Target Field opened in 2010 and brought outdoor baseball back to Minnesota for the first in nearly three decades. The Minnesota Twins moved to Target Field after playing 28 seasons inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Prior to playing in the Metrodome, the Twins played 21 seasons at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. The Twins shared both of those facilities with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Target Field is the first home the Twins can call their own.
Moving from a multi-purpose stadium to a baseball-specific stadium is a huge upgrade by itself, but there’s so much more to like about Target Field. The downtown ballpark offers stunning views of the city’s skyline. Sitting along the third-base line you could imagine that the 1965 World Series was played there and not in Bloomington. That’s because Target Field is a perfect example of a retro modern ballpark (a la Petco Park) as opposed to a retro classic ballpark (Camden Yards).
The exterior of Target Field features limestone and glass, as opposed to the brick and green steel featured at retro classic ballparks. Also visible is the stadium’s canopy, which can help shield fans in the upper level from the elements on cold days and the sun on better days. There were talks of building a retractable roof for this ballpark, but that feature proved to be cost prohibitive.
The entrances for Target Field are numbered with some of the team’s retired numbers, and while there’s no grand main entrance like old Yankee Stadium I think it’s fair to say that Gate 29 (Rod Carew) is the de facto main entrance. At least that’s where the longest lines are on giveaway days.
Despite the ballpark’s relatively small footprint, it does not feel cramped at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. You can do a complete lap on the lower level of the ballpark and never lose sight of the pitcher’s mound and home plate. As someone who enjoys visiting and touring ballparks, I love to move around and check out everything a park has to offer. You can do that in Target Field and not lose track of the game. The small footprint might explain the steep seating in right field, but that’s a minor quibble. You still get a great view of the game from out there.
Target Field’s concession stands don’t offer anything crazy like toasted grasshoppers, but they do a good job of delivering hot dogs, sausages, burgers, chicken fingers, french fries and all of the other ballpark standards. There are a lot of pop up stands run by local restaurants, including Red Cow and Kramarczuk’s, that feature more “gourmet” options.
Lines are generally reasonable, and so are the prices. A 24 oz Bud Light draft will set you back $9.50, which seems like a bargain compared to some other parks. And if you’re in town on a Wednesday you can experience what is probably one of the last regular dollar dog nights in the bigs.
The park also offers seven (!) bars inside the stadium. Stadium pricing obviously still applies but it is nice to be able to walk around the stadium to grab a beer, especially if you get there early on a hot day.
And, of course, no ballpark is complete without a mascot race these days.
The Atlanta Braves recently moved out of Turner Field after just 20 seasons and the Texas Rangers will ditch the Ballpark in Arlington in 2020, but I don’t think we’ll see Target Field fall out of favor that quickly. The Twins have already shown a willingness to tinker with and improve the stadium (and the fan experience) on an almost annual basis. There’s no reason why the Twins can’t play at Target Field for the next 50 years. It’s the best ballpark I’ve been to yet.
Big Z Ballpark Rating – 9.3