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Mudville: July 29, 2021 8:37 am PDT
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Target Field

“We make choices but are constantly foiled by happenstance.” ― Penelope Lively

I love a new ballpark. The anticipation of a new stadium always gets me giddy like a little kid as I daydream leading up to the new adventure. There are some really great parks out there and I’ve been lucky enough to watch a game in a couple of them – Camden Yards and Petco Park are two of my personal favorites – but I really enjoy most of them.

It’s baseball and they all have their own charm to them if you look for it. Coming out to Target Field in Minneapolis I had no idea what to expect or that I’d spend the day doting on this awesome little ballpark nestled in a packed downtown area.

Tony O's Cuban Sammy

That good?

It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try. Walking through the gates I found myself in this little family fun zone area with corn hole and rocking chairs, great photo op props and quaint little gathering spots. It was a decent crowd given the stadium just reopened to full capacity and attendance for a struggling Twins squad wasn’t bad for an uncompetitive team in the AL Central, in July.

I bought the cheapest ticket I could find and knew I wasn’t going to be spending much time in my seats. New ballparks need to be explored and who knows the next time I’ll be here, so I really have to get the full experience in. I wandered the outside ring of the stadium as I like to take in all of the people, the food options and wall décor. I never really know what I’m going to eat until it’s time to chow down.

Fried Cheese Curds

It’s like Russian roulette for your taste buds.

Something like that. What really stuck out for me as I walked around was the number of cheeseburgers I saw in people’s hands. A normal corridor stroll would typically be chock full of the standard fare, hot dogs, beers, pretzels, etc. But here… it was burgers. Now I don’t know the back story here because I didn’t ask, and I didn’t research the burger scene – what’s the fun in that? I’m not done visiting Target Field and I will get to the bottom of this food mystery, eventually.

What I did find was a unique variety of offerings we haven’t covered on previous episodes of “Behind the Dish” and I started to make my game plan. It was going to have to be strategic given my seats were two rows higher than the roof and most of the good food was in the lower levels.

And you started with….

Nice try. Really. I admire your dedication to trying to get this conversation to swing to the food, but remember you read for the humorous insight, and you watch for the food (or that’s what I’ve always told myself and my wife laughs at my jokes so I’m sure there’s some truth to it). But this is one episode you don’t want to miss because the menu was – well… really fun. So was the stadium.

I really, really enjoyed taking a game in here and I had the worst seat in the house on paper. From there I moved to a handful of other terrible seats and had myself one hell of a great time. This stadium really doesn’t have a bad seat and no matter where I wandered, I enjoyed the view and the ambiance. There are a ton of cool things to look at in the stadium from the downtown skyline over the outfield, to the train station behind the home plate area. If you’re lucky enough to catch a night game, you’ll get to see the giant “Minnie and Paul” sign light up in neon colors and shake hands to celebrate Twins home runs. It’s not as cool in the middle of a bright, sunny afternoon day game, although I’m sure Twins faithful would probably beg to differ.

The Little Oinkers Donut Bucket

I still don’t really know why you liked the park so much.

Le sigh. Just watch. I think this episode will be as much fun to watch as it was to make. The food was excellent and unique. The Park was welcoming, well maintained, fun and most importantly alive with excited Twins loyals cheering on a mediocre team.

Everywhere I went throughout the stadium I had a good time, and you don’t always get to experience that attending games alone. You’re putting a lot of pressure on the stadium to entertain the guest they didn’t even know was coming. I could try and explain it all day, but I’m sure you’ll be able to understand my child like excitement when you share it with me this week.

Toast those buns, slather down that mustard and grab two meat sticks for this week’s episode of BallNine’s “Behind the Dish!”

#staytuned #stayhungry #thefoodguy

Target Field: 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Rating:  TBD – It was part school fair – cheeseburger heavy – and we just need to do some more research here before we can give an accurate ruling. It’s important because I really liked this park.

Major League Teams: The Minnesota Twins

Minor League Teams: St. Paul Saints

Other Baseball: Original Baseball Hall of Fame Museum of Minnesota

Shout Out: Last second cheap seats. Is there really a bad seat at an MLB ballpark? Maybe a couple of those “obstructed view” seats at Fenway Park, but they’re few and far between. It might not be the $5 bleacher tickets of old, but it’s $20 well spent.

The “Stadium Food Scale” for ballparks in 2021 (from worst to first):

  • Dumpster Fire – On the menu or in the bowl- this shit stinks.
  • School Fair – Everything is greasy, everything is fried — Limited options.
  • The “Take me Out” – Traditional food, but nothing special.
  • Fancy Pants – Sushi, Steaks and monocle wearing worthy menu options. Fancy.
  • The Babe Buffet — Everything you need and a bunch of things you didn’t. This is the end all be all of stadium food. Limitless options and so much food, even George Herman Ruth would tap out.

Father, husband, runner, and food guy. Baseball traveler, stadium food connoisseur, and podcast fill-in. Just here for the hot dogs.

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