Target Field Tour

I just spend a week in Minneapolis.  I wanted to tour Target Field, but I was incredibly busy all week and the chances didn’t look good.  One evening, just before my trip through the Metrodome, I headed over to Target Field just to check it out in daylight.

It was looking good:

1 - Target Field exterior 1B side.JPG
See those windows below the Target Field sign in that picture above to the right?  Remember those windows for a minute.

I peaked through Gate 29 and I could see workers taking a plastic cover off of the field:

a2 - Target Field from Gate 29 removing winter cover panorama.jpgI definitely wanted to get in there to see what Target Field is all about.

I finally got my chance just before leaving Minneapolis.  When I arrived at the box office to purchase a tour ticket, there were two guys and a dog sitting in chairs next to their tent:

2 - Twins Single Game Tickets Line 2011.JPGThey were first in line for single game tickets, which were going on sale the next day.

See that lady in the red jacket above?  She was on my tour.  We chatted a bit.  She was very nice and she gave me a run for my money for the title of most pictures taken on the tour…but I still think I got her on it.

My tour ticket looked like a game ticket and was beautiful:

2a - Target Field tour ticket.jpgForty people met up outside of Gate 29.  Two tour guides divided us into groups of 20 and then the groups headed off in different directions.  Our tour guide was named Dick, and he was awesome.

The first thing we did was hop in an elevator right next to Gate 29 and the team store.  We went up a couple floors and headed to our first stop — the Metropolitan Club:

3 - Metropolitan Club.JPGRemember all of those windows in the picture above?  Well, the Metropolitan Club (as show here) is inside those windows.  The Metropolitan Club is a special club for season ticket holders and their guests.  There is a bar and a big buffet is served before each game.

Target Field is chock full of history.  Everywhere you go, there are pictures, paintings and display cases showcasing the Twins and Minnesota’s baseball history.  And almost everything is named after a Twin, a Minnesotan, or a Minnesotan lankmark.

Inside the Metropolitan Club, the Twins have a series of photographs of all-time baseball greats, like the picture of Babe Ruth above playing in Minnesota on the old “barnstormer” tours.  The sign next to the picture says, “Babe Ruth made an appearance at Nicollet Park during an exhibition game in September 1935.”  The picture above to the left is of old Metropolitan Stadium and it covers the entire wall behind the host’s station at the Metropolitan Club entrance.

Here is a panorama of Target Field through the Metropolitan Club windows:

a3 - Target Field metropolitan club panorama.jpg

For $5 extra, season ticket holders can watch the game from the two rows of seats outside of the Metropolitan Club.

Next, we exited the Metropolitan Club walked down a hallway with pictures of all 30 current MLB stadiums, and our next stop was the Johnny Blanchard party suite:

4 - Target Field Johnny Blanchard suite.JPGThere are about 7 of these suites on this level.  I think that Dick said they cost about $100 per person (assuming you fill the suite to capacity, which I think was something like 30 people).  This picture is not very good.  The suite was big, modern and very nice.  It has a really big kitchen area with a full-sized refrigerator.

Each of the party suites is named after a current/former MLB player who was born in Minnesota.  I cannot remember all of them, but Roger Maris and Paul Molitor were two of them.

Here is a panorama of Target Field from inside the Johnny Blanchard suite:

b - Target Field Johnny Blanchard suite panorama.jpgWorkers were actively preparing Target Field for opening day.  There were a couple visible signs of it being winter in Minnesota.  Most notably, the dugouts were enclosed within wood walls:

5 - Target Field visitors dugout covered in wood.JPGIn the LF foul corner, the Twins have each of their retired numbers in red or blue circles:

6 - Target Field retired numbers.JPG42 is Jackie Robinson, 34 is Kirby Puckett, 14 is Kent Hrbek, 6 is Tony Oliva, 29 is Rod Carew, and 3 is Harmon Killebrew.  Dick informed us that 28 will soon be added to the list for Hall of Famer-elect Bert Blyleven.

Here are some shots of the Twins big screens:

7 - Target Field big screens.JPGThe big one over the upper deck seats in left field is huge.  Dick said that if you placed the Timberwolves basketball court in the middle of the big screen, you would have three feet of extra screen space on all four sides of the court.  It looks pretty nice.

Last season, the big scoreboard was the only big screen at Target Field.  Apparently, people in LF complained because they couldn’t see it (particularly from the lower deck), so they just recently put up a smaller big screen above the upper deck seats in RF.  Dick said the RF screen is 1/4 the size of the main scoreboard screen.

