2023 Trip #1 - March 30-April 5 - Kansas City & Miami
The "All 81" away game journey begins in 109 days. That seems like a long time away. Until you enter it into a spreadsheet and realize that its only one mouse scroll from tomorrow...
Here's my plan of attack for keeping everyone in the loop during planning season:
1. Monday blogs will focus on the 16 trips involved in the 2023 Twins season. I'm going to be focusing on stadium highlights, attributes, Twins history, and community amenities. Potential pitfalls and road blocks get considered, and travel considerations get mentioned. My handy-dandy Baseball Road Trips by Timothy Malcolm and Moon travel guides will be a go-to for this conversation.
2. Friday blogs will focus on the "Why the heck are you doing this?" aspects of the trip. Stories and connection to Twins baseball, and the journey from growing up in the middle of South Dakota on a small farm to navigating a cross-country road trip for the ages. Also, the nature of the trip, the partnerships that get established in order to make it happen, and the last-minute excitements of the planning phase will be shared.
3. Starting March 30th, 2023 - Game-day blogs. Lots of them. I'll read the room and see if anyone cares about my thoughts on being back in Mitchell for watching "home" games. I'm guessing a "While I was home" summary blog before I head out on each trip will suffice.
The only way to begin such a journey is by starting, so here we go...
March 30, April 1 & 2 - @ Kansas City Royals (3 games)
Kauffman Stadium - capacity 37,903 - 2022 attendance was 1,277,686 (ranked 13th out of 15 AL teams)
It's 1st Season of use was 1973 (Royals Stadium) with artificial turf, renamed Kauffman Stadium in 1994 after the team's first owner. Kentucky bluegrass replaced the turf in 1995. Folks hoping to check this one off your bucket list better hurry up, as they are proposing a Target Field-style move to downtown!
Open bowl format, southeast of Kansas City in a complex with the Chiefs stadium. I've been to one game there, and the Twins did well! We sat way up in the top of the left field foul bowl, but batting practice was sparse and we got some good interactions with the players. This was the 2018 Fernando Rodney era, and he was hilarious and generous with batting practice balls for my kids. Beautiful outfield, reminded me of Fort Myers actually with its lack of seating and open boardwalk vibe. Folks told me it reminded them of Dodger Stadium as far as geometric alignment of field and seating. I can't wait to compare them both in the first few months of the year! For some reason, I suspect that LA in May will require less jackets and scarves than KC in March?
Kauffman resides outside of the pace of Kansas City, so tour guides send a journeyer into town for BBQ and night life. My go-to hotel (Drury Inn across the interstate) no longer exists, and it looks like it took its free dinner buffet with it...so that's going to impact potential costs for the trip. I'm hoping to get my family with me to this one.
Mitchell, SD to Kauffman Stadium gates is 441 miles. The season will start in a car. Which car? TBD. None of the current rigs will last this adventure, so I'm seeking options :)
April 3-5 - @ Miami Marlins (3 games)
LoanDepot Park - capacity 37,442 - 2022 attendance was 907,487 (ranked 15th out of 15 NL parks every year since 2013, excluding 2020 Covid season)
It's 1st season of use was 2012 (Marlins Park), renamed LoanDepot Park in 2021 after a company :) I've been belly-aching about the Twins starting the season at Target Field in snow for years. I said, "Why don't they start in Florida or Texas or California?" MLB heard my cries, and then for some reason decided that Kansas City was on the way to Miami and gave me less than 24 hours to get there.
Retractable roof (start your Target Field regret comments below), night club (closed 2020?), beautiful outside and inside. The best part? I could get 30 dollar prime dugout seats today via their website. I mean its all for sale...and no one's buying :) This "communidad 305" thing looks interesting. BYOInstruments? Soccer atmosphere? Count me in if the Twins are winning! Bobblehead museum contains 400 of the old owner Loria's collection, but something tells me that might be a little creepy. Me and doll museum vibes don't go together well. Moon's lists it as the "most underrated ballpark there is."
LoanDepot Park sits in the southern part of the city, just west of Biscayne Bay. If the roof is open, sightlines from the back of the first-base line is the place to be. If closed...go party and play instruments? Part of me hopes for low crowd numbers and another chance to experience "Metrodome echo cheering," but its the first week of the season. Hope probably will still exist in Marlin land there. 70 degrees and sunny, the beach will feel great to me and hopefully too chilly for the locals.
Mitchell, SD to LoanDepot Park gates is 1,893 miles. Kauffman Stadium to LoanDepot Park gates is 1,455 miles. 21 hours by car...literally can't make it from game to game like that. Omaha, NE looks like the airport of choice with more direct options. The first "inter-series travel moment" logistically poses my best chance for having a cancelled flight wreck the whole trip.
Now it's your turn to plan!
If you have been to either Kauffman Stadium or LoanDepot Park, please post your list of "best seats" and "must sees." Anyone else planning on going to these series?
Grace and peace Twins Territory! Thanks for the help!