So, remember that trip I mentioned in my last post? Well, today was the day it started, and I spent most of my morning looking at this:
…I took a flight (with Natalie) from New York to Washington, and from there a flight to, if you haven’t guessed by now, Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was the first of a 7-day trip where I was hitting 4 stadiums. Which stadiums? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out. Eventually, we arrived in Minneapolis, and took the light rail to the hotel: …and to save you from boredom, we checked in to the hotel, walked around downtown, snapped a few photos, and were waiting around for game time at 7, gates opened at 5. Of course, around 2:30, it started to rain.
I was worried that BP would be cancelled, but we were still technically on *vacation*, so I hoped for the best and kept going. We grabbed a bite to eat relatively near Target Field, and then, it was time for the game. I approached the stadium from the back end: … and moved closer around the concourse outside: … to Gate 6: … check out the cool door handles on the gates: Nice.
Until we got here.
I was a little confused. You would think that with a new stadium being built, they would make sure that you could easily walk around the entire outside concourse of the ballpark. At least I would if I was designing one. So I kept following the area:
In order, those are – a set of memorial plaques dedicated to everyone who built Target Field, a pretty cool looking statue of Kirby Puckett, and a statue of Harmon Killebrew. Then, we passed a small, oddly placed ticket window, and the “Golden Glove,” a place for a great photo opportunity:
I kept making my way around, past the plaza –
The architecture at Target Field is pretty unique. Overall, I’d say I liked it:
And here was the incredibly long line to get inside:
For those of you in Minnesota, is it always like this? I’m used to New York City where the line is a mile long and people cut you at 5:09 when the gates open at 5:10 even though you got there an hour early to be second in line and get in before everyone else.
I ran inside, past Target Plaza, and wound up in the first section of seats I saw here:
…and the cages were up! This instantly changed my mood. The Twins were hitting, and I quickly missed out on two home runs that landed in the section to the right of mine. Here was the view to my right:
…and I then moved to the section where the usher in the previous photo was cleaning the seats off. Later on, I got Glen Perkins, pictured in the bottom as the balding guy with his hands on his knees, to look at me:
I asked him for a ball, and I noticed that when he was about to chuck one up to me, a ball was sailing towards my section, slamming off the wall. My gut instinct was to look towards the ball coming at me, so Perkins changed his mind and threw it back towards the infield. Sigh.
I looked over to my right:
And moved to the section where the boy in the blue jacket was standing. He just caught 2 balls in about thirty seconds and a lot of balls were headed in that direction, so I made my move. Here was my *new* view to my right:
Look at all that running space! I hung out here for the majority of the duration of Twins BP, and I kept barely missing homers. They kept falling just short of clearing the wall. I’m telling you, if it was a little warmer and humid, I’d have had about 7 or 8 balls uncontested. But it was rainy and cold, and I was still scoreless. Towards the end of Twins BP, I got Josh Roenicke to toss me my first ball of the day, and I was on the board for Target Field:
(More on him later), and thought it would be cool to get a ball from him. So I put most – not all – of my focus on him, and tried to get one. I even asked him in Spanish. It seems that he has a fear of hurting fans by tossing up, because for me and everyone else he threw the ball up in a random, open area of seating and then people would make a mad dash for the ball. So, after a few of these, I decided not to try anymore. Anyone else notice this with Ortiz?
Here’s a shot of me hanging out:
It was a line shot, and given the overhang of the upper deck above me, I’m surprised the ball landed where it did. Later on, I was ready for when Ortiz was hitting. I was also sitting on 99 career balls. I needed one more for 100.
See where this is going?
