There are two types of people at any ball game: Those who know what's going on, and those who absolutely do not. If a question like “How many innings in a baseball game?” leaves you stumped, that puts you squarely in the second category. However, if you’re a sucker for activities, there are many ways to enjoy taking in a game at Target Field, even if you're struggling to follow the plays.
If you’re stuck watching the game...
You committed to going to a game thinking it would serve as a new location for chatting, but now your friend won’t walk around, meaning you’re stuck looking at dirt-covered butts far off in the distance. Keep yourself busy by trying to find the following items, Where’s Waldo-style:
- A video of the crowd where the camera lingers on one fan for too long
- A cotton candy-covered kid
- A sweaty, disgruntled, partially dressed mascot
- A tragic kiss-cam debacle
- A twentysomething who just spilled beer all over himself and/or his neighbor
- Someone being heckled as they root for the other team
- A sunflower seed caught in a beard
- A pale midriff sticking out beneath a too-small jersey
- A passive-aggressive conversation where both people attempt to out-knowledge each other before ending up upset and personally offended
- A person who you know is dressed just to make it onto the megatron
- A fall up the stairs
- BONUS: a fall down the stairs (doesn't count if it causes a serious injury, you a**hole)
If you’re free to wander...
Target Field is beautifully built, and exploring the architecture itself should keep you busy for a bit. Stop by Minnie & Paul’s, the new pub, open to all ticket holders. It is constantly busy and offers a space to keep tabs on the game just in case something dramatic happens.
The Digital Clubhouse curates Twins content and offers a place to engage in the game via social media. It also features charging stations for when you resort to watching YouTube instead of the game.
Activity-wise, if you have a friend or two, you can try to play an epic round of hide-and-go-seek or whip out your phone and pose next to every statue.
If you’re hungry...
In many cases, especially with our track record this season, the food may be more central to many people’s game experience than the baseball itself. A Google review on the stadium puts it best: “Great regional food/beer. Unfortunately the Twins lost, but a fun time overall.”
The food is meant to be representative of the Twins’ territory, so the venue contains classic stadium snacks as well as higher-end food and Minnesota classics. Favorites include the 60/40 burger from Red Cow. But if you're not in the mood for a burger, you still have a lot of options. There are gluten-free rice bowls with chicken tikka masala, mango coleslaw, and a cilantro garnish from the Hot Indian Foods stand; the Butcher and the Boar ribs with thick pickle slices on the side (10/10 would recommend); and Oreo Dippin’ Dots, which are as good as one can expect when purchasing flash-frozen ice cream balls in a tiny plastic Twins helmet.
So while the team’s record is nothing short of abysmal, the stadium snack game is on point, and at the end of the day, that’s what really counts.
If you’re put in charge of planning the excursion...
Know your audience. There are events almost nightly at the stadium, so plan for the group you’re hosting.
- If you’re snacking with students, head over on a Wednesday. Ticket prices are reduced and hot dogs are $1. Local bands also play live music throughout the game.
- If you’re going with friends who want a full night of activities, go on a Friday. Gate six opens early so you can make it to happy hour at Barrio, and post-game fireworks are accompanied by Prince music starting on Memorial Day.
- If you’re towing kids along, go on a Sunday. Players are available for autographs and the field is open for rugrats to run around.
“Baseball is kind of a sport where there is so many things going on and there is a lot of rules and it obviously has a lot of history," says John Swol, author of the book Twins Trivia, and creator of the corresponding website twinstrivia.com. "It’s difficult for a person just to kind of step in and know a lot about their home team.”
Swol is right, which leaves you two options: study earnestly or fake it ‘til you make it. Here are ways to sound like you know what’s up even though you absolutely do not.
• When asked about the play on field, use popular baseball jargon like "bullpen" (where pitchers hang out before doing what they do on the field) and "pitcher’s mound" (the little hill players stand on in the middle of the field) to create a barely coherent sentence. Shut down any further questioning.
• When asked predictions for the game, divert the pressure away from yourself by asking a friendly fan incessant questions that will keep them talking for hours. Or, write down Twins Trivia questions from Swol’s site with the answers and ask fans the hardest questions possible.
• When asked about your favorite player, say you don’t pick favorites. Or note that you’re keeping an eye on Jose Berrios and Max Kepler, two up-and-coming newbies on the team. Avoid any further questioning.