Sunday, May 29, 2011

Target Field

Target Field
1 Twins Way
Minneapolis, MN 55403

May 23, 2011: For the first time in our traveling career, we flew Frontier Airlines. There’s a lot wrong with that airline, but we’re not going to even go into that right now because this post is supposed to be about Target Field. We’ll cover that in a separate special edition blog posting. For starters, we couldn’t find a direct flight to Minneapolis, which means in order to get to our Twins game, the two worst flyers in history had to take two flights. Serena wore her “Goonies Never Say Die” t-shirt for luck.
Our connecting flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis was a chicken plane. We’re pretty sure Gonzo and Camilla were sitting in the seats next to us. We were scared.
Clearly, we survived both flights and made it to Target Field just fine. Getting to Target Field is super easy. We spent the day walking around Minneapolis, so we simply walked to the stadium, but it’s also accessible via bus and Hiawatha Light Rail, which is the city’s very small and easy-to-navigate subway system. Outside the stadium is this bronze statue of Rod Carew:
Upon first seeing Target Field, we only stood there on the sidewalk and stared at its fa├žade, perplexed. Its modern design and glass windows reminded us of JFK’s airport terminal.
Trying to remain optimistic, we wandered into the team’s store to purchase our traditional merchandise. Lisa spent $24 on her TC Bear only to find that it was deformed. Now…the problem here is that we can’t figure out if all of the TC dolls look like they’ve suffered a stroke or if she wasn’t paying attention and happened to pick up a defective one. Of course, we could’ve gone back to the store and asked for an exchange, but we’re pretty lazy and had already started to walk the exterior of the stadium for investigatory purposes.
In the process of our investigation, Serena managed to pull the arch of her right foot. Being that Lisa is a ¼ of an inch shorter than Serena and that Serena probably weighs more than her, there was no way in hell Lisa was going to be physically able to carry Serena on her back for the night. Therefore, Serena spent the rest of the evening (and trip) hobbling around with an injured foot.

Nevertheless, we made it inside and headed down to field level to observe batting practicing, thinking that this could be the chance for Serena to meet her Future Husband (Lisa giving up on the hope of meeting Joe Mauer for obvious reasons).
Unfortunately, the stadium didn’t open its gates early enough for us to catch Twins’ batting practice, so we were relegated to watching the Mariners. We managed to snap a few photos of the infield during that time though:
Scoreboard:
An old school Twins logo depicting where the team’s name comes from (for those of you who do not know, Twins come from the “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis and St. Paul):
If you look closely near the bottom right corner of the sign, you’ll notice a red banner that says, “THOME 591” in white letters. At game time, 591 was the total career home runs hit by Jim Thome. We’ll get into that a bit more later.

Bored by the Mariners, we decided to check out what this stadium had to offer in terms of food. We already knew we were eating a hot dog because the stadium PA system kindly notified us that Monday was “$1 Hot Dog Mondays!” You can buy up to 2 $1 hot dogs from any Taste of Twins Territory stand as long as quantities last. As soon as we heard that announcement, we added hot dogs to our list of things to eat at Target Field. But we wanted to experience something unique to Target Field or at the very least, to Minneapolis. So we wandered the concourse. We found a mobile Asian Wok stand along the way that offered fans something we’ve never seen at a stadium before and that something made Serena giddy. That, our friends, is the glorious Sriracha sauce.
After completing the circuit, we purchased our $1 hot dogs and returned to our seats, which were on the first base side (so that Serena could enjoy her Future Husband for an entire game). Serena coated her dog with Sriracha sauce and Lisa added relish, ketchup, and yellow mustard (there weren’t many toppings to choose from).
The hot dogs were…awful. In fact, awful doesn’t even describe how bad they were. Literally, their only saving grace was the Sriracha sauce Serena added and Lisa didn’t even get to enjoy that addition. She got to eat “ass in the mouth.” At least the Sriracha disguised the “ass in the mouth” taste. Before you ask, no. They weren’t as bad as the Dodger Dogs. The Dodger Dog is still reigning king of Worst Hot Dog in the History of Mankind.
On May 17th, Hall of Famer and former Twins’ player/commentator, Harmon Killebrew, died of esophageal cancer. Our series was the Twins’ first home stand since his death and the Twins’ responded to his death by etching Killebrew’s number 3 in the dirt behind second base, wrapping a black band around his retired number in left field, and raising a flag in his honor in right field, along with the United States and POW/MIA flags.
On the right-center field wall, the Twins’ stamped his autograph in gold.
In addition, during their home stands for the remainder of the year, the Twins will wear the 1961 cream throwback jerseys with Killebrew’s number patch sewn on the right sleeves.

Prior to the game, the Twins held a beautiful ceremony to honor Killebrew. It included a video montage, featuring Twins’ current players talking about what Killebrew meant to them and while the players gathered around Killebrew’s number, manager, Ron Gardenhire spoke about his memory and class.
Even though we were poser Twins fans (anyone catch the fact that we’re wearing Twins t-shirts in these pictures?) for the night, we truly were affected by the ceremony. Serena teared up and became choked while Lisa legitimately cried. No. We didn’t take pictures of this outpouring of emotion, so don’t ask for them.

