in ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill next to Mill Ruins Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. An interesting tour takes place on a grain elevator and excellent views from the rooftop. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Walker Art Center are two popular destinations for art lovers in town.
The Foshay Museum and Observation Deck were built in 1929 just before the big stock market crash. It is similar in structure to the Washington Monument in that it narrows as you move to the top. Although it is now the W Hotel, the observation deck on the 32nd floor is still open to the public. There is also a small museum that provides a detailed history of the tower and its builder, Wilbur Foshay, who was famously ruined in the crash.
The Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States and the ideal place if in town with the family. The mall provides indoor rollercoasters and amusement rides south of town in Bloomington (on site of the Twins former home Metropolitan Stadium, loom for home plate in Nickelodeon Universe).
The Hampton Inn and Suites is the closest hotel just a couple of minutes from Gate 29 and reasonably priced, especially if you are able to snag a deal on Hotwire or Priceline.
The main problem with Target Field is that Twins fans seem to have tired of it. Of course, missing the playoffs every year from 2011-2016 (and then playing a single game on the road in 2017) is not the best way to encourage turnout, but the ballpark is an attraction in itself. Certainly, the fans that do show up are friendly and well behaved, but they were seemingly outnumbered by visiting fans from Canada at the two games I attended where the Blue Jays were the opposition. It has to be a downer for the home team when the chant heard more clearly is one for the opposition. C’mon Twins fans, you have one of the best ballparks in the nation, get out and enjoy it!
Getting here is quite easy for travelers who fly in, as the Light Rail’s Blue Line goes straight from the airport to Target Field in less than 30 minutes. The Green Line from St. Paul also serves the ballpark. If you insist on driving, there are plenty of affordable parking lots within minutes of the stadium.
Although Target Field has the second smallest footprint in the majors behind AT&T Park, the concourse is surprisingly wide and with attendance at 40% of capacity, easy to navigate. There are no issues with waiting at either concessions or restrooms.
Ramps and escalators allow easy access to other levels, and there are plenty of elevators for those who need assistance moving from one concourse to another.
Return on Investment 4
The Twins have five game types ranging from Extra Value through to Elite (Value, Select, Premium are the others), and 24 seating options. The cheapest seats are $7 for Extra Value games and $25 for Elite. If you just want to get into the ballpark, a standing room ticket to the Budweiser Roof Deck is another option, though prices are similar to the cheapest tickets.
Although the Twins offer some of the cheapest premium tickets in the majors, the cost of food is above average, so as much as I like Target Field, there is still room to make it more affordable.
Interestingly, the 2018 MLB Fan Cost Index (which calculates the combined cost of four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking, and two caps) ranks the Twins 12th in the majors with an average cost of $237.72, a 9% rise over 2017, second largest in the majors, Frankly, I find the FCI somewhat misleading as there are so many ways to save money that are ignored (such as dollar dog Wednesdays here and the secondary market everywhere) so that it is best taken as a general overview.
This is where Target Field really shines. There are so much memorabilia and other historical features here that you should show up when gates open and take a leisurely walk around in the hopes of seeing it all. Unfortunately, some of the displays are in the Club area so you would need a ticket for that (or take a stadium tour) but even without that, there is enough here to keep any baseball fan in awe.
The features outside the park such as the statues and historical elements are a great way to start, and then the World Series trophies highlight a number of displays inside Bat & Barrel. In between this area and the Club is a small lobby that contains Minimalist Ballparks by S. Preston, a collection of prints with each showing an iconic part of a different MLB stadium. Panoramic photos of every ballpark can be found here too, as well as a detailed model of Target Field, and a photo gallery of its construction.
Along the main concourse, you will find logos for each of the three All-Star Games held in the area. There is also a display highlighting Kirby Puckett’s heroics in the 1991 World Series, including the seat in which in Game 6-winning home run landed.
In the Town Ball Tavern are photos of local ballparks, plus a section on Black Baseball that feature four African-American teams that played in the early part of the 20th century.
Finally, the Minnie and Paul sign that dominates center field is a perfect way to celebrate the team’s history as well as its present.
Baseball should be played outdoors, and although there are going to be some cold nights and rain delays, it is all worth it when you can enjoy an afternoon game in perfect weather. The Twins have several Wednesday afternoon affairs this season and if you are planning a trip there, including one of those on your itinerary if you can. A recent online ballpark website ranked Target Field 5th in the majors and I’d have to agree. It checks all the boxes for most sports travellers: public transit access, affordable tickets, history on display, food variety, and friendly staff. It may be called underrated, but once you visit, you will realize that Target Field hits the bullseye.
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Latest Crowd Reviews
One of the top 10 ballparks in the major leagues: great food, skyline views, access, and ticket prices. The Twins also do a fabulous job of honoring its history with statues, retired jerseys, and memorable moments.
As a traveler, the ballpark was very easy to access, and the Target Field will be remember by me,as the first place, I ate Walleye.