As soon as word hit the street last Friday that the Twins were able to welcome fans into Target Field this season, my heart skipped several beats. A couple of weeks ago, I’d pointed out that it had been 600 days since my family last sat in the stands at a Twins game (now 620 long, sad days), and with the announcement came the joy and hope of a thousand-and-one kids on Christmas morning. And then it hit me: holy shit tickets are going to be super scarce this season.
Or are they?
I assumed people would be bare-knuckle boxing in the streets to get their hands on a pair of tickets after we’ve been locked away for a year, wishing we were one of those cardboard cutouts or holograms in the stands. With just 25% of the tickets available to start the season and no real answers as to when they’ll be allowed more, I was sure that fans would start looking on the dark web to find out how to sell their spare organs to score a seat at Target Field this Spring (hey, who reeeeeally needs two kidneys, amirite?). Opening Day tickets typically sell out in a normal year with 40,000 seats available - despite the high chance of sitting in 35 degree cold - so I could probably kiss my chances of scoring tickets to one of the first few games goodbye.
As it turns out, I might have overestimated the desire to come together with 10,000 masked strangers at a time. In the week or so since the big fans-in-the-stands announcement came, I’ve come to realize that I might get to keep both kidneys after all. So, you may be asking, why the change in tune? Well, my friends... pull up a chair and I’ll tell you.
Reason I Was Wrong Number One: The ‘Rona
Let me set one scene: My husband and I are part of a full-season ticket group. Our group consists of mostly older-than-us guys nearing/past retirement, and it’s always worked out well because the retired partners have the ability to go to those Thursday afternoon games when we still-working shlubs are usually stuck at the office, the younger whippersnappers are more willing to stay up past 8 pm on a Tuesday to be at the ballpark, and those of us with school age kids don’t mind the Sunday afternoons when the aforementioned whippersnappers are just getting out of bed. Every year, we hold a draft to pick what games we want to see. And every year, if there are any games we wanted but didn’t get, it was no problem to hop online and get four tickets in our desired location.
So when the announcement came that we could be at the games, knowing that we had a full season’s worth of tickets brought me some peace of mind that we’d get at least one early April game in, even if Covid shuts us down again after the start of the season.
<cue the record scratch>
It turns out that most of our season ticket partners were not comfortable attending a game right now and our group voted 6-1 to not get our tickets this year. Most of our ticket partners decided they are not willing to go to a game, even with masks and spacing in the great outdoors until they are fully-vaccinated and the Covid infection rate has dropped to a nearly non-existent level.
Now bear in mind that I have been one of the most conservative among the people I know when it comes to Covid. My family has some health concerns and people to protect, and I have been a big stay-at-home proponent, and only hang/eat/play/meet while masked and outside and only with the smallest of groups of people. (Yes, I know the ability to stay home reeks of privilege, and I don’t take that privilege lightly). So if I, the ‘Chicken Little’ among my friends and family, am willing to venture out to a Corona-era ball game, how is it that these guys wouldn’t want to go?
Which leads me to...
Reason I Was Wrong Number Two: Ticket Availability
Our regular season ticket partners left us in a bind. I was sure the only way into the gates would be to snap up our own, smaller ticket plan. We debated between the Flex plan or a 20 or 40 game plan. I was sure we’d need a full season because it’d be the only way into the Home Opener. I mean, obviously we’d have zero problem unloading tickets if we couldn’t go to all those games. My husband, the brake to my gas pedal, pointed out that A) we didn’t grow a money tree during the last year and B) it’d be a ginormous pain to sell tickets. (I hate when he’s right.) So we settled on a Flex plan, complete with all the perks of being a season ticket holder.
When I called the Twins to order our tickets, I was surprised that I was even able to get a Flex plan. I mean, the logistical nightmare that the Twins would be facing to accommodate random tickets like that must have been enough to drive a person insane. Needless to say, we (the not-full-season-ticket holders) get access to pre-sale for the Opener, and as it looks right now will probably get our tickets for not only that game, but pretty much any game we want.
Which now leads me to...
Reason I was Wrong Number Three: Group Outings Are Apparently Still A Thing
I am the group organizer for my children’s elementary school, and our game has been on the books for months to take place on April 11. I was sure that group outings like ours (250+ people) would be put on hold until the stands could be filled at 75-100%. I mean, with season ticket holders hogging the majority of what’s available, how could the Twins possibly be able to offer 250 tickets to one group?
