It was a couple of chance days off and a really cheap round-trip ticket to Minneapolis that persuaded my Cubs-fan-turned-A’s-lover boyfriend and I to take a trip to Target Field on Tuesday, May 2nd — aka Trevor Plouffe’s first time back to Twins home turf since he stopped wearing their uniform. It had been 40º and raining in Chicago for about the past 400 days, so 60º and sunny skies felt like paradise when we landed.
Target Field was big and fancy, a baseball-oasis and Minnesota-themed-Target-commercial in the middle of seedy strip clubs and other urine-soaked amenities of downtown Minneapolis. Transit was easy getting to the park, with buses and trains dropping you off steps away. Here are three photos, one of the outside and two of the inside — the outside was festive and fun, but without being too gaudy.
The inside was spacious and full of Target advertisements and Twins imagery. A sprawling temple of baseball majesty! Or maybe it was just the fact that there were exactly 12 other people in attendance that night — a fact that made the “PLOUFFE there it is!” chant somewhere in the 7th inning a bit more of an echoey whisper than a booming tribute.
Plouffe batted 8th and got his walk-up music blasted through the stadium as he thanked a standing crowd with a grin and a wave. It was touching and heartwarming and about the only good thing that happened to the A’s that night. Thankfully, I was there for the experience, not for the expectation of a win, though that would have been a topper.
Instead of winning, the A’s gave up a Target-Field-record six dingers between the pitching efforts of Sonny Gray and César Valdéz, but did fight back enough at the end to conjure up a Yonder Alonso home run and blow the Twins chance at a shut out. I’m reminded of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, refusing to give up even though his arms and legs had been hacked off. Just a flesh wound!
Okay, it may not have been that dramatic to the outside world, but at that moment, in that spacious and empty stadium, Yonder’s 9th-inning bomb felt like a victory. Until the Twins fireworks went off again and I was reminded we had just lost by 8. Alright. We’ll call it a draw.
Overall, Target Field was fun and friendly without too many flashy distractions. I'd love to see another game there, but maybe with a better outcome next time.