Recap: Twins vs. Red Sox, Game 1 (Plus A Ton Of Usher Stories)

What a great way to officially open Target Field, huh? I didn’t do so well in my usher predictions (Orlando Hudson had the first Twins hit and Jason Kubel had the first home run, rather than my guesses of Denard Span and Kevin Youkilis). That’s ok though, as long as I don’t know what the prize was, I won’t feel bad for guessing wrong.

Here’s our new smoking policy, and I guarantee that until further notice, this is how it will be. The only places you’ll be allowed to exit to smoke are near Gates 6 (left field foul pole) and 14 (home plate), and you will be directed into smoking areas that are roped off. Like I said before, you won’t be allowed to leave and re-enter Target Field unless you’re smoking, and since those areas are now roped off, PLEASE don’t use smoking as an excuse for why you need to leave the stadium. Even better, PLEASE don’t tell an usher why you need to leave the park, then change your story once you find out that you can only leave and re-enter if you need to smoke. We know what you’re trying to do,* and just because we say that it’s the policy doesn’t mean that it’s a black-and-white issue.

* I honestly had a man come up to me asking to see the Tradition Wall on Target Plaza because his name was on it. I told him he couldn’t leave and get back into the park unless he had to smoke (and he couldn’t even leave from this particular gate anyway, but I forgot to mention that). Suddenly, his story changed from “I want to see my name on the Tradition Wall” to “Ok, well I want to go out and smoke.” *facepalm*

In case you didn’t figure it out, I was working at a gate for part of my shift today. I started out at Gate 34 (Target Plaza), where I was apparently discovered by Louie Schuth of Hitting The Eephus (he thinks I’m tall). I must say that working at this particular gate was a combination of awe, excitement, and frustration.

Awe: FSNorth started their broadcast with a camera pointed outside the closed gates of Gate 34 and continued filming as the gates were opened. There was also a desk set up just inside the ballpark for a couple of the FSNorth guys before and after the game. I also saw Ron Coomer go walking by, and was nearly bowled over by Mike Max.

Excitement: I tried saying hi to every person, but eventually there were too many people to try and make small talk. Although I was enthusiastic the entire time, my words eventually devolved into two quotes: “Welcome to Target Field!” and “Enjoy the game!”

Frustration: Don’t buy tickets from scalpers, please. It was frustrating, both to the ushers and the guests, when someone would walk up with a ticket that either we couldn’t scan, or our scanners said that the person had to see customer service. A couple times, these people had bought two or more tickets from scalpers, and only one ticket was good while the rest were bad. I highly recommend buying your tickets from either the ticket office or online and not from scalpers. It’s much safer, and makes our job easier as well.

There was some difficulty scanning tickets, especially the paper ones that were printed at home. It made me feel incompetent when I had a line of ten people waiting patiently to get inside, and there I was, struggling to scan one ticket when I had breezed through the previous thirty or so. I’m not telling you to avoid printing off these tickets from home, but rather that I need more practice with those fancy scanners.

I also had several people come up to me while I was scanning tickets and they asked me either what promotional item was being given away, where it was located, or where they could smoke. Just for future reference, if there’s a promotional item, it’s being handed out directly past the gates, just like in the Metrodome. Either look for people in light blue polos or red jackets, or find the crowd once you’re inside the stadium and join them. They’re probably crowding around an usher or two, waiting for some sort of free gift. If you have a general question, I will certainly help, but it’s easier if you find an usher that isn’t preoccupied with scanning tickets.

Why did I talk about working at the gate? Some of you probably don’t care at all about that. Well, my reasoning is that I had to mini-vent, and while working at Gate 34, I couldn’t see any of the field. None of it. I had a speaker above me that had the radio broadcast, but that was it. When my supervisor came by and said that two of us could leave for reassignment and one had to stay,* which was a bit unnerving because on one hand, none of us wanted to stay. On the other, we all would feel bad for the guy that was forced to stay. So, we engaged in a round robin tournament of Rock, Paper, Scissors, to see who would have to stay. One guy lost his first two matches, so he automatically had to stay. Success! Time to catch the 4th inning!

* I had two other guys near me, so this is why I talk about there being three. There was actually about 20 ushers at the gate total.

Check out this map.

I started out at Gate 34, which is behind Sections 136-138. Getting moved was the best thing that happened to me yesterday, since I could finally watch the game. I ended up moving to Sections 110-112, giving breaks to the two ushers stationed there, and then finished the game between Sections 5 and 6 behind the Twins dugout. Yeah, I was that close to the field. The view was amazing.

