Ballpark Digest is previewing what every MLB team is doing to begin the season, both on and off the field, as the 2019 campaign is around the corner. Up next: the Minnesota Twins and Target Field.
The Twins have consistently fine-tuned Target Field since its 2010 opening, and that trend continues in 2019. A revamped Gate 34 highlights the round of improvements for this season, which also includes a “living wall” over the batter’s eye, and a ticket offering that could set new trends for season ticket packages.
The most significant change made to Target Field over the offseason will be evident to many fans immediately, as the Twins have reconfigured Gate 34. Additional entry points were added to the gate, including two lanes reserved for those with stadium memberships for CLEAR, the biometric screening system increasingly used at MLB ballparks in recent years. (Note: the CLEAR membership used for ballparks does not cover CLEAR usage in airports.)
Furthermore, the Twins created about 9,300 square feet of additional interior space inside Gate 34 by extending it closer to First Avenue, allowing for new amenities inside the ballpark. Once inside the gate, fans will find a new turf space that can be used for lawn games, as well as an area that accommodate can pop-up shops, including local food vendors.
In a unique feature that should be noticeable both at the ballpark and on telecasts, the Twins have installed a “living wall” over the center-field batter’s eye. At 2,280 square feet, the living wall covers the batter’s eye with approximately 5,700 sea green juniper plants. The living wall should not only change the aesthetics of the batter’s eye, but potentially provide a better solution for players. When Target Field initially opened, it featured 14 spruce trees in the batter’s eye, but they were replaced after Twins batters claimed the trees were too distracting, so the Twins hope the living wall works better in terms of play-ability while enhancing the appearance of the space.
There will also be some new food options this season from the Twins and concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice. Among the highlights are the Boomstick, a new two-foot long hot dog named after new Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz. The item is topped with chili, nacho cheese, grilled onions and jalapenos. Soul Bowl will be served at Section 120, while three varieties of craft sandwiches–Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, Philly Cheesesteak, Peanut Butter n’ Jelly Candied Bacon–will be available at Section 114. Also look for new salads at Roots for the Home Team (Section 101).
The 2019 season will also see changes to how fans can secure tickets to Twins games, and potentially start a trend for season tickets around professional baseball. The Twins are rolling out Twins Pass–a ticket package that allows access to Target Field for up to 79 games (Opening Day on March 28 and Joe Mauer Day on June 15 excluded) and is sold at three different levels: $894 for a lower-level seat, $494 for an upper-deck seat, and $294 for a standard SRO ticket with no seat at all.
Twins Pass essentially builds on the recent Ballpark Pass trend by allowing a more flexible option than a standard season ticket package, and not tying fans to one seat for the entire season. It remains to be seen how it will evolve, but with traditional season ticket packages fading in popularity in recent years, it stands reason that other teams will look for similar ways to revamp their ticket offerings in the future. Our own Kevin Reichard took a closer look at Twins Pass in a story earlier this month.
Rendering courtesy Minnesota Twins.
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