Townball Tavern @ Target FieldOriginally published by DK on July 28, 2021 at 1:59 pm
Best. Usher. Ever.Originally published by DK on July 2, 2021 at 9:02 pm
Auction at the Saints gameOriginally published by DK on July 1, 2021 at 6:18 pm
All kinds of stars in Lowertown this season ⚾️Originally published by DK on June 13, 2021 at 2:54 pm
Fun night with Keri and Scott in LowertownOriginally published by DK on June 11, 2021 at 11:28 pm
I like this part of the new deal ⚾️Originally published by DK on June 8, 2021 at 8:03 pm
The first of three ⚾️Originally published by DK on May 19, 2021 at 7:12 pm
Our other section this season (so far)Originally published by DK on May 12, 2021 at 10:22 pm
Looked pretty much the same to meOriginally published by DK on May 4, 2021 at 9:19 pm
Looking back through the archives, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about our baseball ticket group. State Farm Insurance Agent Kirk Detlefsen (and his family) have been running a Twins season ticket group for quite some time. I was introduced to them through my Northwest Airlines mentor six years ago and have been hooked ever since.
Each season, Kirk buys up a bunch of season tickets in different sections, then divides them into shares at various price points. A ticket “draft” is held every year and each shareholder picks the games they want to attend. Usually this is held in February in the Delta Club with snow on the field, guest speakers from the Twins and an assortment of ballpark food available for purchase. We didn’t have one at all in 2020 and the 2021 version was held via Zoom (of course). Kudos to all the Detlefsens for pulling that off (and managing 100% digital tickets for the first time ever).
The smallest share in the group is two tickets to two games in the Champions Club. Since these seats are super expensive (and generally not available to the general public via single game sales), this was a nice way to splurge once a year (I split the share with my uncle). After a few years of that, we switched to a share with two seats for ten games in the Delta Club. That’s what we currently have, although it appears that our actual seats may be all over this season because of capacity restrictions.
So what was the return of fans like?
To be honest, the thing I was looking forward to most were the new Andrew Zimmern KFC wings that Stephanie March wrote about for Mpls/StPaul magazine. They are available in Bat & Barrel (which will now be called Truly On Deck, but none of the signage has changed yet), so we headed there first. They still apparently take advanced reservations, as most tables had reserved signs on them and you couldn’t order food from the counter (just drinks at the bar). I asked the person standing at the podium if I had to order through the app, but she wasn’t sure. The tables had QR codes on them, so I scanned that, which took me to a menu page, but no link to order online. Hmm…
So let’s talk about apps for a minute. MLB offers several, but these are the two primary ones I’ve used (and had on my phone): MLB and MLB Ballpark. I could’ve sworn the first one used to be called At Bat, but maybe I’m making that up. The MLB app lets you follow games around the league, while the Ballpark app is supposed to handle all the stuff you need at an actual game – tickets, mobile ordering, Twingo. I opened the wrong app so many times – maybe I need to move them to different screens. I also added the ParkWhiz app to my phone today to park in Ramp A, but more on that later.
There were multiple reports across the league of issues with mobile ordering on opening day, so I was interested to see how the process worked. I was also under the impression that all food needed to be ordered from the app, but that was not the case at all. With limited stands open, lines were long all around the main concourse, but you could place an order at a stand and pay with a credit card (no cash accepted – Apple Pay did work fine, which has been an issue for me there in the past). Here’s what the Ballpark app screens looked like to order my KFC wings:
The first disclaimer screen comes up every single time you try to order. The app doesn’t automatically try to figure out where you are located, so you have to select from the drop-down menu, which has what seems like a million options to scroll through. When I selected Bat & Barrel, there was a limited selection of items – I could order the wings, but no drinks or sides. The app was not integrated with Apple Pay, so I had to manually enter my credit card information. My card got billed right away and the screen said I would receive a text message when my order was ready. The app didn’t ask for my number, though, so I never received a text. Also, once you closed the confirmation window, it was not obvious how to pull up your order info (with the important order number) and I did not receive any email receipts of the transaction. Later I found that you can access a “My Orders” section, but that is only available by starting a new transaction:
There was signage at the front serving area for mobile order pickup, but there was no one working there. After a few minutes of standing around, someone came and asked me if I was waiting for an order, then went back to the kitchen to get it. By this time, there were a few other people waiting too. When they brought out my food, it was in a stapled shut brown grocery bag that just contained the food in a container – there were no utensils or napkins. This was only the second game back after a year of no fans, so hopefully these issues will get worked out as operations get back into the grove. The quality of the wings was really good, but a cheese brat I bought later from the Kramarczuk’s stand was small and overcooked.
While it was great to be back at a game, we had a few other negative experiences. The digital tickets in the app say you must enter at the gate indicated, so we headed to gate 34 when we arrived. Since we were early, there was no one in line at all, but a guest service staffer immediately confronted us. She said this was an ADA entrance and wanted to see our “Sweet Spot” card on the app before letting us proceed (?). That part of the app was not working and she eventually just let us proceed to the empty security screening line. Guessing this process will also get better as the season progresses.
