Went to Minneapolis to catch Games 2 and 3 of the weekend set against the Twins. I have a great many thoughts and feelings regarding this weekend, but before we talk about anything else, I have to ask... Who was the A's fan who had a friend in a red hat, where said friend in red hat passed out half way through the game and had to be woke (wakened?) after the game was over? I have to admit, it was quite humorous to watch.
Ok, back to the serious stuff, random thoughts about the experience...
Saturday: Ours was a 5 hour drive to reach the stadium, and we got there in the top of the 1st. The place was packed. Gio pitched well, as did Blackburn for the Twins. It was nice to see a scattering of A's fans throughout the stands. From what I could tell, fans of both teams were extremely frustrated by their team's offense... or lack thereof. (There are other game re-cap threads, so this will be primarily about being there and the experience.)
As has been mentioned in other recent threads regarding Twins' fans, they were great. Very friendly. We got some teasing for being "the enemy", but it was always good natured, and was fun to interact with them like that. Not once did we ever feel threatened or any hostility. The crowd was "electric', too, which I will talk more about later.
Sunday: The weather was windy and borderline crappy, and there were a lot of no-shows, but it was still a large crowd. While the crowd Saturday night seemed mostly younger couples and 'electric', Sunday's crowd was more family-oriented, and less outwardly friendly. Most of the families were turned inward and less prone to talk or interact with those around them. They weren't unfriendly, they just weren't engaging.
McCarthy pitched extremely well, also. The wind was blowing in, pretty heavy at times, so I was surprised to see any home runs at all. Yet, Matsui and Thome hit impressive HRs, and Willingham simply crushed his. Twins fans have really latched onto Thome, btw. If you didn't know any better, you'd think that all 590 of his HRs have come in a Twins uniform.
The Stadium: This was our first visit to Target Field. We had all been to the Metrodome before. I didn't think the Metrodome was great, but I was ok with it. I had seen far worse in my day. Target Field, I thought, was nice. Not the best I have ever seen, or even close, but nice. I will admit that I am a fan of the faux retro look, and this was more modern. It was much "taller" than I expected, if that makes any sense. Sight lines are good. Layout is good. I'm also a sucker for downtown backdrops. Seats are cramped, though. Yeah, I'm a little bigger than average, but I'm not huge either.
One thing that struck me... it's laid out in a somewhat similar way to the Coliseum and Mt Davis in that it has somewhat of a "closed-in" feeling similar to Mt Davis. Just not as overwhelming or dominating as Mt Davis. You see actual people on the other side of the field, and there are a couple opening where you can see downtown. The views of the downtown helped ease any claustrophobic feelings, I'm sure.
Saturday we sat down the LF line a couple section past 3B about half way up. Except for being packed in like sardines, they were good seats.
Sunday we sat in the "Home Run Porch" in LF. First row. This was a lot of fun. A little more room. A different perspective. The porch overhangs the field a bit, so we couldn't see any deep LF plays, but that was kind of fun in its own right. I normally like to be as close to home plate as possible, but I could do this more often.
Ingress & Egress: The stadium was easy to move about during the game. That was nice. They get huge kudos, however, for their parking. I have never seen stadium/arena parking so easy to get in and out of. The designers and engineers obviously put a lot of thought and creativity into this, and they succeeded. I was in one of the closer lots, and it did cost $15 (which is a tad high by midwest standards), but I cannot complain (too much) after experiencing the ease in getting in and out.
Final Thoughts: On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Target Field about an 8. I'd give the fans a 9, maybe 9.5.