Sunday, May 16, 2010

Target Field review

The Twins are my favorite team, which might lead the reader to believe that I would be biased writing a review on Target Field. I will try my best to remove that bias and give you an honest view of the stadium. However, I don't think you will question my bias when I tell you in the first paragraph that Target Field isn't my favorite park. In fact I can think of 3 parks (Kauffman, Safeco and Wrigley) that I have been to that I definitely like better. It is a nice park and a lot of local writers seem to think that it is the best thing to happen to the Twins since 1987. I disagree and will go through my normal rankings to explain that differing opinion.

Scalping/Ticket prices: B
This one is tough to judge because ticket prices are abnormally high since it is the first year of Target Field and nearly every game is sold out. I went in on season tickets with some guys and got $50/each seats between home plate and 3rd base. I give this section a B because there are plenty of scalpers outside and the face value on the tickets are reasonable. Once the novelty wears off I expect prices to go down on non-marquee games. Come next year this section could be graded out as an A.

Aesthetic Appeal - B-
This is a very nice ballpark with a good view of the skyline. It fits in well with downtown Minneapolis despite the fact that besides one side of the stadium the rest of the stadium is surrounded by undeveloped urban wasteland. Also, I like how the stadium looks modern and doesn't try to be the next Camden Yards. These are pluses to what I consider a fine looking ballpark. However, there is something that is missing from the park. When I walked in to the stadium it wasn't jaw-dropping incredible. Maybe it is because I have read so much about the stadium and would drive by the stadium as it was being built, but I feel like the way the stadium looked at first was underwhelming. The main thing that I think the stadium is missing is something signature about it. There is no ivy at Wrigley or waterfalls at Kauffman. There is nothing distinct about Target Field. In that way it reminds me of Jacobs (Progressive) Field. Below is a view from my season tickets.

Fans - A
I love Twins fans. They are polite, knowledgeable and like you expected me to write anything else about people like me. Sure if I was being objective I might notice the similarities between Vikings fans and Twins fans and I might get slightly annoyed with "Minnesota nice," but in this section I am gong to be positive and give the fans an A.

Buzz - A-
The A- is partly due to how the stadium is new and every seat is full. M even mentioned how much extra buzz there seemed at Target Field compared to the Metrodome. I agreed that for a random Tuesday night game there almost always be more buzz at Target Field. However, I like to think that for a big game nothing was better than the Metrodome. At max capacity the Metrodome held more than 20K more fans than Target Field and that combined with how the sound was contained in the Dome made for an electric big game environment. Target Field probably has a better average buzz, but at its best nothing was better than the Metrodome.

Food- C
There are so many more options than the Metrodome and I am sure with time this grade will go up, but as of now I have not been impressed with the food at Target Field. The prices were high (which was expected at a new park) and the food quality wasn't what I expected. Maybe I just had the wrong things with M, but we weren't impressed with Murray's steak sandwich ($10.50), fries ($4), or hot dog ($5). I did enjoy the chicken wild rice soup ($6) and the Asian stir fry ($9) was pretty good, but maybe not worth the price. Next things that I want to try the Tony O Cuban sandwich and the Vincent burger. I give the food a C though because the food has been average. To give you a comparison it is better than the Metrodome (F), but worse than Safeco (A).

Fun things to do besides the game - B
Besides eating and walking around looking at Minnesotans in awe of outdoor baseball there are a few things to do if you aren't much of a baseball fan. There are some decent bars and some fun memorabilia to check out. Some of the areas are closed off for non season ticket holders or people with luxury tickets. That is too bad since I really did enjoy walking around and seeing old pictures (Willie Mays and Ted Williams playing for the Minneapolis Millers) of scenes from Minnesota baseball history. Also, I enjoyed the fact that at the stadium had pictures of all other stadiums and thought that would be a great idea for my future living room.

Overall impression: B-
Again I liked the park and think it is above average (like Minnesotans in Lake Wobegon), but the average food and lack of a distinct characteristic really hurt the park's ratings. My favorite thing about the park is watching the Twins play. I don't really care if they played in the Metrodome or Target Field as long as I can watch them play and hopefully win. Unlike other baseball teams where the park is the attraction over the team, the Twins take precedence over Target Field. Maybe this means I am biased against Target Field since as of now the limited amount of open tickets and higher prices probably means I will see less Twins games than in previous years. I tried my best for an objective review and a B- is the best I can give Target Field.

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