The announced attendance for the game was 9,817 and the concourses never felt overcrowded. People in general followed the mask and distancing rules while moving around, but the concession lines were tight and the group of “bros” behind us decided that since they were drinking all game long, they didn’t need to wear their masks. At all. Seat spacing was similar to the Saints last season, alternating rows with four-seat blocks on both ends in one row with two-seats blocks in the middle of the next. Blocked seats were zip tied shut, but one group asked an usher if they were supposed to cut them to sit (they were in the wrong section). We didn’t see any ushers trying to enforce mask rules, the scoreboard and PA announcements were minimal and it would be nice if the fancam operators would only show people following the rules.
With state regulations capping attendance at 10,000 right now, I don’t envy the task of the ticket office managers. We really like our experience in Delta Club and hope that we can have seats back in there later in the season. It was rather frustrating to see entire empty sections up there the whole game, but I’m guessing that’s because most people wanted to stay inside the warm part of the club (which we would have traded our 12th row seats for in a heartbeat – it never got above 47F). Target Field’s current published capacity is only 38,544, so jumping up to 50% shouldn’t be a huge change. It will also be nice to see the menus expand back to normal – Red Cow, for example, was not offering turkey burgers yet.
The final issue we had (aside from the dumb start-a-runner-on-second rule and Twins loss) was leaving the parking ramp. I drove up to the exit kiosk and opened the ParkWhiz app, only to find my barcode gone and a prompt to login. When I bought the parking pass earlier in the day, they sent me an email with a link to the barcode, but never asked me to set up a login ID and password. With people waiting behind me (and no staff at the exit), I had to pull my car over to the side, find the email, then get back in line. I will now know to have this ready before I start driving, but I wasn’t the only car that had to do this. If there was a regular-sized crowd exiting at the same time, this would be a disaster.
A return to hockey is up next for me tomorrow night (with another Twins game on 4/23). Stay tuned for more reports…Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm
Flexibility (and safety) is great, but nothing beats in personOriginally published by DK on January 21, 2021 at 11:02 pm
Parakeets are coolOriginally published by DK on August 24, 2020 at 6:27 pm
One of the twelve or so fireworks @ CHS FieldOriginally published by DK on August 7, 2020 at 10:07 pm
CHS Field open for food, but not baseballOriginally published by DK on June 15, 2020 at 2:34 pm
Will it get used this year?Originally published by DK on May 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Foul ball at the very end of the sessionOriginally published by DK on March 10, 2020 at 3:22 pm
Baseball in this building looks so wonkyOriginally published by DK on March 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Annual Detlefsen Draft GroupOriginally published by DK on January 29, 2020 at 1:48 pm
John Avenson bringing the heatOriginally published by DK on September 18, 2019 at 6:34 pm
Mr.Rosario watching the replaysOriginally published by DK on September 11, 2019 at 10:27 pm
Met Stadium and the MetrodomeOriginally published by DK on September 11, 2019 at 10:26 pm
Way to go Saints – that was amazing!Originally published by DK on September 11, 2019 at 12:01 am
The Saint Paul Saints have always been the masters of promotion. When they posted a link to a “Media Member for the Day” event, I grabbed the August 27th game against the Chicago Dogs and patiently waited. With only a handful of regular season games left, tonight was the night. I walked across the street from our house and picked up my pass from the box office, entered the VIP/Media entrance on Broadway and walked up to my perch behind home plate.
Working in an NFL stadium, our press box is only in use ten days a year (unless there is a Minneapolis Miracle). The Saints play fifty home games in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, plus the potential for best-of-five divisional and championship match-ups. With seven games left in the 2019 season, the Saints have a record of 59-34 and are 1.5 games back of Fargo-Moorhead, who clinched a playoff spot last night.
If they make the post-season, this will be the second year in a row. We went to all of the playoff games last year and were really surprised at how few people attended. The Saints lead the league in regular season attendance – in fact, they have double the attendance of the next closest team this year (363,109 versus 167,131 for Winnipeg). CHS Field (built in 2015 for $64.7 million by Ryan Companies) officially holds 7,210 fans, but the Saints average 8,069 people per game. My guess is that the huge corporate outing business that drives attendance during the year just isn’t there for the playoff games. If the Saints do make it to back-to-back playoffs, the dates this year would be:
- Divisional Playoff Games: 9/4, 9/5, 9/7 (9/8 & 9/9, if necessary)
- Championship Games: 9/11, 9/12, 9/14 (9/15 & 9/16, if necessary)
The division winner gets to choose which games they will host, with one team hosting the first two games and the other team hosting Game 3, as well as the final two games if they end up being needed.
So how does this press box compare to ours? The Vikings have spaces for 175 people in the main seating area and I would say you could squeeze in about six people at CHS. We both have high-speed WiFi and wired data ports available, a friendly press box announcer that reports stats as they happen and complimentary food and beverages. The press box at CHS sits between the TV broadcast booth on one side and the event production booth on the other. Of course, this is also where the peanuts get thrown down during the seventh inning stretch (looking forward to that).
