June 21, 2004
What can I say that hasn't already been said about the wonder that is Miller Park? After watching baseball indoors for over 20 years I can't adequately put into words the profound joy I felt watching the game inside this beautiful park. Everything was done right from the parking, to the food, to the seats, to the dimensions, to the overall ambience. Everything. I'm sorry that I don't have more pictures up yet, that will come tonight. But suffice it to say I was deeply impressed, and also a little depressed. Those of you who know me know that I have been blathering about stadiums in Minnesota for well over 7 years now. But I've never really truly understood the importance or reasoning for building a new ballpark for the Twins. Scratch that. I've always understood the importance, but I've never been able to argue the importance from experience. Well, "mine eyes have seen the glory" and it was good. It also put the Metrodome and the state of Minnesota to shame. I'll be writing about that more later.
I went to the games on both Saturday and Sunday, and although my predictions for the scores of the game were a little off I still had a wonderful time. I went with Cheesehead Craig and his friends, and they really showed me a good time. Especially Craig's friend Gabe. A top-notch guy and a class act. Anyway, we parked a ways from the stadium to take advantage of a free parking spot. As we began our journey to the stadium, Miller Park peaked over the trees in the distance. Craig and his friends slowly walked to the park, but I couldn't help but practically sprint to get there. And once I got there it was a flurry of photographs as I tried to soak it all in. As I said above everything was done right and the stadium was just beautiful to behold in person. The grounds were packed with people, and there was a large contingent of Twins fans. The night was beautiful and everyone was happy.
We walked in the doors (and you can walk in any door you want!) to a wide open concourse. Straight ahead was the field. Honestly I couldn't help but tear up a little at seeing the Twins practicing and running around on real grass. Hold on a second ... I'm OK now. We walked up the stairs to the Loge level (how did they come up with that name?) and took our seats in Section 214 on the first base line. It was amazing. Every seat was perfectly angled to get the best view of the field, and we were right on top of the diamond. The 4 levels of Miller Park are built right on top of each other which means everyone is as close to the field as possible. And as I said, all the seats perfectly surround the field. I swear, there probably isn't a bad seat in the house. But what was most impressive was the open sky above. Cloudless and blue, birds flying around, and a gentle breeze swirling onto the field.
So, the game started and the Twins got to an early lead. There was probably about 15,000 Twins fans there so it almost felt like a home game for a while. I was so happy with the whole experience I was speechless. My head was on a swivel just looking around at everything. Then the unthinkable happened. They started to close the roof! It was a beautiful night and they decide to turn the place into the Metrodome! Needless to say, I was a little angry, but it was nice to see how the stupid thing worked. Flawlessly of course. That was when things started to go downhill for the Twins. For some reason Radke started to tank, and the Brewers started to hit some monster home runs. None more impressive, though, than Geoff Jenkins' blast in the 8th. Wow. It was like a golf swing that sent the ball well into the stands in right field. Brewers fans went into a frenzy which definitely quieted those of us cheering for the Twins. But you know what? It was still wonderful. Great home town support and good natured ribbing for all of us Twins fans. We all had a smile on our face.
The game ended and we were able to quickly exit the ballpark. Again, the wide open concourses allowed for a lot of people to move at a relatively fast pace. When we got to the doors I thought about maybe the one advantage the Metrodome has over Miller Park and maybe the one thing I'll miss about the the home of the Twins: the blast of wind that blows people out of the doors. I swear I'll never be able to exit a stadium again without thinking I need to brace myself. And it was over. I laughed, I cried, I had a good time. My first game outside in over 20 years. It was great, and the fact that the Twins lost couldn't diminish my euphoria.
And my disgust. The Metrodome ... blech. It is an abomination to baseball. We deserve better and I can't believe more Minnesotans aren't demanding better. Oh yes, the juices are flowing. Get ready for some long winded diatribes in the days ahead.
It was a pleasure to take you there and to have you enjoy this experience. The reason the roof was closing was that the temperature was dropping and the comfort of the fans was the determining factor. So they closed the roof rather than have the fans brave the low 50's it was supposed to go to. Saturday night's game was the best game I've ever been to.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 21, 2004 2:44 PM
Shane, "loge" from the French word for a small covered living area, refers to the forward section of a theater mezzanine. There's a similar Italian word that describes a breezeway or other covered, outdoor portico; loggia. It's commonly used to describe the mezzanine level of an opera house.
Glad you had a great time. Isn't Milwaukee great?
Posted by: Rachel at June 21, 2004 2:46 PM
Yeah, I know they closed the roof because of the weather, but I would have liked it to stay open. I would have loved to have said, "Boy is it cold. Maybe they should close the roof?" And Rachel, thanks for the description of loge. Nice to be able to add to my vocabulary. How in the world did anyone come up with "mezzanine" though? This French influence has got to stop. I suppose it is better than 1st level, 2nd level, 3rd level...
Posted by: Shane at June 21, 2004 3:11 PM
Again, the Romance (from Latin) languages' influence on the melting pot that is English...
"Mezza" refers to "middle", as in Mezzogiorno - the Italian equivalent of the Midwest - literally translated "Mid-day" the area of Italy most Italian-American immigrants came from. Hot sun, long days, terribly rocky and hilly land. It's the only other word I can think of that has mezzo in it. Anyway, the mezzanine is a partial floor between two floors in a building. Like loge, it is most often used to describe Opera house or other theater seating levels.
Posted by: Webster at June 21, 2004 7:58 PM