This is So Minnesotan

I don’t recall being a concerned with the weather as I was the day before the first game at Target Field. Things looked bleak a few hours before the game, but I suppose I deserve that tension for being of the opinion that the new ballpark should not have a atmosphere-killing retractable roof. When Belinda Jensen said the game would be on I was on the road to the first Twins game at Target Field.

My first reaction to the stadium filled to near-capacity was how Minnesotan the whole thing looked. From the giant “Welcome” sign to the State Fair-like free flow of people through the concourses throughout the game, I can’t think of a better representation of the state I have lived in for the past 28 years. After all, what is more Minnesotan than a couple of friendly-looking guys shaking hands after a home run?

There is really very little that is “retro” about Target Field. To someone who is used to seeing only teflon above, the very fact that my eyes could wander to things like clouds or the Minneapolis skyline could certainly be characterized as a quaint luxury of days gone by. Beyond that, however, it seems as though the days of the retro baseball cathedrals might be over. Target Field is very much a product of the 21st century. It is, after all, little more than a venue designed for regular people to look on as wealthy men as they play a boy’s game.

To that end, the Twins and the architects of Target Field did things right. All the amenities are there. The seats are more comfortable and face home plate, the concourses are wider, the heaters above the standing room sections are warm, and the variety and quality of food that was sorely lacking in the old stadium all add to the ambiance of a major league ballgame in 2010.

The experience was not without its problems. The parking/public transportation issue is going to need some work. I am not sure how long fans will put up with the 10-15 minute wait for a steak sandwich. There seemed to be a shortage of ushers who chase away people who meander along the rails blocking someone’s view – and apparently the outfield bleacher sections did not get the memo that opposing home runs still count even if you throw the ball back onto the field (I was, however, pleasantly surprised that the evening was wave-less).

There was, of course, a game being played. I am usually of the opinion that the game is the thing. In this instance, however, there was too much to see. I will go back to keeping score when the game counts. The best part of my first experience on this evening was the walk I took with my son during the sixth and seventh innings. We made our way around the lower level, stopping every so often to take in the game from a new angle. In this venture we were not alone. There was a steady stream of people wandering the concourse from start to finish. It wasn’t hard to find a good SRO spot because nobody lingered in any one place too long. I don’t know if fans will settle in as the novelty of the ballpark fades, but I hope not.

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