Location and Transportation
Target Field is in downtown Minneapolis. There are ample, relatively inexpensive hotels within walking distance of the hotel. The area felt safe, especially with 39,000 people spilling out of the stadium at the same time. Although we ate at the ballpark, there were several restaurants and bars in the area that looked pretty good.
We took the light rail from the airport to our hotel. The light rail also goes directly outside of the ballpark. For a flat rush hour rate of $2.25, getting to the ballpark area couldn't be easier or cheaper.
Exterior and Interior
The exterior of Target Field looks great, especially the huge team store with large windows displaying all the Twins garb. The exterior facing looks similar to Petco Park in that it has similar sandstone tile. Target Field has much more glass on its exterior than Petco Park. Once inside, fans are greeted by the familiar Target font and look of their signage. The signage is everywhere and easy to read making getting around the park very easy. The park has an open course which is my preference. You still feel like part of the action whether walking thru the park or getting food or beer.
The inside of the park is not as appealing as the exterior or concourse. Rather than highlighting the downtown by providing a view through the outfield (like Petco or PNC Park), Target Field does everything to block the view. The tall stands gave a claustrophobic feel. It almost looked like a dome without a roof. We had seats in an almost identical spot as our season tickets at Petco. We discovered two problems with the seats at Target Field. First, the seats point forward instead of being turned toward the batter. This causes the fan to have your head turned the entire game to watch the at bat. The second problem is how narrow the seats are. You expect it in an old park like Wrigley Field. However, in a new park it, it is unacceptable, especially in seats that were higher priced.
Scoreboard, Technology and Signage
Perhaps the best part of Target Field is its amazing scoreboard. It is just plain huge while looking as sharp as a brand new flat screen tv. The second scoreboard is about the same size as the Padres main scoreboard. The ad signage is ample in the park but manages to fit into the motif as to not be distracting. Wifi is free and available throughout the park. One can only hope that when they upgrade the scoreboard and technology at Petco (as is the rumor) that it is as nice as Target Field.
Concessions are a mixed bag at Target Field. I have never seen as much variety in food at a ballpark as I have at Target Field. They have everything from traditional ballpark fare (hot dogs, pizza, nachos) to some unique offerings (walleye, carving stations, stir fry, gelato). Sadly the food quality is mediocre at best. While not in the Oakland category of uneatable food, it definitely lags behind the stadiums with the best food quality (PNC, AT&T).
The Twins get high marks in this category. Twins fans are plentiful (full house nearly every night) and pleasant. I did not see any instances of heckling or abusing Padres fans. I am sure that it happens somewhere in the park but from what I noticed, Twins fans seemed to completly ignore Padres fans. Twins fans seemed to be baseball savvy and enthusiastic. The only knock would be the low percentage of fans wearing Twins apparel. Go to Busch III or the Big A in Anaheim and you overwhelmed by the amount of logoed attire. I would say 90% of all fans at those parks are wearing their team's apparel to the game. With the Twins, I would estimate the rate is more like 50%.
Laura and I have a rating system for the parks we have seen:
Level 1 - The Best - AT&T, PNC, Petco
Level 2 - Very Good - Dodger, Coors, Anaheim, Busch III
Level 3 - Average - Kaufman (seen pre-renovation), Progressive
Level 4 - Needs Work - Miller Park, Chase Field, Wrigley Field, The Cell
Level 5 - Oakland
Using this grouping method, I would put Target Field in Level 2. I would definitely return for a game to Target Field.
|That brick looks familiar|
|Twins dog is pretty forgetable|
|View from our seats|
|Downtown Minneapolis blocked by seating and the basketball stadium|
|The awesome scoreboard at Target Field|
|Retro logo sign in center field|
|Target Field exterior after the game|