When the gates opened at noon on April 12, many Twins fans were storming in from all six gates of Target Field. The gates were opened by the player who wore the gate number, besides gate 34, which was opened by Kirby Puckett’s son. About 30 minutes before the gates open, they unveiled a statue of Kirby Puckett on Target Plaza.
I arrived at the Target Field Light Rail Station at around 1:00 pm, and when I rolled down the promenade, I saw championship banners hanging from the ballpark, banners of players hanging from light posts, and oversized baseball cards of Twins greats. While I was rolling down 7th Street, Rick Prescott of ballparkmagic.com stopped me and said “I saw you on MPR’s website.” That was pretty cool since I have been following his website for two years (thank you Rick for putting a link to our blog on your website). When I rolled onto Target Plaza, I saw a ton of fans roaming around having a great time exploring every nook and cranny of the plaza.
When I entered Target Field from gate 29, the concourse was full of people. After getting my Homer Hanky, I checked out the view from the lower deck between home and first base. It was a pretty sweet view, but there wasn’t a view of the massive scoreboard. When I rolled to an elevator, fans were very respectful in letting fans in wheelchairs go on first.
Once I got to the terrace level, I rolled into a store called Twins Gear and bought an opening day T-shirt. When I got to my seats, I saw something I’d never seen at the Dome: helicopters in the sky and people on rooftops behind Target Field. It was awesome to see those people on top of those buildings.
The ceremonies started at 2:22 pm with the raising of flags next to the scoreboard. Former players raised the flags of the pennant years. They then introduced the players the Twins with retired numbers (among them Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew). They showed a cool construction time-lapse video of Target Field then introduced both teams.
Then things got, let just say, awesome. Mortenson construction workers rolled out a huge American flag that covered the entire width of the outfield. After the national anthem, fireworks went off from behind the main scoreboard and four fighter jets flew above the stadium. Finally at 3:12 pm, with everyone who could stand standing, Carl Pavano threw out the very first official pitch at Target Field.
During the game, Jason Kubel hit the first home run of Target Field in the 7th inning. Oh, yes, the Twins did win.
After the game, I found two flaws. When I asked Guest Services by section 204 for a “Target Field Access Guide,” the guy had no clue where one was. Another flaw was trying to get on the Light Rail train after the game. The line was way too long at the Target Field station. So, I went out to eat with my group until the line subsided. Even an hour after the game, trains were jammed packed. The Twins should have one train just for fans in wheelchairs, seriously! Some people in wheelchairs are unable to drive.
A quick suggestion for fans in wheelchairs: If the elevator room is not packed, take it! I went down the ramp and it seemed to take forever. However, going down the ramp provides good views of outside and fans on the concourse.
Here are four pictures from the events that took place on April 12:
Written by: Michael L. Sack