Target Field :: Still bustling, even without the baseball

Share this:
November 8, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
Still bustling, even without the baseball

// The season is long over, but Target Field continues to be a big draw for events //

In the final days of October, a sunny morning brought a few tourists to Target Plaza to get a closer look at the new stadium. There wasn’t much to see. Green tarps covered the banks of seats. A few grounds crew workers hoisted flower planters up from the field, dumping their contents into the flat beds of two squat landscaping vehicles. It was cold. And Target Field looked like it had been put to rest.

But inside, the stadium was still very much alive. Employees were scrambling to prep for the 60 or so events yet to come before the end of the year: wedding receptions, corporate meetings, holiday parties.

Target Field was a magnet for event booking before the season began, Twins spokesman Kevin Smith said. And the popularity hasn’t waned at all post-season.

“Since January, when we moved in here, we’ve had 238 events, with approximately 61,500 guests attending those events,” Smith said. “And we have 63 currently on the books going through the end of this calendar year.”

That makes 301 total events for the year — almost one per day and three times as many as there were actual baseball games played there. It makes for quite a bit of work for the stadium’s three-person event planning department. In terms of events, Target Field employs only a senior manager and two event sales staff coordinators. Smith said they hope to hire two interns for next year.

So what’s going on in Target Field when the Twins aren’t on the field?

“The most consistent traffic we’ve seen is company meetings,” Smith said. Then there’s the standard holiday parties and wedding receptions. But earlier this year, the Federal 8th Circuit Court congregated in the Metropolitan Club for an official meeting, one that welcomed Samuel Alito, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as a special guest.

“It’s quite a wide spectrum,” Smith said.

To book an event at Target Field, check out the event inquiry page at twinsbaseball.com, in the Target Field section of the website, or call the main line at 659-3400.

———

Stadium winterization process begins

It’s a shame really. The unseasonably mild October would have been perfect for playoff baseball.

But now that November’s hit, Target Field needs to hunker down for the winter. Head groundskeeper Larry DiVito made his first winterization moves during the second-to-last week of October.

“The field itself, we have grounds crew out there working on it. They’re replacing the sod in spots, doing some fall fertilization,” said Twins spokesman Kevin Smith. “At some point Larry will decide to put the cover down over the grass again.”

As of this writing, the grass was still exposed.

Smith added that “drain-downs” had begun in certain areas of the concourse, running water being shut off in restrooms and concession areas.

“Basically, we’re closing down the cabin,” he said.

———

Two high schools may get artificial turf courtesy of Target Field

Two Twin Cities high schools — Washburn High School in Tangletown and Patrick Henry High School in North Minneapolis — have applied for a special, Twins-related grant that would provide funds to build an artificial turf field on each of their campuses.

Legislation that authorized the building of Target Field allows Hennepin County to grant approximately $1.7 million this cycle through its Hennepin Youth Sports Program. The grant money is specifically reserved for improving recreational facilities and for enhancing opportunities for youth athletics. The Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission administers the grant. Applications were due on Nov. 1.

Should Patrick Henry win the grant, the school would receive $325,000 from the Hennepin Youth Sports Program. The total cost of the field is estimated at $988,500.

Costs at Washburn are higher, with the total cost for a turf field estimated at $1,202,200. Their grant would be in the same amount, however, covering $325,000 of the cost.

The two high schools are not competing for the same money, however, and both schools could possibly be awarded grants.

Reach Gregory J. Scott at gscott@mnpubs.com.