Take me out to the ball game

by Howard Lestrud
ECM Online Managing Editor
Minnesota Twins Season #2 at Target Field is just a few days away and I can’t wait. Minnesota Twins fans were blown away with the appeal of the new stadium last year and interest in the ballpark seems even greater this year. 
A photo rendering of the new scoreboard in right field is also provided by Populous, Minnesota Twins
Season ticket sales were again capped at 25,000. When single tickets went on sale recently, lines were two blocks long and the traffic on the Internet almost became unmanageable. It was speculated that more than 100,000 fans tried to get tickets for the 2011 Twins season.
Lots of new amenities are planned for the 2011 season. Keep track of the Twins and new features at Target Field by going to the Minnesota Twins website at http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=min
A Star Tribune news story by Kevin Duchschere last fall gives us a rundown of some new features to expect at Target Field. Go to http://www.startribune.com/local/107039178.html
One of the biggest, new changes will be the addition of a new scoreboard in right field. A 100-foot tall LED-lit column (tower)  is installed alongside the new scoreboard which will now give left field fans a chance to see instant replays. Judy and I went on a church bus trip to Target Field last summer and sat in left center field. We were unable to see scoreboard activity because of our location in front of the mega scoreboard.
I am fortunate to be part of a partial season ticket package (40 games) and our seats are located along right field in Section 205. We have a beautiful view of the jumbo scoreboard. I maintain that watching the activities on the huge scoreboard is a very important part of enjoying a Major League baseball game.
The additional scoreboard is in high definition. At 50 by 28 feet, it will be smaller than the main one but still three times larger than the one in the Metrodome.
Duchschere says officials believe the Twins Tower, built where Target Plaza meets the right field stands, will become an iconic ballpark element and a downtown landmark. The tower will flash messages and graphics while displaying the time at the top.
Both the tower and new scoreboard were built by South Dakota-based Daktronics. The new tower may become a new home for Kirby the kestral who made his appearance on the right field foul pole at a few games last year.
More names are added to the Tradition Wall, a popular display featuring Twins players and fans outside the ballpark in Target Plaza. Members of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame are featured on displays on the plaza.
The concrete concourse wall below the Metropolitan Club on the right-field side will be re-clad in the ballpark’s distinctive Kasota Stone, the yellow limestone quarried in Mankato.
Some other new features at Target Field will include:
• New Minnesota-based signature items will be added to the food table. They will include the Walk-A-Taco. The Twins recently announced a new partnership with El Burrito Mercado of St. Paul.  The Walk-A-Taco is a crispy, cone shaped flour tortilla filled with your favorite taco ingredients. CBS Minnesota recently quoted Tomas Silva of El Burrito Mercado: “How do we make Mexican food more accessible whether it’s at sporting events, festivals, whatever it is. Make it so people could enjoy good Mexican food in an easier format.” The Silva family has owned El Burrito Mercado for the past 30 years. Learn more about Target Field’s concessions and dining offerings at TasteOfTwinsTerritory.com (http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/min/ballpark/taste_of_twins_territory/index.jsp)
• Radiant heat, now a cozy amenity on the main level, will be added to the upper-deck terrace level and the Home Run Porch in left field.
• Free Wi-Fi Internet service will be provided throughout the ballpark. The Twins are calling it their “TwiFi” network.
• Another bronze statue on Target Field will be added to keep company with Twins legends Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett. Statues of Carl and Eloise Pohlad and of former Twins owner Calvin Griffith adorn the plaza. The new statue will be of Twins favorite Tony Oliva. The statue will likely be unveiled on or near opening day. It is a given that one will eventually be added for 2011 Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and likely in the future, one will be locate outside Hrbek’s to honor Minnesota’s own, Kent Hrbek.
If you’re looking for a Nishioka #1 jersey or searching for the latest memorabilia surrounding Twins stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, visit the Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store for all of your favorite Twins gear.
The Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store located next to gate 29 at Target Field. The 4,800 square foot Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store is the home for authentic Twins merchandise, collectables, and an assortment of official game used merchandise. This store features products for men, women, children, and toddlers. Jersey customization is also offered at this store in both authentically stitched and heat press application. Call the store for more information on pricing and production times.
The Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store is open year round. During the Twins season, the Twins Majestic Clubhouse Store closes to the public 30 minutes prior to gate time and reopens during baseball games to ticketed guests from the concourse. Five other official Twins Store satellite locations and 10 portable retail locations are open during all Twins games.
Some special Twins promotions are set for the 2011 season. Here’s just a few:
April 24 — Matt Capps Fishing Lure, first 5,000 adult fans
May 14 — Twins Cap, DQ, first 20,000 fans
May 29 — Jim Thome bat, first 5,000 fans 14 and under
June 11 — Jim Perry HOF pin, first 5,000 fans
July 1 — Fireworks, post-game, all fans
July 16 — Bert Blyleven Day, special Blyleven baseball, first 20,000 fans
Aug. 5 — Kent Hrbek/Ron Gant bobblehead, first 10,000 fans
Aug. 18 — Twins tote bag, Delta Air Lines, first 10,000 fans
Sept. 16-17 — Twins calendar, first 20,000 fans each day
Sept. 27 — Twins knit cap, Pepsi, first 10,000 fans

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