How we got here: A Target Field timeline

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April 12, 2010 // UPDATED 8:38 am - April 12, 2010
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes
1960: The Washington Senators move to Minnesota. The Twins are born.

1979: Plans for the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the first air-supported dome in Major League Baseball, takes shape. The stadium is expected to be an attendance booster.

1981: The Twins play their last game at Bloomington’s Metropolitan Stadium, beating the Kansas City Royals 5–2 but finishing the season with a 41–68 record.

1982: The Twins play their first season at the Metrodome, lack of air conditioning notwithstanding.

1984: Team president Calvin Griffith threatens to move the Twins to Florida because of low attendance. Instead, local businessman Carl Pohlad buys the team and keeps it here.

The Twins nab their first World Series.

1991: World Series No. 2.

1995: Discussions on developing a Twins-only stadium begin to pop up.

1997: The state Legislature decides against a number of ballpark funding plans. Pohlad, meanwhile, closes in on selling the Twins to a businessman who wants to move the team. The deal falls through.

1998: Pohlad signs a new lease with the Dome.

2001: Talk of contraction in Major League Baseball makes fans fearful that the Twins are on the way out, but the Dome’s operators successfully go to court to force the team to stay in Minnesota in 2002. Meanwhile, Minneapolis and St. Paul offer dueling ballpark proposals to keep the team around long-term. Minneapolis’ plan would have the stadium built on the Rapid Park parking lot behind Target Center, while St. Paul’s would put it near the Xcel Energy Center.

The Legislature passes a stadium-financing bill that favors a St. Paul location. The plan needs voter approval, but team ownership concerns keep the issue from appearing on the fall ballot. As a result, the plan falls through.

2003: The “Twinsville” concept makes its first appearance, featuring a proposed cluster of housing and retail development surrounding a 40,000-seat ballpark behind Target Center. The Minneapolis City Council votes 11–1 to pass a resolution that backs the Rapid Park ballpark site, although financing isn’t settled.

2004: The Twins unveil plans for a $450 million ballpark with a retractable roof. They don’t offer a preferred location.

2005: Minneapolis, Hennepin County and the Twins together present a $478 million plan for a 42,000-seat, roofless ballpark that would be paid for largely by taxpayers through a 0.15 percent countywide sales tax increase. Pohlad would cover $125 million of the cost. A voter referendum would not be part of the plan, which stirs controversy.

April 2006: A close vote by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approves seeking legislative authority to bypass a referendum for a sales tax increase. Similarly close votes on the issue follow at the Capitol. Opponents cite financial needs for more pressing issues, as well as the fairness of only taxing those in Hennepin County.

May 2006: The ballpark becomes a reality. Legislators work late into a Saturday night to approve a $522 million plan to build a 42,000-seat, open-air stadium at the Rapid Park site. Only four Minneapolis legislators vote with the majority. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs the legislation into law during a May 26 pre-game ceremony.

2007: The Twins break ground on their new home.

2008: The Twins sign a 25-year marketing deal with retail giant Target to name the ballpark Target Field. A new public gathering space between the ballpark and Target Center is named Target Plaza.

January 2009: Pohlad dies at 93. His family retains ownership of the Twins.

August 2009: New green space pops up Downtown when crews install Target Field’s turf. The grass was grown in and transported from Colorado.

September 2009:
The Pohlad family is reported to have paid more than $50 million more on the ballpark than originally expected, covering amenities such as public art installations.

October 2009:
After a rousing finish to the regular season — overtaking division rival the Detroit Tigers in a marathon game 163 — the Twins say goodbye to the Metrodome in a 4–1 playoff loss to the New York Yankees.

November 2009:
The Northstar Commuter Rail Line opens. The 40-mile passenger train line extends from Big Lake to Target Field.

March 2010:
Star catcher Joe Mauer signs an eight-year contract extension with the Twins, setting off statewide euphoria. The $184 million deal is the fourth largest in Major League Baseball history.

April 2010:
The Twins arrive at Target Field. Outdoor major league baseball returns to Minnesota.