Ok, now to talk about the actual game. I was really surprised to see how many pitches Jon Lester had early in the game, and even more surprised that he seemed to be struggling to throw strikes (he ended up with nearly the same number of balls and strikes thrown. Bert’s California math tells us that this is not good). He did end up with a few walks, and was out of the game early, which was very nice to see.

Jason Kubel became the first to hit a home run at Target Field. I watched replays once I got home and it almost seemed like a reenactment of his grand slam home run from his cycle game last season. A breaking ball thrown right down the middle of the plate, and Kubel pulled it to right field. I knew that Scott Atchison (who?) was pitching, and when Kubel came to the plate, I didn’t necessarily think he would hit a home run. However, I did figure that having a righthanded journeyman in Atchison facing Kubel would probably result in something good for Twins fans.

It’s a good thing that Jon Rauch hasn’t had any issues as a closer so far. 1.80 ERA, 1.74 FIP (good to see these almost equal, it means he’s not having any good or bad luck), and 5 saves in 5 opportunities. He’ll slip up here and there down the road, since it’s rare for any closer to be perfect in save opportunities, but his early success has caused us to avoid hearing any complaints that he wasn’t the right man for the job. I still think the Twins could use someone better *cough* Pat Neshek, but as long as he keeps this up, I’ll keep my mouth relatively shut.

For the future, the only other games I’ll be working in April are Saturday and Sunday against the Royals. Every other game is during a weekday, and I missed enough classes yesterday. The off day today is a bit disappointing, but we’ll be returning to games tomorrow. It’s the first Target Field game I get to watch on TV. Live games and watching on TV have their own pros and cons, so it’s nice to switch it up a bit. I’ll post a link to the Facebook discussion thread sometime tomorrow.

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13 Responses to “Recap: Twins vs. Red Sox, Game 1 (Plus A Ton Of Usher Stories)”

  1. haasertime Says:

    Like being a cop or bus driver, I hope being an usher doesn’t cause you to lose your faith in humanity. Or Twins fans.

  2. Laura Hay Says:

    You definitely did NOT tell me that you got to work out the dugout boxes. JEALOUS. Though the left field bleacher seats aren’t half bad.

  3. Doctor_Teh Says:

    Probably a stupid question but when they repeatedly talk about all the games being sold out, does that actually mean there are no tickets to buy at the box office? Will I not be able to get reasonably priced tickets for games this season?

    • Laura Hay Says:

      You can still find some on the Twins website. I just looked today for a friend and we were able to find four in the Diamond View area, but those are $40some a ticket. Box office gets season tickets back from those holders that can’t use them and those don’t show up on the website, so that would be the place to get those. They say sold out, but there are ways to get a few tickets without spending a ridiculous amount of money on what could end up being a fake.

      • Laura Hay Says:

        PS to this…

        I’m a friend of Andrew’s and also a fellow usher. I don’t know if you were looking for some official comment or not, so I thought I would let you know what I know.

    • Andrew Says:

      Listen to Laura, she knows what she’s talking about. I’m just a lowly blogger :-P

      • Laura Hay Says:

        Oh hush. I was on and reading so I figured I’d enlighten the reader since you hadn’t been on. =P I’ve asked a ton of people how to get tickets lately because people at work keep asking ME. They’re like, “Get me tickets, Laura. Get me tickets.” And I keep going, “Get your own damn tickets because I don’t need one!” But yeah. I’m not trying to sound like I know everything. Just something. ;)

  4. Doctor_Teh Says:

    But in general, one will not be able to go to a game and just buy the cheapest tickets from the box office at all this season? That is a sad, sad situation. Almost makes me want the dome back so I could go to 10 games a summer.

    • Laura Hay Says:

      Not sure. They don’t really tell us what tickets are available. It’s kind of something you just have to go try and get. There may be some the day of the game for the “cheap” seats, but I have no idea how to tell you whether there are for sure because there probably aren’t. And it’s really not that sad. It’s a smaller, more intimate park so demand goes up and supply goes down. Simple economics. And there’s NO reason the Dome is better. None. After being at Target Field I wouldn’t take the Dome back for anything.

  5. Doctor_Teh Says:

    I think it’s quite sad. Now I won’t be able to go to the game at all. No game is much much worse than the metrodome, which I didn’t really mind. I realize it is easily predicted and makes sense given the situation, but that doesn’t make it not suck.

    • Andrew Says:

      I think there will always be single game tickets that can be bought at the ticket office the day of the game, but you might need a small group (1-3 people) if you want to get some good seats. That’s my 2 cents, anyway.

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