DIAMOND CATHEDRALS: Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins

The Twins‘ freshly minted home borrows heavily from some of the newer parks on this list, and that’s a good thing. That’s a really good thing when you’ve spent the last 28 years inside a giant concrete hamburger box. Call Target Field sweet relief for the Twins and their partisans. You can also call it an excellent place to watch and play baseball. There’s a great view of downtown Minneapolis from the upper deck and a cozy feel throughout. Overall, it’s a clean, beautiful park with architecture and amenities that compare favorably to any stadium on this list. Opened April 12, 2010.

IMG_8242Target Field is a baseball park located in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is the home ballpark of the Minnesota Twins, the state’s Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It is the franchise’s sixth ballpark and third in Minnesota. The Twins moved to Target Field for the 2010 Major League Baseball season after 28 seasons at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. It is the first facility built specifically for the Twins since the team moved to the Twin Cities in 1961; Metropolitan Stadium was built for the Minneapolis Millers five years before the franchise’s first season in Minnesota, and the Metrodome was built as a multipurpose stadium for the Twins, Minnesota Vikings, and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football team. The 2010 season was the first since 1936 in which the franchise (then known as the Washington Senators) did not share their home stadium with an NFL team. The Twins received the certificate of occupancy from Mortenson Construction on December 22, 2009. The Twins staff moved in on January 4, 2010.

The first baseball game at the ballpark took place on March 27, 2010, with a college baseball game between the University of Minnesota and Louisiana Tech. The Twins played two preseason games against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 2 and 3, while the stadium’s inaugural regular season game was on April 12, 2010 against the Red Sox.

In 2010, ESPN The Magazine ranked Target Field as the #1 baseball stadium experience in North America.

Target Field was selected to host the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It was the third time the game was played in the Twin Cities.

Target-Field-Night-021The 39,021-seat open-air ballpark is located in the Warehouse District west of Downtown Minneapolis. Designed by Populous with Bruce Miller as principal lead, Target Field is a modern take on other Populous-designed stadiums such as Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Twins opted for a “neutral” park which was intended to favor neither hitters nor pitchers; however, following the 2010 regular season, statistics showed that the park definitely played more to the favor of pitchers than hitters.  In contrast, the Twins’ previous homes in the Twin Cities, Metropolitan Stadium and the Metrodome, were friendly to hitters. Unlike the Metrodome, Target Field is an open-air stadium.

Estimates put the stadium cost at $390 million, while infrastructure and financing costs bring the total to $522 million. Work on the site began on May 21, 2007, with the official groundbreaking for the stadium taking place August 30, 2007, delayed from the original date of August 2 due to the I-35W bridge collapse. The first concrete slab was poured on December 17, 2007.

The first tour was an open house held on March 20 for season ticket holders. Public tours are available on off-days during the season.

First Pitch at Target Field, thrown by Jordan, Minnesota native T.J. Oakes of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 27, 2010.

Target_FieldThe first baseball game played there was on March 27, 2010 between the Minnesota Gophers and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. On that day, 37,757 fans went through the turnstiles from 9:15 a.m. until the conclusion of the game, marking the second-largest attendance for a collegiate baseball game. The largest came on March 11, 2004, when 40,106 fans saw San Diego State and Houston play at Petco Park in San Diego.

Armed Services Appreciation Day, on July 3, 2011. The Twins set a three-game series attendance record (123,385) against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On July 3, 2011, the Twins set a three-game series attendance record (123,385) at Target Field against the Brewers. An attendance record of 43,490 for a single event at Target Field was set on July 12, 2013 during a Kenny Chesney concert. Chesney had also been part of the Target Field’s first ever concert the year before, part of a double-header tour with Tim McGraw.

Populous, the lead architectural design firm, tried to avoid creating a replica of the old-style brick Camden Yards or modern urban design of the new Nationals Park (both also designed by Populous). Instead, the design for the new Twins stadium employs local limestone, heated viewing areas and a heated field. The stadium does not have a roof, but there is a canopy above the top deck. The stadium is integrated with the intermodal Target Field station which connects the METRO Blue Line light rail service with the Minneapolis terminus of the Northstar commuter rail line leading from the northwest. Walter P Moore served as the structural engineer for the stadium and canopy.

First_Pitch_at_Target_FieldThe approved design does not include a retractable roof, though it was considered initially. A retractable roof was cited to add $100 million to the total budget and none of the parties (Twins, Hennepin County or Minnesota Legislature) were willing to pay for that cost.[citation needed] Much like other northern cities with outdoor professional baseball (i.e. Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland, New York), the weather in Minneapolis during a 162-game baseball season and playoffs can vary from early-spring snow to rain and hot, humid weather. The Metrodome was climate-controlled, and thus, protected the baseball schedule during the entire time that it had been the venue for the Minnesota Twins. However, many Twins fans and baseball purists argue that this same sterile, climate-controlled environment creates a less-than-desirable atmosphere for watching baseball. The architect also tested the feasibility of heated seats.

The site is about the same size as that of Fenway Park, and the ballpark holds roughly the same number of seats. The site is bounded by 3rd Avenue (southeast, right field, across from Target Center); 5th Street North (northeast, left field); 7th Street North (southwest, first base); Hennepin Environmental Recovery Center [garbage incinerator] and 6th Avenue North (northwest, third base). 3rd Avenue is a westbound one-way street which dips down under the right field seats and serves as a ramp to I-394 westbound. A separate, small westbound segment of 3rd Avenue, connecting 7th Street North with Glenwood Avenue, was renamed “Twins Way”. The ballpark’s street address, “1 Twins Way”, is at the “foot” of the renamed street.