Chronological Tour: Stop 353

Outdoor Baseball Returns to Minneapolis

Home plate entrance to Target Field, Aug-2010.

The seating bowl, as seen from down the right-field line.

A view from the upper deck behind home plate, with downtown Minneapolis as a backdrop.

Quick Facts: Rating: 5 baseballs
Excepting a couple of independent league teams that played in the mid-1990s, there had not been a professional baseball game played outdoors in Minneapolis since 1955, the last season of the Millers at Nicollet Park, located only a few blocks from the site that eventually became Target Field. The Millers moved to Bloomington in 1956, setting up shop at the park that eventually served as the home of the Twins from 1961, when they moved from Washington, through 1981.

Baseball in the Twin Cities area relocated to Minneapolis, the larger of the two (Saint Paul, the state capital, has a slightly smaller population), for the 1982 season, taking up residence in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome for 28 years. While the Twins won two World Series championships at the Dome partly because of the home-field advantage conferred upon them by the building’s acoustics, the park was a nightmare for fielders. For one, the artificial turf played awfully hard; for another, the white roof made fly balls difficult to see. As a result, even though indoor baseball was more palatable in April and October, there was quite the clamor to return outdoors.

The result was Target Field, opened in 2010 and named for a retail chain based in Minneapolis. I found the place to be outstanding, a surprisingly good new ballpark. The architecture outside is a bit unusual, but inside, everything seems to work fairly well. The concourses do get a bit crowded when the place is full, as it was for most of the park’s inaugural season, but even egress from the park at game’s end flowed very smoothly, unlike at a few modern baseball cathedrals. Traffic moved very well down the ramp from the upper deck to street level.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the new park, in 2007, was delayed by several days due to the tragic collapse of a Mississippi River bridge carrying I-35W near the ballpark. The Twins also postponed one or two games at the Metrodome as a result of the incident.

One thing I found notable was that the Mall of America, which was built in Bloomington partly on the site of old Metropolitan Stadium, is a major sponsor of the Twins now. They have also slapped their name on the field at the Metrodome, where the NFL Vikings played through 2013.

All in all, my first two visits to Target Field were quite satisfying. I recommend a visit here, though not necessarily early in the season.

Game # Date League Level Result
1084 Sun 22-Aug-2010 American MLB MINNESOTA 4, LA Angels 0
1088 Thu 2-Sep-2010 American MLB Detroit 10, MINNESOTA 9, 13 inn
1276 Sun 18-Aug-2013 American MLB Chi White Sox 5, MINNESOTA 2
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This page updated 23-Feb-2014