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Ballpark Visit: Target Field / Minnesota Twins

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Ballpark Visit: Target Field / Minnesota Twins
The Most Urban Ballpark in the Majors?
A Tailored Experience
Shelter from the Storm
History in Clubland
The Only Retro in the Park
2011 Twins Schedule
Eating at the Park
All Pages

It is the most modern ballpark built in Major League Baseball in decades, a daring 180-degree turn from the retro brick-and-steel look that’s dominated ballpark design for 20 years. Target Field, slated to open this season as the home of the Minnesota Twins, is unlike any other Major League Ballpark on many levels. Retro – the brick and the exposed steel first used in Buffalo’s Pilot Field (now Coca-Cola Field) and almost every Major League Baseball facility built since, including the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field – was totally eschewed in favor of a more modern design. That means a clean design, with lots of angles, glass, wood, and cantilevered areas.


FAST FACTS

Capacity: 40,000 seats (including 1,991 bleacher seats, 7,000 club-level seats, and 19,000 infield seats), 41,500 total capacity.
Dimensions: 339L, 377LC, 411LC, 404 dead center, 403RC. 365RC, 328R
Outfield Wall: 8 feet from the left-field foul pole to right center and 23 feet from right-center field to the right-field foul pole.
Owner: Minnesota Ballpark Authority
Architect: Populous (Kansas City), in association with HGA Architects (Minneapolis)
Construction: Mortenson (Minneapolis)
Project Budget: $545 million
Suites: 54 suites, 2 party suites, 8 event suites
Playing Field: Four-way blend of Kentucky Bluegrass
Restrooms: 401 fixtures for women, 266 for men.
Address: Technically, Target Field has a new address of 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis. Most GPS units and online map sites will not recognize this address. In these cases, use the alternate: 326 7th St. N., Minneapolis, MN 55403.
Parking: There are parking ramps next to the ballpark, most accessible directly from the Sixth Street and Fourth Street exits to the ballpark. On weekends, fans will want to park for free in the North Loop area and walk to the ballpark. In addition, the ballpark has skyway access, so you can park in any skyway-accessible parking ramp and walk to the ballpark. We've found that the cheaper surface lots can be found off the Fourth Street exit. Beware the Sixth Street exit: It puts you in the middle of Minneapolis traffic and not very close to any available parking.
Directions: Target Field sits on the western side of downtown Minneapolis. From the west: Take I-394 to downtown Minneapolis. The ramps at the Sixth Street exit are connected by skyway to the ballpark. From the north: Take I-94 to the Hwy. 55/Olson Memorial Highway exit and head east toward downtown. Take a right at North Seventh Street, and the ballpark will be on your left. From the south: Take I-35 to I-94 West. Exit at Hennepin Avenue and keep to the right. Stay on Hennepin Avenue to North Seventh Street or North Fifth Street and hang a left to get to the ballpark. From the east: Take I-94 West to the Hennepin Avenue exit and keep to the right. Stay on Hennepin Avenue to North Seventh Street or North Fifth Street and hang a left to get to the ballpark. There should be plenty of signage. Since the ballpark is next to Target Center, you can follow any Target Center signage to the ballpark. Bike riders can take the Cedar Lake Trail to the ballpark and park in one of the 300 bike spots in the ballpark site.

The best way to appreciate Target Field is by walking to the ballpark, preferably from the corner of First Avenue and Sixth Street. You're at the intersection of old and new -- Butler Square is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Minneapolis, while kittycorner Block E is one of the newest -- and there's a bustle there most hours of the day. Start walking toward the ballpark by entering the plaza. When you reach the gates of Target Field, the transformation will be complete; you've gone from busy urban landscape to bucolic atmosphere in less than two blocks.

The decision to go modern is a radical departure for Populous, whose reputation was made creating and honing the retro style in baseball. It’s a tribute to the Twins front office and ownership to stick with a modern style and wholeheartedly embrace it. Target Field is a ballpark built by people who love baseball and love Minnesota; you expect Garrison Keillor to be standing at the front gates offering hot dish and egg coffee to all comers.

The decision to go modern and put an emphasis on the details will serve the Twins well in the long run. The world didn’t need another retro ballpark. Ironically, the Warehouse District/North Loop location of Target Field is the perfect milieu for retro; there’s a lot of brick very close to the ballpark. And, indeed, the Twins ballpark design pays homage to that brickwork: the plaza serves as a connector to downtown Minneapolis does feature brick and exposed steel, along with a really cool hand-crafted wind shield on the side of the parking ramp. Each element of the wind shield was installed by hand, and the shield pattern changes based on the direction and intensity of the breezes. But the ballpark itself has no brick: the exterior is made up of Minnesota limestone.