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  • Twins Fest: One Family's Review

    We purchased tickets to Friday night's Twins Fest as a way to celebrate my Dad's 83rd birthday. Grandpa was accompanied by his two grandsons, ages 10 and 8, my wife and I.

    We parked in Lot B, and had only a short walk to Gate 6, where a host of ticket-takers greeted us as if we were walking up to a game. Once inside the gates, we peered out onto a snow-covered Target Field.

    It was quite a contrast to the green grass of Opening Day, and the warmth of a mid-summer matinee game. Minnie and Paul were still smiling, as they remained in each other's grip, while snowflakes fell around them.

    The snow had been coming down for several hours. We drove through the white stuff all the way from Brainerd to the ballpark. That delayed our arrival by about an hour, which influenced our experience. There was no time to split up and gather Joe Mauer's autograph, our youngest son's hero.

    Instead we went directly to Rod Carew's signing station, located on the Service Level (-2). Here are some of my criticisms of the event. First, many fans are not used to navigating Target Field by the elevators, which were almost the exclusive way to move from the enclosed levels. During the season, I don't spend much time on the Service (-2), Club (2) and Suite (3) Levels. During the summertime, I'm outside, and these levels are either off limits, or too pricy for my blood.

    The second criticism was the Twins Fest brochure, and it's not-so-user-friendly locations. The first location was on the website. Here is the link to the Twins Fest page. If you bother to click on the page, try to find the brochure. It is located at the bottom of two alternating pictures. I should say, one of two alternating pictures, so half the time the link to the schedule is not visible.

    I tried to print out the map/schedule/brochure, but the ads and the big pictures dwarfed the type on a letter-sized document (my home printer does not load legal sized pages.) The type was too small and unreadable. So, we pre-planned our first two visits--to split up and find Mauer and Carew, and then meet up later to hatch our secondary options.

    The second problem was that the maps/brochures/schedules were not located at Gate 6, or just inside the door as we entered the Club Level. We asked a security guard if we cold look at his copy, just to find out where we were, and where Mauer and Carew's respective signing stations were located. He graciously offered us his copy of the brochure/map. Later, we would find scads of these handouts at the elevator entrances, and on various tables. They should have been at the point of entry, and more accessible at home.

    My wife forgot her Trevor Plouffe jersey in the car. So she went back for it, and we revised our plan of attack, Grandpa, the two boys and I set out for Carew's signing station.

    This is when we had our first stroke of luck. A delightful young lady approached us, wondering if we wanted to play Fan Feud, as part of the "Dozier Family." We were delighted to say "yes!" She handed us a ticket, with instructions to be at the Fox Sports North Stage in the Champions Club at 5:20 p.m.

    There was enough time to catch Carew, so we beat cheeks over to his signing station. Dad is a retired preacher, and he sat on stage with #28 back in 1968, the year after Carew's rookie season. The event was a Park Rapids Jaycees Banquet, and Carew was the guest speaker. Dad was asked to give the Invocation and Table Prayer. As they were seated next to each other, Carew leaned over and said to Dad, "You know Reverend, our jobs aren't really that different." To which Dad replied, "Oh? How is that?" Carew: "Well, we both have to pass the plate." Ba-dum-BUM!

    Forty-five years later, Dad recalled the story with Carew over the signing table. He retold the joke, and paused so that Rodney Cline could deliver the punch-line, to which they both laughed like the material was still fresh! It was a delightful moment.


    By the way, Carew also signed two baseball cards from my treasured possessions. Someday my boys will each receive one.


    My ten-year-old son is a big Dozier fan. They have the same May 15th birthday, and both play second base. So it was off to The Champions Club to meet our Plouffe Fan and keep our appointment with Richard Dawson/Kris Atteberry, Dozier, and our competition--Team Diamond, anchored by Scott Diamond, and members of Kyle Knudson's extended family.

    We played three rounds of "The Feud" with three questions:

    "Name the Most Recognizable Twins Player"

    "What do Twins players do after a game?"

    "Which team do you like to see the Twins beat?"

    Long story short: We won! But perhaps the best moment was in responding to question #1. We were down to our last answer with two strikes, and our eight-year-old was staring into the microphone as Kris Atteberry said, "Only one answer left. To win the round, what is your answer?" Grandpa and I are whispering "Dan Gladden, Dan Gladden!" The boy ignores his elders and says into the microphone, "Justin Morneau" matching the last answer on the board! Team Dozier wins, and we all got cool t-shirts, that our new favorite second-baseman signed (that is, next to Carew, who really turned out to be a first basemen, so that doesn't count, does it?)



