It feels like every year, Target Field undergoes a mini-makeover. Without looking, I’m going to attempt to name every change the ballpark has received since opening in 2010.
- Captain Morgan bar down the left field line no longer sponsored by Captain Morgan
- Smaller video board built above right field grandstand
- Seats by right field pole torn out, replaced by Great Clips seats
- Trees just beyond center field fence removed
- Upper deck center field seats replaced by Catch and Minnie and Paul’s bars
- Merchandise store by left field foul pole replaced by Barrio bar
- Season ticket-exclusive Metropolitan Club became Bat & Barrel bar/restaurant
- Reshaping various concourse traffic bottlenecks
Okay, I cheated on a few of those and I’m sure I’m missing others, but the point is that the Twins have constantly been making changes to Target Field to accommodate the fans. This brings us to the latest changes that are to be completed just before the start of the 2019 season. We can look forward to:
- Gate 34 getting moved out, adding 5,100 square feet inside the ballpark
- The 9 topiaries on Target Plaza will be removed
- The giant Gold Glove outside Gate 34 will be moved and will no longer be on a platform, making it handicap-accessible
- The Great Clips seats are being torn out
- The FSN broadcast set is being moved to Section 104
- A turf area for children will be added to the spot vacated by the current Gate 34, roughly a little larger size than the space created by moving Gate 34 out
One of the selling points of Target Field (and improvements over the Metrodome) was that fans could watch the game from most locations on the concourses around the park. Over the years, more and more obstructions were added to the right field plaza, reducing the sightlines for fans wandering near the flagpoles. The hope with removing the Great Clips seats and moving the FSN set is to have more fans congregating just inside Gate 34 during games, as it was originally intended.
Additionally, I’m happy to see the Twins are finally doing something for children at games. The organization used to have a few video game kiosks in center field, but those were removed after the first couple seasons. After that, the most kid-friendly attraction was probably the Digital Clubhouse in left field, and even that didn’t look that thrilling to me when I’d walk by. (Note: Due to working at Inside Edge, I usually only went to ~2 games per season over the last few years.) There were also the weekend Kids Days and Sunday autograph sessions, but otherwise the organization has always been lacking in entertaining children for more than a few minutes.
I went to CHS Field for the first time this summer to watch the St. Paul Saints and in addition to the constant between-inning entertainment, I was struck by the rock climbing wall located on the backside of the center field batter’s eye. The Saints have always been a cut above the better-drawing baseball team, but even other major league organizations have been ahead of the Twins over the past decade. I’ve always been pleased with the San Diego Padres and what they do for families at Petco Park, and the addition of this “kids space” in right field will be a welcome sight for both children and parents.
Finally, all of these changes will once again be paid entirely by the Twins organization. I’m happy to see the team has consistently focused on making improvements to the ballpark, keeping the stadium fresh as it approaches the completion of its first decade of existence. Now we just have to get myjah on the case to do some more investigative reporting.