The first Twins game I went to was in 1990 (I was five years old). My Dad and I sat up from third base at the Metrodome, a perfect view for the pregame ceremony of Kirby Puckett receiving the Silver Slugger award for his ‘89 batting excellence.
I was thinking about this at the most recent Twins game I attended, where I sat in the upper deck (again, right up from third base) and saw an overmatched MN squad be ground down by the mercilessly efficient Oakland A’s. I’ve been attending Twins games now for nearly 30 years, and in that time have undergone somewhat of a “seating odyssey” that has brought me full circle back to that initial contest.
Starting in the mid-90s, my Dad would reliably take me to a game or two a season (living three hours from the Dome made these infrequent events). These were the years in which the Twins were often drawing less than 10,000 people per game, so our experience usually went like this: Buy tickets way down the left field line and slowly work our way nearly behind home plate. Whether this was due to my Dad’s stealthiness or a general lack of ushers I’m not sure.
Once the team became competitive again and entered the “get to know ‘em” years of the 2000s, I started jonesing for more lives games each season. To this end I usually enlisted the help of my aunt, who lived in the Metro Area.
She seemingly always had a magical “buy one get one free” deal for upper deck tickets from this coupon book she subscribed too, so her, I, and my two younger brothers viewed a lot of games from that vantage point. My younger brother was a little disappointed that it took the cotton candy vendor so long to reach the hinterlands of the upper deck, but other than that it worked out well. We’d usually be shaded towards first base (because my other brother’s favorite player was Doug Mientkiewicz), and saw a lot of very exciting and winning baseball (as well as having blimps drop things on us, t-shirt cannons not quite be able to reach us, a tremendous view of the giant milk jug, and even once being part of the Hormel Row of Fame).
Then, in 2010, I myself moved much closer to the Twins’ new homestead, Target Field. Talk about an entirely new experience. After years of witnessing what often amounted to circus baseball (even if the Twins did win most of it) and being literally blown out the doors when it was all over, I could relate to TC Bear in the transition outdoors...
During that inaugural season, I pretty much took what I could get in terms of tickets, as all of the games were sellouts. I could often be found sitting in the very back row of the upper deck and marveling that I could see out across the skyline (“he’s an inside bear, and that’s all he knows”).
From 2011-2014, I made two fortuitous discoveries that would shape my Target Field experience: 1. Someone low down in Section 307, right up from first base in the upper deck, must have put their seat for nearly every game on StubHub, a lot of which I gobbled up. If that was anyone on this site, I salute you sir or m’am! 2. I became a “sneak-er” once again. This especially started in 2012, when the team really took a nosedive. I’d find the cheapest ticket I could and then stroll right into the back of, say, Section 120 right up from third in the lower deck. I’d sit in the very back and “mind my own business”, if you will, trying not to look guilty. From time to time I’d be “caught” by an usher and asked to leave, but more times than not I got away with it. A lot of Josh Willingham (and Trevor Plouffe) moonshots were seen from my spot there.
Then, a surprise development in 2015: the Twins started winning again! The only downside to this—no more sneaky lower-deck escapades. It was back to the upper deck for me, and Mr. 307 must have given up the ghost, because this time the best aftermarket spots were up from third base. For whatever reason, I had never really sat over on that side of Target Field much before this time, but I quickly became enchanted by how, from my lofty perch, I could see nearly every nook and cranny of the field and know instantly when a home run ball came off the bat of Sano or Dozier.
I became so enamored with that location (plus it’s quick egress to the public transportation I always take to the park), that for the last three years I’ve purchased a 20-game plan in a seat right up from third base in the upper deck. From time to time I might splurge and upgrade to a lower seat, but to be perfectly honest I actually really enjoy getting that birds-eye view of everything from the upper deck, even if I am sacrificing some sense of scale.
Twenty-eight years of coming to the ballpark. I’ve seen the ups, downs, and everything in between from different vantage points. I was at the game with my Dad and Grandpa in 1991 where Chili Davis tripled in the bottom of the ninth off Dennis Eckersley. My Dad recalls that I had absolutely no idea the magnitude of the moment, but was cheering as loud as anyone. I was also at the game in 2017 where what looked to be the pitching matchup of the year (Ervin Santana vs. Chris Sale) ended up with the Twins losing 17-6. As Bert Blyleven often notes on the TV broadcast: “you just never know what you might see at a baseball game”. I’d also add “or where you might see it from”.
I’m sure a lot of you have great ballpark-seating stories too, and I’d love to hear them!
Where is your preferred baseball seating location?
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Upper deck (birds-eye view)
Lower deck (closer to the action)