After we left the Johnny Blanchard suite, we entered a hallway leading to the Legends Club.  The hallway was full of memorabilia and informative pictures, diagrams, etc., about Target Field.  One wall told all about the construction of Target Field with tons of pictures of the entire process.  For example, there are pictures of the 41 miles of heating tubes below the field at Target Field.  The tubes are set to a temperature during the winter that allows the grass to go dormant, but prevents a hard freeze from setting in.

There was also a display case all about the first game at Target Field.  It had all of the bases, the pitching rubber, pictures of the umpires, important baseballs, scorecards, etc.  My favorite thing in the display case was this:

8 - Target Field First Homerun Catcher.JPGIt is the first homerun ball ever hit at Target Field along with a picture of A.J. Nitzschke, the lucky Twins fan who caught the Jason Kubel homerun.  Behind the picture of A.J. is a short letter A.J. wrote describing the big day.  This seems like a great touch to me.  The Twins clearly understand that the fans are what allows professional baseball to exist, and therefore they made space to celebrate an important fan experience from opening day right along with the on field stuff.

In an interesting side note, Dick mentioned that the Twins offered A.J. an autographed game-used Jason Kubel bat in exchange for the first Target Field homerun baseball.  However, A.J. is apparently a big Joe Mauer fan so he requested an autographed Mauer bat.  Mauer and the Twins were happy to make A.J.’s request happen.  Not only did he get the autographed Mauer bat, he got to meet both Mauer and Kubel.  (Maybe the Marlins should take some notes from the Twins).

Just behind the opening night display case is the architect’s model of Target Field:

9 - Target Field replica.JPGThe model is really cool becuase, in additional to all of the components of the field itself, it shows how all of the roadways/trains pass under Target Field.

Next, we headed into the Legends Club.  I took this picture of the front desk at the Legends Club because I loved the huge picture behind the desk:

11 - Target Field big bat knobs picture.JPGThe Legends Club wraps from the 1B side to the 3B side.  Here is the 1B side of the Legends Club all set up for some event (there are 22 spaces that companies/individuals can rent out for functions at Target Field):

10 - Target Field Legends Club 3B side.JPGBy the way, that is our tour guide Dick in that last picture.

And here is a panoramic view of Target Field from the 1B side of the Legends Club:

c - Target Field legends club 1b side panorama.jpgJust past the Legends Club seating area (two pictures above) is the Kirby Puckett Lounge.  The lounge has several display cases full of Kirby memorabilia.  Its amazing stuff, including his 1991 World Series ring and his Hall of Fame ring:

12 - Kirby Puckett Lounge.JPGPictured above to the right is a bar with Kirby’s signature on the base of the bar and his image burned/etched (not sure which) into the wooden wall behind the bar.  By the way, in addition to his rings, the Kirby Puckett Lounge features several game jerseys, cleats, bats, a gold glove award, pictures, magazine covers, etc., etc., etc.  Much of the stuff is on loan to the Twins from the Puckett family.

Next, we headed to the press box (print media):


13 - Target Field Press Box.JPGHere is a panoramic view of Target Field from the press box:

d - Target Field press box panorama.jpgAnd next door, I got this panoramic view of Target Field from the TV box:

e - Target Field TV booth panorama.jpgHere is a view into the 3B-side of the Legends Club:

14 - Target Field Legends Club 3B side.JPGBehind home plate (and the press boxes), there is a “Call Wall” with famous TV/radio calls from Twins history:

f - Target Field call wall panorama.jpgThe Call Wall looks across the hallway toward the “573″ Lounge:

15 - Targe Field 573 Lounge.JPGThis lounge is named in recognition of Harmon Killebrew’s 573 career homeruns and it featuers a Killebrew-based display case including the bat he used for his final career homerun and the baseball (also with a notation of who caught it — I think it was caught be a reliever in the bullpen).  Interestingly, Killebrew hit his final homerun as a Kansas City Royal playing against the Twins in Minnesota.

Next, we headed up the stairs in the 573 Lounge and entered the private suite level.  At the top of the stairs was a cool panoramic painting of Target Field:


g - Target Field painting panorama.jpgHere is a view down the private suite hallway toward the 1B side:

16 - Target Field suite level hallway.JPGEach of the private suites is named after a lake in Minnesota — here is a look at the “Norway Lake Suite”:

17 - Target Field private suites.JPGAs you can see, the suites are really nice and clean looking.  Here is a panoramic view of Target Field from the Norway Lake suite:

h - Target Field Norway Lake Suite panorama.jpgFrom the suite level hallway, we could see down into the Legends Club Rod Carew Lounge:

