Monday, May 23, 2011

Flight of Twins Fans

“I went to all three games!”

“All the pitches he threw right over the plate today and Kubel didn’t even swing at any of them.”

“That Delmon...”

“Oh my god, that was the most disgusting bathroom ever!” the leathery-tanned lady sitting next to me tells her apparent husband. She has been complaining the whole flight. She’s literally now hyperventilating. Or crying. She’s clutching her copy of the ‘Arizona Reporter’.

Probably not Minnesotan.

I’m sitting in the window seat with two empty cans of Leinenkugel's. She’s not drinking, and she has been giving me some disgusted looks. Of all people, of course, she’s the one I get to sit next to.

Clearly not a Minnesotan Twins fan.

This Sun Country flight returning from Phoenix to Minnesota late Sunday is full of Twins fans. Hats, shirts, jerseys, and bags. Everyone’s talking, everyone’s smiling—and yes, even though the Twins actually lost all three games in Arizona against the ‘D-Backs’.

But they were close games. They were exciting games. And Twins fans were certainly there to enjoy them.

The Crowd at Chase Field when the TWINS Score

I went to the Twins game against the Diamondbacks Saturday at Chase Field (yes, with some pretty sweet seats as a law school graduation gift!). AT LEAST forty to fifty percent of the fans there were Twins fans—which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. Phoenix is home to many Midwestern transplants and retirees. Everyone must have gone down to visit their grandma/mom/dad/uncle/grant aunt/etc. and conveniently take in the Twins game at the same time (including myself).

At this point, I could do a run down of the Twins' games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—but that has been done elsewhere. Let me point out my favorite fan experiences at Chase Field on Saturday.

1. Racing of the Legends

Ok, this is really awesome.

Sort of like the sausages in Milwaukee—except even better. Arizona has over-sized Diamondback Legends—Luis Gonzales, Randy Johnson, Mark Grace, and Matt Williams—run a race every game. Then afterward, they go all around the stands cheering on with the fans.

2. Awesome Scoreboard Backgrounds

Chase Field used awesome team-location backgrounds on the scoreboard when announcing all the Twins players. For example:

Target Field

Mall of America

Cherry and Spoon (I know this is a terrible picture!)


3. Scotty Baker is a Monster

Okay, okay... I personally got a kick out of that.

4. So Glad Target Field Has No Roof What-So-Ever

Chase Field has a retractable roof, because Arizona gets pretty inhospitable during the summer time and air-conditioning is needed. Someone on Twitter compared it to the Milwaukee Brewers' stadium. I've never been there.

However, having been to Chase Field once before Target Field opened, and now, I can say I am supremely happy Target Field has no retractable roof. A lot of structure is needed for a retractable roof, which makes the stadium lose that real outdoor feeling. It's like pretending your car with a sunroof is a convertible.

The girl behind me on this flight, now, however, has most her sock stuck up between the window and my seat. A little gross to some, maybe—but she is wearing a Morneau shirt.

And a two (or so) year old child in front of me just screamed for the first time this whole flight—and the leather-tanned woman next to me grabbed her husband's leg in annoyance. The boy keeps looking back at me, but I just smile at him, which makes him smile. And he's wearing a Joe Mauer shirt too.

Then, of course, we are about to land, and the PA comes on:

"On behalf of Sun County Airlines, we welcome you back to the Twin Cities.

"And if you're just visiting, we hope you enjoy your stay."


  1. Great stuff, Maija!

    At times like these, when the play on the field is so bad, we need to remember what being a fan is all about... and that's just enjoying the experience. It sounds like you had a terrific time!

    And I love the idea of the "racing of the legends"! Can you imagine some combination of Tony, Killer, Carew, Kirby, Bert, and Hrbie out there racing? I love it!

  2. The retractable roof in Seattle has the best design. When the roof there is open, it's kept out of sight over a railyard behind the RF stands, and the support structure inside the park is either hidden or cleverly disguised, so it really does feel like a regular outdoor ballpark most of the time. Houston has a similar design that works almost as well. I don't know if that design would work on Target Field's plot of land, but a great improvement on the Chase Field and Miller Park models is possible!

    Anyway, thanks for the photos and report. I enjoyed them.

  3. SafeCo does seem to be the best retractable roof stadium. I personally, kind of like the non-roof, at least for Minnesota. It forces one to deal with the elements, which is what Minnesotans are good at and I think should be a part of baseball. The weather really isn't as bad here as it is in some other cities with outdoor stadiums--people should know that!

    Thanks for the kind comments guys!