Put me in coach. I’m ready. That’s how I felt when we were in the Minnesota Twins dugout during a tour of Target Field.
The Twins have been my team since the early 1980s, when they were affectionately known as the “Twinkies,” because they were so terrible and lost many more games than they won. I remember listening to games during the summer, while working at my desk in our home on base housing at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
The girls’ mom and I took the kids (my God, they were so young) to a Twins-Royals game at the old Metrodome Stadium during the 1980s. Later, when Lisa and I were dating, we ventured north to a Twins-Oakland A’s game, where Kirby Puckett was having his jersey retired by the Twins. I will not say anything about Lisa mentioning working on her tan (as if) during the night game at the domed stadium.
So, when we had the opportunity to tour Target Field, we jumped on it. I’ve visited other stadiums, but it’s something special to visit the field where your team plays. We had about a dozen people on the tour, with several of them fans of other teams, but as baseball fans, they like visiting stadiums.
We were able to have a behind-the-scenes tour, since the Twins were on the road that weekend (they were in Kansas City, splitting a four-game series).
When the Washington Senators moved to the Twin Cities to become the Twins, they played at Metropolitan Stadium. The old park is now where the Mall of America stands. The infield is actually part of Nickelodeon Universe.
The original stadium is remembered at the Metropolitan Club. A mural of the venerable stadium hangs on a wall.
Posters of Willie Mays and Ted Williams adorn the wall. Minneapolis and St. Paul teams served as minor league affiliates until the Twins came to town.
Minnesota has hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star game three times. Those events are remembered.
The club has other player memorabilia on display.
Visitors can sit or stand outside the Metropolitan Club and watch the game.
Inside the stadium’s concourse, the history of the five-year-old Target Field is relived – from the groundbreaking ceremony to the memorabilia from the first game played there. The Twins won, and the game featured the first home run hit by a Twin in the new stadium.
The Delta SKY360 Legends Club allows fans the chance to enjoy a meal and drinks among memorabilia of great Twins stars, such as Puckett and Harmon Killebrew. A large wooden mural of Puckett hangs in one lounge area.
More Puckett memorabilia is available for viewing in the lounge.
Killebrew, the Twins all-time home run king, has his fair share of memorabilia on display.
Life-sized posters of past players hang on the hallway walls.
I got to live a dream when we hit the press box. The guide had me sit at the spot where veteran columnist Sid Hartman sits every home game. The columnist has been with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune for decades.
Front page copies of local newspapers celebrate the Twins’ World Series championships in 1987 and 1991. After a run of some down years during the ‘90s, the Twins won six division titles from 2002 to 2010. And they are challenging for the playoffs in 2015.
A visit to the Champions Club had me wishing for a few thousand extra bucks to toss around. Fans who are members of the Champions Club get valet parking, seats behind home plate and access to some of the best food this side of the Mississippi River. Or, you can enjoy baseball food like us poor bums – hot dogs, nachos, etc.
Posters celebrating the Twins last two World Series titles (they have won three titles) are displayed in the Champions Club.
Replicas of the World Series trophies also are on display.
We made our way to the visitors’ clubhouse. It was empty since the Twins’ opponent wouldn’t arrive until that night.
The clubhouse has individual lockers and chairs for the players. The clubhouse manager and his staff will assign lockers for the team before they arrive. They coordinate with the visiting team’s management.
The clubhouse has games, TVs, and a dining area for the players to relax. If players want a specific meal (in case they are superstitious or part of their routine), the clubhouse staff arranges that for them.
I love that the carpet has home plate and the pitcher’s mound on it.
Two batting cages are available for players to use to warm up or do some additional training. One of the cages allows a pitcher to work on his throws.
Once we made it to field level, I was about as happy as a hog in mud. We checked out both dugouts. But, I had to have my picture taken in the Twins’ dugout. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve walked or sat about where some of the best players to take the field have – Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe.
We were allowed to stand on the warning track between the dugouts. Ah, this is baseball heaven!
After our visit inside the stadium, we (OK, me) had to visit the many sculptures outside the stadium on the plaza.
The giant Gold Glove, which recognizes the Twins who have won the honor over the decades for great fielding. It is the most photographed spot by fans.
The statue of the late Harmon Killebrew swinging for the fences was cool to see.
Kirby celebrating a championship in his style.
Kent Hrbek’s celebration is ensconced as a tribute to the native Minnesotans who played for the Twins. Almost 30 Minnesotans have worn the Twins logo, including current stars Joe Mauer and Glenn Perkins, Jim Eisenrich, Paul Molitor, Jack Morris and Dave Winfield.
The past set of Twins owners are honored – the Pohlads and Cal Griffith.
A giant baseball honors the 2014 All-Star game that was played at target Field. The rosters for the National and American League teams are encased, as well.
The team’s mascot even has his own statue.
“Peanuts” artist Charles Schultz was the Twin Cities. His characters adopted baseball poses and greet visitors heading to Target Field.
We had a great time touring Target Field. It rivals Busch Stadium in St. Louis, which was another fun stadium tour. If you are in the Cities, I encourage you to check out Target Field. You’ll have a great time.
For more information on a tour or about the Minnesota Twins, please visit www.minnesota.twins.mlb.com.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Meet Minneapolis and the Minnesota Twins for the complimentary tour. However, all opinions and views are ours.