And then my phone rang on Thursday of this week and my group ticket rep (shout out to the amazing Brian B.!) said we got our game! So I scrambled and got word out quickly because our final order had to be in by early next week. Our group often has to beg for extra tickets every year because we sell out so quickly, so I was bracing myself for the onslaught of orders and worrying I’d have to put people on a wait list. With tickets so hard to come by this year, this might be the only way most of these families will be able to snag a ticket.
Within the first hour of announcing the game, BAM! We had 60 tickets sold.
And then? Crickets.
Some people who normally go every year are on the fence because of Covid (see reason 1 above). Some people already made plans for that day (we hadn’t announced the date, assuming it wasn’t going to happen). Some people don’t want to go so early in the season when it might be super cold (valid concern with squirrelly, whining kindergarteners). And some? Well that leads me to...
Reason I was Wrong Number Four: Lack of Interest
Remember last year at this time? We die hards were curled up in the fetal position, sobbing because ‘Rona paused Spring Training... And then delayed the season from starting... AND THEN players and owners
couldn’t get their shit together started to disagree on safety protocols and contracts and salaries and the amount of games played.
Well, during that time, resourceful baseball fans found other ways to pass their time - new hobbies, shows to binge watch, et cetera, et cetera. When baseball finally did return, we couldn’t attend the games in person and watching games on TV was kind of lame with fake crowd noise and cardboard cutouts (or the creepy way that some broadcasts tried to CGI fans into the stands). We as a society have short attention spans and if something isn’t flashy or exciting, it’s not going to keep our eye for very long. Part of the allure of going to a ballgame is the atmosphere and the shared experience with people cheering for one common thing. Watching a three hour game without the buzz of the crowd or the buzz from a few overpriced beers, or without the between-innings entertainment like kiss cams and quizzes becomes - dare I say - boring to those that aren’t obsessed with baseball.
The icing on the frustration cake was watching players (mostly millionaires) and owners (mostly billionaires) bicker over contracts and scheduling. Just as it happened during the strike of 1994, removing baseball from us for months on end because rich people are fighting over playing a game (to put it simply) really left the fans angry and annoyed. During a time where people were losing their jobs and their health and their normal lives, bickering over multi-million dollar contracts seemed ridiculous.
And the cherry on top? The Twins shat the bed in the post season. Again.
Reason Number Five I was Wrong: Venturing Into Downtown Minneapolis
This is a very touchy subject for some, and I won’t be getting too deeply into it, nor will I allow comments about this go unmoderated. (For real. Do. Not. Post. Inflammatory. Commentary. About. Race Relations/Police/BLM/The Trial. Inflammatory comments will be removed, and you may get banned from this site). But there does remain the fact that the start of the baseball season is going to be happening at the same time that a very important trial will be happening in Hennepin County. We all watched with broken hearts as the city we love burned after the horrific death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer. And now that officer is going to trial around the same time that we are to be flocking into downtown Minneapolis to the gates of Target Field. People are worried about the outcome of that trial igniting anger no matter what the verdict is. The idea of being at a game when the verdict is handed down and what that means for the city (the people, the property, the safety, the police.. everything and everyone) frankly scares some people.
These reasons combined, my friends, all smacked me at once this week and led me to the realization: People aren’t as obsessed with baseball as I am.
I know some people prefer football or hockey or soccer or basketball or whatever. I know that some people just couldn’t care less about sportsballs in general. But I thought for sure that 10,000 people per game would be lining up at the gates of Target Field, chomping at the bit for their first opportunity to see live Twins baseball for themselves for the first time in at least 620+ days. But people have real and valid reasons for not flocking to the seats. This is rare, my friends. I do not admit to being wrong very often. This, however, became one of the few occasions where I am willingly admitting to my wrong-ness. To my husband who is probably reading this: enjoy knowing I admitted to being wrong and even admitted that you were right. (Grumble grumble grumble.. don’t get used to it.)
So, dear readers, I have to ask..
Are YOU going to (try to) be one of the 10,000 in the first few months of the season?
ARE YOU PLANNING ON GOING TO A GAME EARLY IN THE 2021 SEASON?
This poll is closed
I kept my season tickets and you can pry them from my cold, dead hands
I bought a ticket plan for the first time this year to make sure I got to go to a game this Spring
I don’t have season tickets but I plan to call obsessively the day that single game tickets go on sale if tickets are available
I don’t have season tickets but I’m hopeful to get into a game at some point if the opportunity is available
I’m not comfortable going during Rona times
I’m scared to go to Minneapolis
Meh. I don’t really care if I go to a game or not. I usually watch on TV anyway.
Baseball sucks I don’t go to those boring ass games ever.