by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
When I see the “50” patch on the uniforms of the 2010 Twins, it reminds me of just how many years I’ve been going to baseball games. I was present when Willie Mays hit his first of two home runs at Metropolitan Stadium. It was a1957 exhibition game between the Giants and the Millers. (The other was in the 1965 All Star Game.) I saw homers by Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Frank Robinson, and quite a few by a guy from Idaho named Harmon. One game I remember more than others was a camera day at the Met on July 3, 1980. Twins outfielder Ken Landreaux hit three triples in that game. It’s been done a few times in the majors, but the first and only time ever by a Twins player. Fast forward 30 years to 2010. My first visit to Target Field came on the guy from Idaho’s 74th birthday, June 29th. Denard Span equaled the Landreaux feat, and I was in the stands. What are the odds.
We got to Target Field early enough to take a look around. The gates are numbered 3, 6, 14, 29, and 34. Sort of like MSC lane assignments. There are a few exhibits to see, but most of the surroundings are stands of people selling stuff for ridiculous prices. We did receive a free tote bag from Delta Airlines. The quality was so so, but I’ll add it to my souvenir collection. Delta also provided a chorus to sing the National Anthem. It was probably the best I’ve ever heard before a sporting event. The scoreboard is fantastic. It provides almost everything you want to know about the batter, except maybe his brand of underwear. The Twins broke out of their losing funk, Denard hit three triples, Jim Thome hit #572, (only one behind the guy from Idaho on the all time list), and Twins fans went home happy. Except ……….
Despite all the gushing hype, there is a fly in the Target Field ointment. As you enter the field, you will here the no smoking guy announce to all to please refrain from walking down an aisle during an at bat. They repeat it on the Twins-O-Gram at various times during the game. That does about as much good as asking bugs not to fly into your windshield when you drive at night. And vendors are either exempt or don’t care at all. Our seats were in the first base area, section 105, row 17 and seat 17, just to the right of an aisle of steps. I was not able to see the batter about half of the time because someone in my row wanted another beer. At one time, I counted seven vendors on the steps in the 17 rows leading toward the field. You can’t miss them, they wear bright yellow shirts. I had to sit back, listen to the crack of the bat, and wait for the ball to sail over Magglio’s head. I also noticed quite a few empty seats here and there although it was a sellout crowd. Later I noticed about 2000 people standing in various lines to buy another beer, or get rid of the one they had two innings ago. Sorry Target Field, but you only get a B- from me. And when I go back, it will be to the second deck. There weren’t so many vendors there.
On the bright side, I got to watch a ball game without having to watch a stupid Burger King ad. But I do like Mr. Morneau McDonald pumping iron with bears.
TV commercial score: McDonald’s 10 -
Burger King 0