18 - Rod Carew Lounge.JPGThe suite level hallway is lined with paintings and pictures.  In one section of the hallway, there were pictures of each of the Twins to have won batting titles.  Further down the hallway toward LF, there are painting of each person who has served as the Twins manager over the years — a surprisingly small group of people.  Here are the paintings of the last two managers — Tom “T.K.” Kelley and Ron Gardenhire:

19 - Target Field Tom Kelly and Ron Gardenhire paintings.JPGWe went into suite 54 (not sure what its “lake” name was) almost directly across the hall from the Gardenhire painting.  Here was the view of Target Field from suite 54:

i - Target Field Suite 54 panorama.jpgAnd here is a closer look at the Twins “Minnie and Paul” logo out in center field:

20 - Target Field Minnie and Paul Sign.JPGA little further down the hallway there was a big painting on the wall of a wobbly-looking Target Field:

22 - Target Field funky painting.JPGAcross the hallway from that wobbly painting, there are two huge party suites.  Here is one of them:

23 - Target Field jumbo party suites.JPGThe suites have big cushy seats and come complete with overhead heaters:

21 - Target Field suite seating and heaters.JPGHere is a panorama of Target Field from the huge party suites:

j - Target Field jumbo suite panorama.jpgI like the yellow-orange rock they used throughout the field.  Behind home plate, there is a very nice looking “Welcome to Target Field” on the yellow-orange rock:

24 - Welcome to Target Field sign.JPGWe didn’t venture out into the outfield during the tour, so this is the best look I got of the bullpens:

25 - Target Field bullpens.JPGNext, we visited the “Skyline Deck,” which (true to its name) has an excellent view of the Minneapolis skyline.  Here is a panoramic view of Target Field from the concourse directly behind Section T of the Skyline Deck:

k - Target Field Skyline Deck concourse panorama.jpgWe took a tour of Chase Field when we were in Arizona for Spring Training and our guide hyperventilated if you walked 3 feet away from the tour group, and we were never allowed down into the actual rows of seats.  So, not wanting to ruffle Dick’s feathers, I asked politely if I could run down to the first row to take some pictures.  He was absolutely fine with it.  He just told me to catch up with the tour and he led the rest of the people away (toward the LF foul pole) as I ran down to the first row.

So, thanks to Dick, here is a panorama of Target Field from the first row of Section T of the Skyline Deck:

l - Target Field Skyline Deck front row panorama.jpgAfter a few minutes down in the first row, I ran over to the foul pole to catch up with the group.  Before hopping onto an elevator with the group, I got this panorama of Target Field from the concourse in the LF foul corner:

m- Target Field Left Field corner panorama.jpgMoments later, I was high above the field on the Budweiser Roof Deck.  As shown in this panorama, we were literally *above* the foul pole:



n - Target Field bud party deck panorama.jpgThat last panorama cut off a lot of the field.  Its hard to get a good panorama when you are shooting from up high and trying to wrap around a corner.  So I ran around the roof deck looking for the best spot to capture a good picture of the view from up there.  My second attempt was from the top of a couple standing room risers:

o - Target Field bud party deck risers panorama.jpgMy final attempt was probably the best view (although it cuts off the LF seats).  Here is a panorama from the *foulest* front corner of the roof deck:

p - Target Field bud party deck LF foul corner panorama.jpgWhile in that *foulest* corner, I turned around and good a shot of the lighting tucked into the wing-looking upper deck “roof”:

26 - Target Field lighting.JPGIt would probably make more sense if it was game time and everything was set up, but here is a shot of the bar area on the roof deck:

27 - Target Field Bud party deck.JPGBy the way, the roof deck is totally separated from everything else.  To get to any other level or seating section, you have to take an elevator down from the roof deck.  Also, you can only get up to the roof deck if you have special roof deck tickets.

From high atop the roof deck, we took the elevator all the way down to the bowels of target field.  We walked around from LF toward the visitors’ clubhouse on the 3B side.

En route to the clubhouse, we stopped to take a look at “Keg Room No. 5.”  Check it out:

28 - Target Field Keg Room No. 5.JPGApparently Twins personnel were always carting around kegs through the Metrodome concourses, which wasn’t ideal for fans walking the concourse.  So, at Target Field, they now have (I think) 8 “keg rooms.”  See the yellow arrow above the keg room?  Instead of taking kegs to each of the beer stands, all of the kegs are in the keg rooms and there are 14.8 miles of “beer pipes” twisting their way through Target Field delivering crisp, cold beer straight from the keg rooms to your plastic beer cup.

Next up, the visitors’ clubhouse.  Here are three pictures:

29 - Target Field visitors clubhouse and batting cage.JPGIn the top picture, that is the main clubhouse area with the player lockers and couches in the middle.  As photographed in that picture, the field is to the right of the clubhouse.  Directly to the right of where I was standing when I took the top picture, is the little kitchen area shown above to the left.  Finally, just down the hallway from the clubhouse (on the way to the dugout) is the single batting cage shown above to the right.