    We spent the remainder of the evening operating out of a "home base" around the K-Twins Stage. It gave Grandpa a good place to rest his feet while we chased Miguel Sano's autograph, failed to get that Plouffe jersey signed, toured the Twins Clubhouse, and took in a number of other sights not available during a ballgame. I just about bought Jack Morris a beer before he went on stage with Corey Provus.



    Perhaps one of the real advantages to the Target Field setting were such up-close encounters with players and personalities like Morris. We routinely walked past legends past and present throughout the hallways. Riding the elevator with Tony Oliva, walking the hallways with Dan Gladden, passing Gardy, greeting Dick Bremer at the door, and on and on. Dozier bumped into his little birthday buddy once more in the hallways, and enthusiastically greeting him with a high five.

    In conclusion, it was a good event, a good venue, and I hope the planners keep it relatively small next year. There need to be some logistical tweaks, and perhaps a little less restrictive on autographs. The fees are high, and I suppose this helps to discourage the memorabilia hounds, but for the average family those prices can get steep. All the same... the Twins Community Fund. The fund was instrumental in building our local baseball/softball fields, so it is a good cause that directly benefits our boys. Keep Twins Fest at Target Field. We enjoyed the experience, especially seeing such treasures as this one, below. Here's to Spring, 2014, and the chance for a third trophy... C'mon, at this time of year, Hope Springs Eternal!

    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Fest: One Family's Review started by Don't Feed the Greed Guy
    Comments 15 Comments
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      Hi, Don't Feed the Greed Guy! I was the guy a table over from you at the Meltdown opening baseball cards who came up with the Scott Erickson card you and your son got signed for me.

      Nice review! I agree that the biggest problem was the accessibility of the schedules: finding it online, printing it, and/or obtaining one once at TwinsFest. My attempts to find and use a schedule sound very similar to yours.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Great review and nice to see those smiling faces!

      Sounds like your "biggest complaints" are ones that the Twins staff can easily solve for next year.
    1. iTwins's Avatar
      iTwins -
      Great review! My wife and I had a very similar experience on Saturday and were overall pleased with the event at Target Field.

      They posted better versions of the brochures on the TwinsFest page on Thursday (right before the event) and you could print off just the map, schedule, etc. That made things easier, but it was a bit frustrating that it took so long to get that info in an easy to read form. As we came in the gate on Saturday, we were handed a brochure by a friendly volunteer. It seemed like it was hard NOT to get one - so maybe they adjusted that after feedback from the first day?

      I'd like to know the official re-entry policy for the event. It sounds like your wife was able to leave and come back in with no issues, while I was told at the event that there was "no re-entry". The yard sale had the 1991 World Series bobble head set for $150 and I WOULD have grabbed one, if I didn't have to lug it around all day (this was at 10:30 am, we stayed until 5:45) the boxes were large and awkward - no way I was carrying them all day long. I asked if I could take it to my car after buying it and a volunteer told me that I couldn't come back in after leaving. Sounds like that might not have been true, which is a bummer because I really wanted that set.

      I hope they tweak the lower level layout a bit. It was too hard to navigate through the vendors on Saturday (crowded) and it was awfully dark in the hallway, which made it tough to see prices.

      Finally, I'd like to see a better system when it comes to autographs for Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. I got into the Buxton line at 2pm on Saturday (he was scheduled to sign at 3:15 to 4:15) and I was probably #250 in the line. I ended up not getting Buxton at all, which is a bummer since I spent 2 hours in line. (I did get Sano, since they shared the same suite and those that missed Buxton essentially became the front of the Sano line). Maybe wristbands or numbers should be handed out for those two as well.

      While there were some growing pains with the new venue, I agree with your assessment - the event should stay at Target Field.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      A no re-entry policy seems ludicrous. TwinsFest is all about selling autographs and memorabilia to fans. It's like Target having a no re-entry policy.

      Your experience with the Buxton line reminds me why I don't attend. Why would I want to pay a $20 entry fee to stand in line all day?
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Thanks for the write-up. I've never been there as I'm in Fort Myers at the time, but it's always nice to read how things go up there. Talked to a few players that were there today and they said it was cold. One of my friends down here flew up for it but haven't seen him yet to get his scoop. Sounds like the crowds were way down, but then that's better for those that did go. Glad it was worth the drive for you, and something the boys won't forget.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Both days I entered, the people scanning tickets and security guards were telling people they could get their ticket marked and re-enter.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Good stuff