The game got underway shortly after the ceremony. Our pitching matchup was Carl Pavano (ass clown) and Jason Vargas. Each time Pavano and his a-hole moustache took the mound, Serena never failed to say, “I f*cking hate him. He’s an ass clown. I hope he gets herpes. He’s f*cking useless.” Jack Cust started the offense off by hitting a 2-run home run that scored Ichiro Suzuki. Of course, the home run prompted Serena to mutter, “f*cking useless.”

In the bottom of the 1st, Denard Span answered with a lead-off solo shot to right field. The scoreboard shot off fireworks, which Serena missed taking a picture of because she was too busy keeping score in our notebook! The Mariners would retaliate immediately in the 2nd with Chris Giminez’s RBI double to right field. At the close of the 2nd, the score was 4-1. Naturally, all this note taking and booing of Pavano made us hungry (plus, we needed to get rid of the ass taste of the hot dogs out of our mouths), so we decided to hit up a nearby Brat stand (we’re told that the Midwest is known for the brats). Lisa got a polish sausage and Serena got a bratwurst. Both were $7, grilled, came with grilled onions and sauerkraut, and were served on a sesame seeded bun.
As you can see, they’re pretty hearty. What you can’t see is that they were FAN-F*CKING-TASTIC. The meat had this great black pepper taste to it. Our mouths are watering just thinking about them now.

So remember that Thome sign we directed you to? Jim Thome hit #592 in the bottom of the 4th and boy, was that an f’n BOMB. The 2-run shot to right field traveled a total of 465 feet and made the score 4-3. Now familiar with what a home run brings at Target Field, Serena readied her camera immediately. Unfortunately, these are the photos she managed to get:
and
Well…we can’t exactly get mad at a fan celebrating, can we? Even if he ruined our photo opportunities. Let’s check out the Thome sign again, shall we?
Look at us, witnessing history. Span would tie the game on an RBI single later in the inning. The Twins eventually took the lead in the bottom of the 5th with a Delmon Young RBI single to left field that scored Michael Cuddeyer. The single would remove Vargas from the game in favor of Aaron Laffey.

In the top of the 7th, we spotted TC Bear (with the pedophile Ronald McDonald) wandering the concourse behind right field. Needless to say, we booked it like fat kids chasing cake. Of course, we purposefully avoided taking a picture with Ronald McDonald.
While we were up and about, we chose to get a “sweetie” for dessert. We had the choice of awesome-looking cupcakes, cookies, red velvet cake, mini-doughnuts, gelato, and something called a “Minneapie.” Minneapie was described to us by the cashier as “fried apple pie.” Who the f*ck isn’t attracted to the sound of that??? PLUS, we figured that we could get that other stuff anywhere, but a “Minneapie?” Surely we can only get that in Minneapolis. In our imaginations, we pictured the Minneapie to be an apple pie fried in batter…like fried chicken…and then sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon! Oooooh, were we excited! Eagerly, we handed over $7 and waited for our dessert! Hot and fresh from the oven, we got a cinnamon sprinkled Lean Pocket. Seriously. No joke. It looks like a damn Lean Pocket.
Don’t get us wrong. It wasn’t bad. It was tasty. However, it didn’t live up to our imagination or red velvet cake and mini-doughnuts. If you’re interested in sampling this treat, the stand we purchased it from is located in field level behind left centerfield. PLUS, in our devouring of the Minneapie, we missed Thome’s 593rd home run AND the fireworks display!!!
We returned to our seats to enjoy the rest of the game when we realized that it was just after 10:00 pm. The city of Minneapolis was turning our hotel’s water off for whatever reason at 11:00 pm. If we didn’t get back before then, we’d be unable to wash our faces, brush our teeth, or flush the toilet for 4 hours after that. That just wouldn’t do. With Thome’s 2-run home run making the score 7-4, we were confident that the Twins had this game in the bag, so in the 8th, we decided to grab a taxi back to the hotel so that we can be fresh for sleep.
What did we find upon our arrival to our hotel room? The Twins fell apart! They allowed the Mariners to tie the game in the 9th! With our faces clean, our teeth brushed, and our bladders empty, we watched as the game went into extra innings with the Twins eventually LOSING 8-7 in the 10th! How do you lose that game? Jim Thome single-handedly gave you that victory on silver platter with nuts!

The song that we’d like to dedicate to our Target Field adventure goes something like this, “Bye bye, Minneapie. We walked ourselves to the stadium and had a good time. The good ole boys were drinking whiskey and wine and we thought, why couldn’t this Minneapie be better?”

We did promise to give a little shout out to Bryan (hopefully, he spells it this way and not “Brian”) and Pete, two Twins fans we met on Tuesday night at Prohibition, the rooftop bar at the Foshay Tower of the W Hotel. They were loads of fun and saved us from being harassed by a creeptastic man who tried to molest Lisa.

One more thing that we need to point out is that either we’re the Masters of Disguise or the population of Minneapolis is completely clueless as to what the Twins are doing on any given day. Everywhere we went in that city, we were peppered with one or all of the following questions:
“Are the Twins back in town?”
“Are the Twins playing tonight?”
“What time is the game?”
“Did the Twins win?” (Note: the game hadn’t even been played yet)

What’s the deal here?? Just because your team’s having a terrible season, doesn’t mean you pretend they don’t exist! They were in the playoffs just last year, people!

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