They took us into the visitors dugout, which (as mentioned above) was encased in a wood cover:

30 - Target Field enclosed visitors bullpen.JPGLet me explain the yellow and green arrows.  First, the bottom left picture is the view from the 3B side of the dugout (where the players enter the dugout) toward the homeplate side.  There are little spaces between the wood cover and the railings in the dugout.  The picture above to the right is looking toward home plate through the front-homeplate side space in the dugout cover.  Essentially, I just stuck my camera through the hole in the dugout and snapped a picture without knowing what it would look like.

I did the same thing on the 3B-side of the dugout (at the green arrow in the top right picture above), but I took a couple totally blind photos that I was able to piece together to make this half-way decent panorama:
q - Target Field visitors dugout panorama.jpgNext, we headed to the Champion’s Club, directly behind home plate under the fancy seats.  Here are a couple photos of what it looked like in there:

31 - Target Field Champions Club.JPGIn that middle photo, that is a sports radio broadcast that was taking place from a studio in the back corner of the Champion’s Club.

The Champion’s Club essentially goes from dugout-to-dugout and it has several entrances to the super-luxury seats behind home plate.  On the far 1B-side of the Champion’s Club, there is a window where people can watch the Twins take hacks in their two batting cages:

32 - Target Field Champions Club view of Twins batting cages.JPGI’m not sure if Dick was going to take us out into the seats (which were still partially covered in snow), but I didn’t wait around to ask.  I tested the door and when it was unlocked, I bolted for the seats.  (By the way, Dick later brought just a handful of people out into the seats.  He absolutely didn’t care that I was already out there taking pictures).

Here is a panorama of Target Field from (approximately) row B of Section 7 of the Champion’s Club:

r - Target Field Champions Club section 7 panorama2.jpgI took a couple photos of myself on the tour so I’d have proof that I was actually at Target Field.  Here is the least terrible of my self-photos:

33 - TJC at Target Field.JPGHere is another Champion’s Club panorama, this one from row A of Section 10 (with my arm and camera wrapped around the protective screen so we don’t have to look through the net):

u - Target Field Champions Club section 10 panorama2.jpgBefore heading back into the Champion’s Club, I ran up to the walkway behind the Champion’s Club seating and took this panorama of Target Field from behind Row M of Section 9:

v - Target Field Champions Club section 9 back row panorama.jpgOur tour was winding down.  It was a great tour that lasted almost two hours.  On our way out of the Champion’s Club, we stopped to look at the 1987 and 1991 World Series trophies.  They are in the entrance way to the Champion’s Club, which had really odd lighting that made my pictures look terrible.  But it was cool to see the trophies, along with three world series rings.

Dick took us back up an elevator on the 1B side and we ended up right where we began the tour.  Before heading out, I ran over to the seats and took a couple more panoramas.

Here is a panorama of Target Field from the concourse directly behind section 103:

w - Target Field section 103 concourse panorama.jpgI ran down to the RF corner and took this panorama of Target Field from the top of a pile of snow behind section 141:

x - Target Field section 141 concourse panorama.jpgFinally, my tour was complete after I took this final Target Field panorama from the concourse behind section 101:

y - Target Field section 101 concourse panorama.jpgBottom line:  Target Field is beautiful.  The Twins did a great job designing the stadium and filling it with loads of Minnesota baseball history.  If you’re in Minnesota and the Twins are playing, definitely stop by Target Field for a game.  If they are not in town, stop by anyway and grab a tour.  You’ll love it.

m

4 Comments

Great entry!! I love the pictures. Looking forward to going myself in June for the Dodgers Series. It is the last ballpark that I have not seen a game. So excited…

These new ballparks are incredible. I’ve always been jealous, because our park in Toronto was built a couple years before the new wave started in Baltimore and Cleveland in the mid-90s. I made it out to new Yankee Stadium last year, hoping to do PNC this summer and hopefully Target at some point in the near future.
http://letsplay162.mlblogs.com/

MRESPOT-
Glad you liked it. Thanks. You’re lucky to get out to Target Field this season. Congrats on finishing off all of the stadiums!

JEREMY-
There really are some amazing new stadiums out there. Rogers Centre is definitely a different breed of a ballpark. I really enjoyed my one day at Rogers Centre, would like to make it back there for a game with the roof open. You’ll really enjoy PNC Park if you get there this summer. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

It is almost sickening the way they pander to the rich. The more you spend, the more you see. Baseball was never meant to be like this. A rich mans exclusionary sport.

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