      But but but: What's up with that Pirates' jersey? (Nice retro jersey, btw)
    1. iTwins's Avatar
      iTwins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      Both days I entered, the people scanning tickets and security guards were telling people they could get their ticket marked and re-enter.
      That's good, I thought no re-entry was a bit odd. Sounds like the volunteer we asked had bad information. I really wanted that bobble head set too. Oh well, things to remember for next year I suppose.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Good stuff

      But but but: What's up with that Pirates' jersey? (Nice retro jersey, btw)
      Not so much a Pirates jersey, as a Clemente jersey. It's part of my subtle desire to see #21 retired next to #42, someday. Interestingly, I had a brief conversation with Kris Atteberry about this at the Fan Feud venue. It started much the same as your comment, "What's up with the Buc's jersey?" That's my usual "in" to preach about Clemente. Atteberry replied that the not so subtle push for retiring #21 is growing throughout the MLB.

      For those interested, and those who need to be convinced, check out David Maraniss' biography "Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero" http://www.amazon.com/Clemente-Passi.../dp/074329999X Maraniss is a Pulitzer-winning reporter who has written about Vietnam, political leaders, Vince Lombardi, and Sweetness (Clemente was sweet long before Sir Walter Payton). I'm barely into the book, but may post a review when finished.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wookiee of the Year View Post
      Hi, Don't Feed the Greed Guy! I was the guy a table over from you at the Meltdown opening baseball cards who came up with the Scott Erickson card you and your son got signed for me.

      Nice review! I agree that the biggest problem was the accessibility of the schedules: finding it online, printing it, and/or obtaining one once at TwinsFest. My attempts to find and use a schedule sound very similar to yours.
      Hey Wookiee! Yes, that was a fun moment. Your card gave the little guy an opportunity to show up his big brother, who didn't dare ask Erickson for the autograph. Fun times.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Great article. Thanks for posting this.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Talked with my friend who went up for it this morning. He was disappointed over all. He collects cards, etc. It cost $650 for a table for the dealers, and it was so dark in there you really couldn't tell the grade of the cards. So he only bought newer cards, and the dealers were selling cheap, trying to recoup table rent.

      He went to the garage sale, but was late. A friend of his got in at the start and bought 9 game used jerseys at 50 each with a 20% discount, including Florimon, Dozier and Kubel. Really a good price! Most all that was gone when he got there but he did buy a bobblehead set for $120. They were 20% off if 6 or more purchased so he got together with a couple other guys and they bought the 6. The first thing he did friday night was get in the Buxton line and got that signed no problem. Saturday he said that line was very long. He was happy they had elevators. There's some kinks to work out before next year.
    1. iTwins's Avatar
      iTwins -
      Quote Originally Posted by Halsey Hall View Post

      He went to the garage sale, but was late. A friend of his got in at the start and bought 9 game used jerseys at 50 each with a 20% discount, including Florimon, Dozier and Kubel. Really a good price! Most all that was gone when he got there but he did buy a bobblehead set for $120. They were 20% off if 6 or more purchased so he got together with a couple other guys and they bought the 6.
      That reminds me of my other gripe. The yard sale - while a great idea - was executed poorly. By 10am on Saturday it was already cleaned out. I wanted a Dozier jersey and a batting helmet but by early Saturday, only Sept. call ups and spring training jerseys (without numbers most of the time) remained. Batting helmets were gone, as were most of the other desirables (player artwork, banners - etc.) I'm not sure how they fix that, as all they want to do is sell it (they could care less WHEN it's sold, I'm sure) so I think the lesson is go on Friday if you want anything cool.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by iTwins View Post
      That reminds me of my other gripe. The yard sale - while a great idea - was executed poorly. By 10am on Saturday it was already cleaned out. I wanted a Dozier jersey and a batting helmet but by early Saturday, only Sept. call ups and spring training jerseys (without numbers most of the time) remained. Batting helmets were gone, as were most of the other desirables (player artwork, banners - etc.) I'm not sure how they fix that, as all they want to do is sell it (they could care less WHEN it's sold, I'm sure) so I think the lesson is go on Friday if you want anything cool.
      It was pretty picked over by 8 pm Friday.
    1. Sarah's Avatar
      Sarah -
      Nice write up! I have to agree about the brochures, I went on Sunday and had to search for one too. I remember in the past they gave you a bag with a brochure as you walked in so I thought that was odd. Maybe it was just one of those things because it was the first year at Target Field...overall I thought the Twins did a good job with the revamped TwinsFest. It was definitely different but it was really interesting to see some of the different areas of Target Field that you don't get to see at a game. I hope they continue this for next year because I'd definitely bring my nephews, they would have loved going into the Twins clubhouse!
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