Nothing against the Saints, but they really get caught up in the overall decline of local journalism. I can understand no Star Tribune or TV representation, but where is the Pioneer Press? Aside from the occasional Shooter mention, I don’t think you can even find a box score in the hometown paper. John Shipley did write a story during the All-Star festivities, but that was likely just because Joe Mauer and a bunch of Vikings played in the charity softball game.
Aside from that issue, the Saints definitely produce a great product in the crowded Twin Cities sports market. As a guy who grew up in Saint Paul going to games at Midway Stadium, the organization will always hold a special place in the history of the city. The new City of Baseball museum along the third base line is really well done and is a great addition to the building. CHS Field truly is a beautiful facility and GM Derek Sharrer runs a great operation.
Thanks for letting me visit!Originally published by DK on August 27, 2019 at 9:38 pm
I hadn’t noticed…Originally published by DK on August 25, 2019 at 6:14 pm
Hopefully they do better than the Twins todayOriginally published by DK on August 11, 2019 at 5:11 pm
Two nights of All Stars, now two nights to start the second halfOriginally published by DK on July 24, 2019 at 7:43 pm
So much CHS Field time this weekOriginally published by DK on July 23, 2019 at 6:21 pm
Now we just need a win over OaklandOriginally published by DK on July 21, 2019 at 1:01 pm
Swapped out uncles…Originally published by DK on July 17, 2019 at 10:24 pm
https://www.tmz.com/2019/07/17/pete-alonso-home-run-minnesota-474-feet-new-york-mets-mlb/Originally published by DK on July 17, 2019 at 7:38 pm
Weirdest rain delay everOriginally published by DK on July 17, 2019 at 12:44 pm
Too cold, too hot?Originally published by DK on July 14, 2019 at 5:32 pm
…before I returned to the Delta Club, anyways 😉Originally published by DK on June 25, 2019 at 7:44 pm
Delta 360 Club @ Target FieldOriginally published by DK on June 13, 2019 at 6:18 pm
Twins season ticket holder trip was successfulOriginally published by DK on May 19, 2019 at 6:48 pm
It’s been quite an off-seasonOriginally published by DK on May 16, 2019 at 7:29 pm
…with that gourmet shitOriginally published by DK on April 17, 2019 at 8:19 pm
Happy Baseball Opener everyone!Originally published by DK on March 28, 2019 at 1:36 pm
A comfortable player is a happy player, and a happy player is a productive player…Originally published by DK on March 24, 2019 at 10:03 am
I finally own a green hat to wear once a yearOriginally published by DK on March 17, 2019 at 3:25 pm
MK at her first ticket draftOriginally published by DK on January 30, 2019 at 10:42 pm
Guy next to me got itOriginally published by DK on September 26, 2018 at 11:21 pm
Rough night for the home team ⚾️Originally published by DK on September 11, 2018 at 9:13 pm
Every baseball team needs a pig 🐷Originally published by DK on August 30, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Last regular season home standOriginally published by DK on August 29, 2018 at 8:42 pm
Too bad Birch’s Lowertown is going to miss most of Saints seasonOriginally published by DK on August 26, 2018 at 1:28 pm
Don’t think I saw a Vikings game, but saw lots of Twins thereOriginally published by DK on August 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm
Bacon, wild rice and cheese from Von Hanson’s MeatOriginally published by DK on August 12, 2018 at 7:11 pm
From the 2018 St. Paul Saints trading card setOriginally published by DK on August 7, 2018 at 10:45 am
Hope they play better than last nightOriginally published by DK on July 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm
Some room for improvement, no?Originally published by DK on July 9, 2018 at 8:49 pm
Three early baseball MOD shifts for 2018Originally published by DK on March 11, 2018 at 6:19 am
First games start tomorrowOriginally published by DK on February 26, 2018 at 2:09 pm
Justin Morneau @ Kirk’s big showOriginally published by DK on February 13, 2018 at 12:44 pm
It doesn’t cost anything to be nice…Originally published by DK on December 13, 2017 at 10:33 pm
So cool – artwork @ CHS FieldOriginally published by DK on August 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm
Meetings with the TwinsOriginally published by DK on August 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm
JD Drew @ CHS FieldOriginally published by DK on July 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Mac and meat is my new favoriteOriginally published by DK on July 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm
This neighborhood, amirite?Originally published by DK on July 21, 2017 at 11:01 pm
Too hot, but had to get the T-shirt (not pictured)Originally published by DK on July 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm
Yet another perk – thanks, BrandonOriginally published by DK on June 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm
The masters of sports marketingOriginally published by DK on May 27, 2017 at 7:11 pm
The new place is a great spot for Fireworks Fridays @ CHS FieldOriginally published by DK on May 19, 2017 at 10:38 pm
Mr. Cunningham does such a great job for the Twins (and Wild)Originally published by DK on May 16, 2017 at 11:11 pm
Never sat in the last row before – Annual Gopher NightOriginally published by DK on May 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm
BK in the house – Fort Myers, FloridaOriginally published by DK on March 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm