Ballpark Orientation

I loved the Metrodome, I really did. I admit, it wasn’t the greatest knowing that we’d have to spend our warm, sunny July days indoors to watch a Twins game, but it also meant that those crummy, snowy Opening Days weren’t postponed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely been excited for Target Field to open, but I never really understood why the Metrodome drew so much criticism from baseball fans. Granted, an issue was that I wasn’t alive to know what it was like to watch a game at Metropolitan Stadium, and watching a St. Paul Saints game just isn’t the same (it’s not even close). Therefore, I figured that I would definitely be in awe of Target Field, but I’d still miss the Metrodome.

Let me tell you something though. It was about 30 degrees Thursday night, the park was dimly lit…and I wouldn’t have cared. As soon as I saw the field, I had one thought cross my mind. The Metrodome’s got NOTHING on this.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was told that no matter how high you set your expectations, Target Field would exceed them. I have to admit, the guy that told me this was absolutely correct. Everything looks amazing, from the wind veil sculpture on Target Plaza, the short 6-7 ft. pine trees just beyond the center field fence, the Budweiser roof deck, the ability to see the field from the concession stands, and much more.

Now I have some good news and some bad news. First, I have plenty of pictures. However, in respect to the Twins organization, I’m going to only post about three or four of them here. I understand that this is frustrating to read, but I’m doing this partially because I was reminded twice to not post these on the Internet (which I’m obviously going to ignore in a few minutes, but to an extent), and because I want to keep my usher job long enough for me to actually work at a game. I do promise that once the Twins play their first exhibition game (or home opener, I’m undecided), I will release all of them onto this blog. I figure that after either of those games, fans will be posting their own pictures online anyway, thus making me feel much less guilty to posting the rest of mine.

As a peace offering, I’ve decided to help orient all of you to the nuances of the new ballpark, since it will be much different than the Metrodome. I suppose if you’re really impatient, you can just skip to the end, but I still feel that this middle part that you’d be ignoring is still useful to read.

For future reference, when I talk about certain levels, this is what I’m talking about.

Target Field will feature multiple escalators and elevators, all for public use. There are also stairs, but the public is encouraged to only use them for exiting the stadium at the end of games.

Instead, the public will have the elevators and escalators for use during the game. From what I saw, it appears that each of these locations will have 3 escalators. If I remember correctly, they will all run up before the game, some will go up and some will go down during the game, and all will go down at the end of the game. Also, these escalators will not reach the suite level of the stadium, they’ll only go to the main and terrace levels (read: 100, 200, and 300 level seats) and additionally the club level in the outfield (200 and 300 level seats).

Those yellow numbers are how many elevators are available at each of those spots. Another thing you should know about is that unlike the Metrodome, you can’t just walk around the entire stadium regardless of what level you’re on. I’ll explain by using the virtual pictures of Target Field from the Twins website below. Walking around the entire field will only be possible on the main level…

… but not on the other three levels for various reasons. First off, the main level is the only one that complete surrounds the field. Second, the club level has the Legend’s Club behind most of foul territory, of which only season ticket holders are allowed in (highlighted in the picture below).

The terrace level only allows you to walk throughout foul territory, which is clearly not going to get you around the whole park, unless you’re going to hover across to the other side.

Another thing to point out is that although you can see the field from just about anywhere in the stadium (including the concourses), the view is awfully limited. I mean, you can clearly see the field, but don’t count on seeing any fly balls. Remember this picture?

Of course you do. You can easily see that when you stand behind the seats, you can look down towards the field, but you can’t look at anything that’s above a horizontal view. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of TVs throughout the park that allow you to watch the game even if you don’t have the greatest point of view. Also, I heard that some TVs will be focused entirely on the massive scoreboard, since there are plenty of seats with views that prevent you from ever seeing it.

Three last things before I give you a few teasers of the real thing: If you happen to go to a game, you may notice that there are no I or O sections on the suite level. This was to prevent people from confusing them with the numbers 1 and 0. Second, this is just purely a guess, but although there are restaurants such as Hrbek’s and the Town Ball Tavern, my first guess would suggest that these will be packed. Fortunately, they remain open for one hour after the game ends, but if you plan on visiting one of these restaurants, I don’t expect you to get in and out very soon. Lastly, the player’s parking lot (the one I so famously bragged about seeing), will be completely unavailable to fans unless you have season tickets, because the parking lot that I thought was for ushers is actually only for season ticket holders and the fancy parking lot I also bragged about is fenced off and has security booths at the entrance. *sigh*

Ok, now for some fun! This first picture is the wind veil sculpture by Target Plaza. You can probably tell by the fact that one light is purple and the rest are blue, but the lights change colors during the night.

You can’t really see the waves in the picture caused by the wind blowing past the metal pieces, but here’s what it will look like.

Here is the field. You can just barely see that the screen behind home plate is up. You can also see the Target Center behind the right field foul pole, and my favorite quirk of the park is in right field, which is the concrete overhang.

Here’s why I like the overhang. Not only is it over part of right field and the fence, it also faces home plate at a different angle than the fence below it. Here’s a crude MS Paint sketch of the view directly above the seats.

If you’re a right fielder and you guess wrong on which wall a batted ball will hit, you could accidentally play a double into a triple and possibly a triple into an inside-the-park home run. Also, any low line drives that hit that concrete should bounce off rather hard, so right fielders may want to be a bit cautious when chasing after those deep liners. I don’t expect batted balls to hit it more than a couple times during the season, but I do think that players will have a tough time adjusting to it, and thus making mistakes on some fly balls that normally would be very easy to catch.

Finally, this is one of the few pictures where the giant Twins logo was actually distinguishable. I attempted to recreate the picture that is the Off The Mark banner at the top, but that pesky Twins logo just didn’t want to be readable, so this was the best that I could do.

Even if I did post all of my pictures, they wouldn’t do justice to actually being in the ballpark. Actually standing in the park and getting a chance to look around is an experience you should not miss.

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3 Responses to “Ballpark Orientation”

  1. Josh Says:

    So jealous!! Do you when you work your first game?

    • Andrew Says:

      Hopefully my first games are the exhibitions against St. Louis. I’ve also signed up for the home opener, but I won’t know for sure until the week of March 23rd.

  2. Open For Business « Off The Mark Says:

    […] elevators will be working, though. If you want to know where all the exact locations are, I suggest reading my post on the Ballpark Orientation. Remember, although there are stairs in Target Field, you may only use them at the end of games to […]

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