I positioned myself in the aisle in between the first two sections. I also, for some reason, was imagining Natalie getting hit by a ball and me not being able to help her. She was sitting 4 rows behind me, checking her phone. Ortiz lined a hard one to my left, so I ran over and tried to snag it but someone’s hand got in the way of my glove and the ball fell harmlessly back to the field. He looked at me as if it was my fault, when he was the one who charged at me, gloveless, knocking my hand from the catch. The nerve. Anyway, since I was moved away from the aisle, wouldn’t you know it – Ortiz’s next hit was a liner directly at Natalie. All I could do was watch the ball soar into the seats, since the steps were too awkwardly steep, and the railing was also in the way for me to get there in time, and I watched the ball smack off her leg, fly back over my head, and back on to the field. I was more concerned about her leg, but also thought about the memorable story I’d have for ball No. 100 if I snagged it off the carom. She had a nice little bruise going, but I forgot to take a picture of it.
The rest of BP, I lingered in the same area for a while. The left field bleachers were too crowded, and I felt like it was pointless to head over there. Also, I had a lot of room to myself where I was, only there was one problem: Nobody was hitting anything out.
Eventually though, there was a group with just righties hitting and I headed over here:
I also spent the rest of the time chatting it up with some guy from Wisconsin who was a Red Sox fan. He was more into autographs, and I was into baseballs. For some reason, I didn’t manage to snap a picture of/with him, but take my word for it, we talked. We were hanging out here:
But the Red Sox pitching coach came out, and tossed my new acquaintance the ball after I asked for it. BP was now officially over, so it was time to explore. I walked allllll the way up to the left field corner of the stadium, mainly because I was incredibly cold and wet, and wanted to take advantage of the “fire pit” that the Twins have up in the Budweiser porch-deck-terrace-whatever:
Nice. Cool. Awesome. I still couldn’t believe I had made it out here. It was the furthest west in the United States I’ve ever been so far, and I was having a good time. I then snapped a typical panoramic photo shot of Target:
For the record – if you read some of my other posts from Marlins Park and Tropicana, etc., you’ll see I’m taking pictures with numbers. My goal is to see all 30 stadiums, and after this trip I would be up to #13. This one is 7, because for some reason when I visited Olympic Stadium last summer, to make a long story short, I took a picture with a #7 sign there, even though a major league team doesn’t play there. Therefore, after visiting all 30 parks, I’d be left with 31 pictures. Therefore, I replaced that one with this picture. Get it? Got it? Good. Here’s a shot of me and Natalie:
I made my way around to right field and took a shot of Target Plaza:
Although I will admit, it is a pretty layout they have going here:
And since the Sox were leading off the 1st, I wanted to try and catch a home run in Target Plaza. I had a chance in the 1st inning with Ellsbury and Ortiz, so we hung out there for a bit. There, they have the original flagpole from Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Twins before the HHH Metrodome:
…cool. If you’re ever in Minnesota, the original home plate is in the Mall of America, located in Toys R’ Us, I believe (correct me if I’m wrong). I didn’t have time to check out the mall though; I was only in Minnesota for one night. Walking around the concourse, I noticed you can grab one of these if you happen to get hungry:
OR, you could wolf down one of these “nacho helmets”:
Instead of going to our seats right away, which were much lower than the ones pictured:
I decided to go for a foul ball. The section I was in was moderately empty, plus with the hard-throwing Clay Buchholz and a lefty hitting Twins lineup, what the heck. After a few innings though, people were showing up so we moved. I did, however, grab a shot of the Twins “retired numbers” wall:
…does anyone actually order these? My guess is yes, since it’s still open. I didn’t see one with any though. Long story short, I did not catch a home run. I did however, come close to catching Pedro Florimon’s home run in the bottom of the 3rd inning. It barely cleared the wall, if you watch the replay, but it bounced straight up in the air and it was a dash for it after that. I narrowly missed out on it. After the game, I headed here:
One thing Natalie happened to notice…. See the 2nd deck in right? Here it is if you can’t remember:
On our way home, we walked back to our hotel, and I took this picture of some corporate business building, but it looked cool:
On to CHICAGO!!!
I didn’t have time in the hotel, so I took the following photo on the plane:
I’ll make a post with the black light views after all the trip posts. I didn’t have time for the black light on the trip.
- 2 balls at this game
- 99 career balls (STILL closing in on 100!)
- 22 straight MLB games with a ball