This was my third consecutive Opening Day and I could not wait for the season to start. It was going to be a fun year for both the Twins, who are looking to go on another playoff run after some big offseason pickups, and for myself. Just like last year, I plan to visit some more new stadiums and catch some more game homeruns. Additionally, Target Field will be hosting some version of Ballhawk Fest on August 25th (more details to come), so my summer is set to end on a great note.
I arrived at the gates just after 10:45, over two hours before they were set to open for the 3:10 home opener. Tony and his friend/road trip partner Jared were already there and claimed their spot at the front of the line. To stay warm and pass the time, Tony and I played catch in the plaza. Before long, Dave and James arrived and we recorded an episode for Tony’s “At The Gates” podcast. Here’s what the line behind us looked like right before the gates opened:
Unfortunately, my spot at the front of the line did me no good because there wasn’t any batting practice today with temperatures hovering around freezing. This was the only action happening when the gates opened:
Instead of watching, I took a couple laps around the stadium to explore new features, including the mandatory protective netting down each baseline, and to get food. The Twins completely renovated the right field corner of the concourse, adding additional limestone and a new staircase near the foul pole, expanding a food stand and the Twins Authentics booth, and opening a new restaurant called Bat and Barrel.
Target Field was looking pretty bleak for Opening Day and it was obvious that it had just snowed almost a foot less than 48 hours before. There were no plants in the flower pots lining the outfield wall, no water in the drinking fountains, and the concourses were a soupy mess of snow, ice, salt, mud, and water. There was no ceremonial bunting, just a bunch of icicles. Other than the green grass, the stadium was as winterized as it is for Twins Fest. But other than the stadium gates being frozen shut, the ceremonial bald eagle landing on the opposing starting pitcher, the anticlimactic flyover happening simultaneous to the bird attack, and the Twins deciding to start all four bench guys today, Opening Day went smoothly as ever. While you can sense my sarcasm, it was still great to see everyone again and to kick off the 2018 season. This was my view for the national anthem and for the game:
(Most people weren’t in their seats by this time, but it was a sellout crowd in the end.)
During the game, I was very observant to any changes made to the overall gameday experience, including scoreboard design/layout, presentation of information, ballpark music, sound and lighting effects, fireworks, hype video, walk up songs, and between inning entertainment. I always notice the little things like these, and when you go to enough games, they get pretty repetitive. Unfortunately, minimal changes were made this year, which is disappointing from a presentation aspect.
The Twins came back to win 4-2 in what was the coldest game I have ever attended out of nearly 100 games. The game time temperature was 38 degrees, four degrees cooler than my previous low, set twice back in April of 2014 and 2016. I didn’t snag any balls this game, but when I do, I will be logging them on MyGameBalls.com this year.
Thanks for reading. I should be attending two games next week and maybe even a minor league game this weekend, so be on the lookout for those posts. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Instagram @everythingtwins. Thanks again and Go Twins!