Target Field, Opening Day

12 Apr

Opening Day, Target Field. I’ve been thinking about this day for a long, long time. Been fantasizing about it since the moment the ballpark funding was approved. And while my anticipation was at a fever pitch from the get-go, it increased for various reasons leading up to today.

Let’s start with the most obvious: I’m obsessed with the Twins. Rarely miss an inning. Pore over statistics. Discuss at length with anyone who will listen. DV-R games if I’m busy. Ob-sessed.

So there’s your first reason. It’s a big one, and the driving factor in my anticipation of the day. But there are others.

— While I was working at Target, I begged and pleaded and campaigned (and, when that didn’t work, shamelessly weaseled) my way to a spot on the internal Target Field working committee. This meant learning private/exclusive news about the development of the field, the construction, the various quirks and features that would make Target Field special. I met with Twins execs, brainstormed promotions, reviewed creative campaigns. I helped manage an internal event and rubbed elbows with Twins greats — my childhood heroes — and members of the front office. Best yet, I was able to attend two private tours of the field.

This sounds insane, but I felt invested in the Field. I was helping. (Upon further reflection: no, I wasn’t.) I was involved; I had wormed my way into the inner circle. I rode the bus by the field every single day on my way to work, from the moment they broke ground. I stared out the window and watched it progress.

— During the first of those tours, a Twins executive told me there was going to be a restaurant at the field called the Town Ball Tavern, which would be devoted to Minnesota amateur baseball. I play amateur baseball, and learned that my team’s picture would be featured fairly prominently in the restaurant. It was at this point I had no choice but to tuck it into the waistband.

— A few months later, the Official Stepdad of® called me to gleefully report he’d just purchased season tickets to Target Field, in the Legends Club section. Seats right behind home plate, 15 feet below where Dick ‘n’ Bert would be announcing the games. Private concourse. Access to a wait staff. And best: I was invited to attend Opening Day. Was I on top of the world? Oh yes, I was on top of the world.

Today, 1 pm. I arrived to the field with my kid sister (the Official Stepdad is a corporate globetrotter and was unsurprisingly called away on business) with this here recap in mind, prepared to detail how I spent every second of that first game, to commit it to memory and record it for posterity, so I could go back and read it many years from now, to show to my kids, to remember it all, everything.

Here’s the problem with that plan.

Every local blogger on the planet has gone to Target Field and written about every aspect covering every inch of the place. There is nothing unique I can add to the Target Field conversation. Every last nook and cranny has been scrutinized, photographed, discussed, what have you. It’s flawless. Gorgeous. Jaw-dropping. Goosebump-inducing. Surreal. More than anything, surreal.

But you already know this.

So, I’ll spare you the oft-written details. I’ll simply post a few photos from our Opening Day excursion, and echo the gushing sentiments of the masses. Target Field: perfection.

Target Plaza was a madhouse, and probably will be all summer long. This was two-plus hours before the game, by the way.

Just posting this to show that there is indeed a human being on this earth who owns a Phil Humber jersey. The mind reels.

My new desktop wallpaper? My new desktop wallpaper.

The floor of Town Ball Tavern: the state champion Minnetonka Millers. Fuck and yes.

Your hero is the guy in the front row, fourth from the right, doing his best Powder impression. (Camera error, I am almost sure.) Grizzly Adams in the back row is AKA commenter “Shall.” Commenter “Cooler Rut” is the blond-bearded lumberjack third from the left in the front row.

There are good times to be had on the roof deck. Sadly, we never made it up there, due to the long lines and my childlike impatience.

Expect this amount of concourse traffic throughout the season. The halls are wide as all get-out, though, so the crowd moved rather freely.

Standing on the concourse, yet able to see the field? A strange, euphoric feeling.

Anyone who didn’t get choked up during the military tribute is dead inside. (I didn’t, but am indeed dead inside.) Really, really well done. The first goosebump moment of the afternoon.

The view from our seats. That emotion you are feeling right now is called “jealousy-induced rage.” Life is good. For me.

The first official pitch at Target Field. (It was called a ball, and some people started booing. No kidding.)

Yes, we color-coordinated. No, it wasn’t on purpose. Yes, we’re embarrassed. Let’s move on.

Game over. Twins win 5-2 on the strength of Carl Pavano’s pitching, a couple two-out bloopers and a blast from my favorite player Jason Kubel. Not a bad start for the hometown nine.


Postscript. Expectations are a tricky thing. They’ve ruined many a decent night by being too high. In fact, they’re almost always too high; I’d guess the vast majority of highly anticipated events fail to live up to our unrealistic expectations. It’s a bummer, no doubt, but that’s life.

Today was no different. It was a day I had been anticipating with an almost painful vigor for so long, for so many reasons, that there seemed to be no way reality could live up to fantasy. But it did. The mass of people, the sunny skies, the perfect ballpark, the seats, the game, the win…it was perfect, and somehow, even better than I imagined. Like I said, surreal.


6 Responses to “Target Field, Opening Day”

  1. Gates April 12, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    I’m glad you mentioned ALL of your commenters who are featured in the the Millers picture. You wouldn’t to leave anyone out and make them feel bad…especially if they brought you on the team or something like that.

  2. RandBall's Stu April 13, 2010 at 7:54 am #

    RE: First photo. Does that fellow have a General Zod/Denard Span jersey? If so, I am impressed.

  3. cooler rut April 13, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    i think my favorite part of the game was Dick and Bery trying to defend Delmon Young for missing the flyball at the wall. Bert using the “its a new field and the players arent used to the new warning track” was my favorite. the dude sucks at outfield, just admit it.

  4. cooler rut April 13, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    oh yah..sweet pics! love the matching shirts, Dorks!

  5. B. April 13, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    Yikes. Sorry Gates…it’s just that you look relatively normal in the photo, as opposed to those other two raggedy hoboes. And since my personal motto is to never mention friends unless I’m making fun of them, you missed the cut.

    Maybe I should reevaluate things.

  6. Cool Rut April 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    If it helps, Gates is my favorite Miller. Especially out of the ones that aren’t good enough to start.

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