Monday -- Red Sox 2 - Twins 5
Wednesday -- Red Sox 6 - Twins 3
Thursday -- Red Sox 0 - Twins 8
Twins take series 2-1
The Twins are 2-0 in games I attend. I hope the Twins organization remembers that with a gift of free tickets if there is a late-season push for wins.
So the Twins are all nice and cozy in their new home. For the first time that I can remember, I went to two home games in one week -- usually the only time I do that is if I'm traveling (so they're away games). So, since I'm all expert-y now about the ins and outs of Target Field and the Twins, I thought I'd review some myths and determine their validity.
- The Northstar Commuter Train is a great way to get from the northwest suburbs to Target Field. Well, in theory, it's a great idea. I mean, it goes from Big Lake; stops at Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, and Fridley; and drops you right at the Target Field station. How great is that? Well, it's ok. I boarded in Elk River, and when we left the station, all the seats were full and some people were standing. By the time we left Coon Rapids, the train was stuffed. They needed to call in some buses to take the folks from Fridley. Oh, and because there were so many people boarding, we arrived at the ballpark late. Also, the "Family Pass" ticket is a great deal -- if you qualify. It's $13 (from Elk River) for two adults and up to three kids 6-12 (5 and under free) round-trip. Hmm. That's less than parking. However, my kids are older than 12. So for 4 adults, it's $22 one way. Not a deal at all. (Shhh...we bought the Family Pass ticket anyway.) And then leaving was an adventure. We couldn't fit on the first train out, so we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. What a waste of time. And not all games will have trains coming back, so you have to be careful, or you're paying a lot for cab fare. So, while I'd love to take the commuter line to the park, it's not completely practical. This myth is busted.[Important Update: scroll down]
- The concourses of Target Field are wider and less crowded than the ones at the Dome. Well, Target Field's concourses may measure wider, and they are less crowded -- during the game. However, before the game starts and after it ends, it's just as bad as before. They do, however, do a good job getting everyone out of the building, so that experience is a little better. But, man, before the game, when all the concession stand lines block the walking lanes, it's tough to get through. Now, in their defense, if I had arrived earlier, I may have been able to avoid a lot of the crowding. This is what public transportation does for me. So, if you allow that the concourses will be stuffed both before and after the game, the rest of the time they're all right. This myth is plausible, but not likely.
- The cupholders at Target Field aren't tilted like they are at the Dome. Back in January, when the Twins front office employees first moved into Target Field, the person behind the official Twins Twitter account asked fans if they have any questions. So I asked him/her if the cupholders were tilted like they are at the Dome, and he/she replied that no, they were not. Happy news; I really hate to have to drink half my beer/pop before I can set it down. For Monday's game, my tickets were in a wheelchair row (I had a folding chair), and the cupholder was perfectly level. However, today, much to my horror (ok, not really horror, but certainly surprise), my cupholder was, indeed, tilted. Here's photographic proof.
- The Twins have a hard time beating AL East teams. Well, at least for this one particular AL East team for this one particular series, it ain't so. The Twins sure looked good -- for game 1 and 3 anyway. Game 2 was a little sloppy (11 men left base?!), and Slowey and Crain were kind of shaky, but it wasn't totally depressing. I'd say this series was a success. This myth is busted.
- Jason Kubel has bad knees, is slow, and has no defense. Did you see his baserunning today? Did you see that great catch in left? I think he's all right. This myth is busted.
- We should be worried about Jose Mijares. I watched him today, and I wasn't impressed. I don't know if it's his eyes (he's battling some kind of eye problem that causes blurred vision), his control, his confidence, or what, but he didn't look good. He gave up a couple of hits, and he wasn't at all dominating. Of his five appearances, I've only been satisfied with two of them. This myth is confirmed.
- Joe Mauer is perfect. Nope. He 0-fer'ed today. So, he's merely super-human. This myth is busted, but not badly.
Apparently, Metro Transit heard my complaints (and probably other people's too) about the commuter line, because they sent me the following email Friday afternoon:
Schedules for the Northstar Commuter Rail Line will change this Saturday (April 17). Based on current ridership patterns and customer requests, Metro Transit will adjust the departure times for all weekend service, all weekday morning service into Minneapolis and most northbound weekday trips.So, it's good to know that they're trying to solve the problems. We'll see. I'm really happy about the Family Pass thing, because now it works for me.
The weekday schedules will better match actual travel times, saving several minutes in each direction. Visit Metro Transit's web site for the new schedule details. Connecting bus routes 20 and 811 will be adjusted to meet the new train times.
The change alleviates the 10 p.m. train, which had limited ridership, and is replaced by a 7 p.m. departure. The weekend schedules also will allow earlier arrivals in downtown Minneapolis for Minnesota Twins games at Target Field. Northstar will serve 53 of the Twins' 81 home games this season. Visit Metro Transit's web site for a list of games served by the Northstar Line.
During the Twins opener this week, the Northstar line was a big winner. Ridership grew from 501 for the first game train on Monday to 2,055 on Thursday. What this says to me is people are accepting commuter rail as an economical and desirable way to move.
If you have questions or comments about the new Northstar schedules, service to Target Field or other operations between Big Lake and downtown Minneapolis, please use the online customer comment form at http://www.metrotransit.org/ or call Metro Transit customer service at 612-373-3333.
Thank you for riding Northstar - or if you haven't ridden yet, give Northstar a try for a relaxing, convenient and safe ride.
NCDA Board Chair
PS. Also starting on Saturday, Family Passes will extend eligible ages to 6 - 17 years old.
And, many thanks to haasertime, who provided this link to a Star Tribune article about it in the comments.