Here's a quick recap of Mr. St. Peter's Q & A session:
- My friend and I arrived in the middle of it, and frankly we were immediately more interested in getting ourselves some food before listening to him, but we did catch some stuff.
- Regarding the batter's eye in centerfield: he acknowledges that that black screen is ugly, but the trees needed to be removed because at certain times of the day, the sun glares off them so that the ball comes out of some dappled shadowy whatever, and that not only were the batters complaining about it, but the umpires were too. He said that he's talking it over with the grounds crew and some other people to come up with some more attractive solutions, but he isn't willing to disclose anything about it yet.
- Regarding Joe Mauer moving to first base: He had talked to Joe like four hours prior, and Joe says he wants to be the catcher. Joe is the catcher. Joe will be the catcher for a long time. Joe can play some at first base on an as-needed basis to give Joe or Justin a day off. But, for now, Joe is the catcher.
- He sounded like he expressed some doubt over whether Justin Morneau will be able to come back at 100% and play first base. He said something about moving him to DH. I think this was within a conversation regarding re-signing Cuddyer and/or Kubel. I didn't really hear this part; this is the part where I was eating kettle chips.
- Someone asked about Tsyoshi Nishioka and his role for 2012: St. Peter admitted that 2011 was a very bad year for Nishioka. However, a position is not guaranteed to him; he will have to earn a spot in spring training. St. Peter also hinted at finding a free-agent middle infielder.
- Someone asked about the availability of wheelchair-accessible seating and how it's getting harder to get them because non-handicapped people are getting them (or something like that -- again, I didn't really hear the question; let's blame the kettle chips): St. Peter acknowledged something needs to be done to ensure that the folks who need the accessible seating get it. However, they are prohibited from asking people who request those seats why they need them. He said that they are working with the ADA to come up with a plan to better assure the accessible seating is available to fans who need it. (Allow me to interject with a personal rant as this topic hits home: I'm all in favor of making sure the fans who really need accessible seating get it, but people have to remember that just because a fan isn't using a wheelchair or cane that he or she doesn't need accessible seating. Some disabilities are not as obvious as others. All fans deserve to sit with the rest of their party, so it may be that one member of the group may require the seating, but they all get to be there. Also, fans who have wheelchair-access tickets have every right to sell them or give them away, so it could be that someone who doesn't really need the accessible seats gets them anyway. I just hope that the Twins organization keeps these factors in mind as they try to resolve the issue of availability of these seats. Thank you; now back to the regularly scheduled blog.)
- Our tour guide was kind of a Seinfeld-soup-nazi guy. He was pretty uptight about the number of people following him and he walked so fast we could hardly keep up, let alone take pictures. I took some, but they're quite lame so I won't even put them up. Honestly, they're not worth the effort.
- We toured the Champions Club, and areas around the clubhouse, workout room, batting cages, and dugout (but not actually in any of those areas). I peeked in between the doors of the trainers' room -- it looked big. I was hoping to get in there and spray some Lysol around or something. I know that won't help with the number of oblique pulls and forearm strains, but it might help reduce the number of instances of "flu-like symptoms."
- All the beer kegs are stored in the bowels of the building and there are miles of tubing that go from 14 chilled keg rooms to the taps all around the park.
- We were allowed to see into the clubhouse without actually going into it (no pictures -- MLB rules!). It's big. The lockers are big. There are four double-wide lockers in the corners. They belong to the team leaders: Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, and Nathan. They get them supposedly because they get so much mail. (My guess is they get them because they have more reporters bugging them.)
- The Champions Club looks like any other reception hall. You can rent it for your company party or family event. You can get married at home plate for like $3,000 or something. If you want your wedding video-streamed live on the Jumbotron, that'll cost you an extra $11,000.
- The Champion Club seats are closer to the batter (at 45 feet) than the pitcher (at 60 feet 6 inches). The fans are closer to home plate in Target Field than at any other ballpark in the Majors.
- We did not see the blue ox, but we did look for it.
- Taking this little tour just made my friend and I want to pony up the $17 for the full, hour-and-a-half-long tour. Maybe that would go at a better pace for taking pictures. We'll have to plan on doing that.
Here's a quick recap of the rest of the evening:
- No, we didn't win any prizes. We're pretty bummed about it too. We really wanted the game-used Michael Cuddyer bat.
- The pretzels they served were amazing. They're very unlike the ones they sell at the concession stands. I want them to sell these instead. Soft and warm and just the right amount of salt and mmmmm. The sausages were pretty good too.
- Part of the whole point of this event was to allow the potential season ticket buyers to speak with their representative. I could never find my representative. I even looked for him. Twice. I know he was there because he was introduced. But he was vapor when I tried to hunt him down. No biggie, though. I just wanted to know what he thought my chances were for getting the season tickets this year. I'll just wait it out and see.
- My friend and I were amazed at how crystal clear watching TV on the Jumbotron was. Yeah, we've seen it a million times before, but this is probably the first time we've really watched it for an extended amount of time.