Earlier this month I visited friends and family in Minneapolis and took in a game at the new Target Field. It's a great park, surprisingly compact, with narrow foul lines and grandstands right on top of the action. We sat in the left-field bleachers, third-deck, with the Hale Elementary crowd (my nephews' school), which is about as far away as you can get from the action, and we didn't seem that far from the action. It's a vertical stadium, I heard Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer say the other day, where the winds are trapped and swirl around on the field. It wasn't windy where we were, but man was it cold. It was the day after the first rain-out in Minnesota in 20 years, and temps stayed in the 40s throughout the game. We bundled up, I bought a Twins wool cap at the park, but we were still chilled. Occasionally, to warm up, we'd leave our seats and stand under the heaters outside the Town Ball Tavern. I know: Bud Grant wouldn't approve. But this is baseball.
Here's hoping for a World Series in Minnesota. With snow. To point out the absurdity of Bud Selilg's post-season schedule.
My nephew, Ryan, 6, en route to the game.
A VIP room on the second deck, where we weren't allowed (not VI enough), but which has the decency to plaster their outer walls with Minnesota heroes: Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew.
My father and I walked around the stadium for an hour before gametime—both to see the place and stay warm. Here he is on the second deck on the third-base side, enjoying a rare moment of sunshine. “Minnie” and “Paul,” the original Twins, shaking hands over the Mississippi river, rightly lord over center field.
Outside the Town Ball Tavern, photos of Minnesota “town ball” teams from the turn of the last century are displayed—including this suprisingly integrated team, with three black ballplayers, from the 1910s.
Two Minnesotans exulting: Ryan, in the middle of a 2010 loss to the Orioles, and Kirby Puckett rounding the bases after his walk-off homerun in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series: “Jump on my back, I'll carry you,” he said before the game.
The statue of Harmon Killebrew, who hit 573 homeruns and retired fifth on the all-time homerun list in 1975, behind only Aaron, Ruth, Mays and Frank Robinson. Ryan, emulating, hitting his first.