Dress warm, expect heavier-than-usual traffic as Mpls. hosts the baseball event of the year.
Part of the lucky, eager mass of fans headed for Tuesday night’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game? Here are some hot tips for a chilly evening: Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes, and arrive plenty early for the 7 p.m. game.
The estimated 39,000 fans attending the game must pass through metal detectors and present their bags and backpacks for inspection before entering Target Field. The requirements are standard for games this season — but beleaguered Minnesota Twins fans may have forgotten the extra logistics needed for a sold-out game.
“Get here early to soak it all in,” Twins spokesman Kevin Smith advised fans Monday.
The series of All-Star events that began Friday ran smoothly through the weekend leading into the Home Run Derby on Monday night, the Red Carpet show Tuesday afternoon, and of course Tuesday night’s main event, when baseball’s freshest stars trot onto the field.
Fans will find a freshly cleaned Target Field and a downtown area flooded with police officers, including more corners with traffic cops to help pedestrians stay safe.
Access-wise, the trickiest event probably won’t be the game itself, but the Red Carpet show, during which players walk and ride up Nicollet Mall to Target Field. The mall and its cross streets will be closed for a couple of hours at midday, with only Hennepin Avenue open to through traffic during parade breaks.
“We do have recommended detours during the parade, but we do expect it to be fairly congested,” said Minneapolis traffic operations engineer Tim Drew. The routes and closures are available on the city’s website.
The parade aside, Drew said out-of-towners using charter buses, taxis and transit have actually eased event congestion, a pattern he expects to hold through the game. One potential caveat — background traffic created by those who attend the game’s ancillary events or hang around outside the ballpark hoping for fly balls.
“We’re not predicting a traffic nightmare,” he said.
Street closings, be prepared
FanFest, private events and a block party went off smoothly over the weekend. An upbeat-sounding Assistant Minneapolis Police Chief Matt Clark predicted more of the same for the marquee event and urged people to come downtown for it.
“We’re definitely recommending people come out” to the events, Clark said. “We’ve been planning this for more than a year.”
He oversees a round-the-clock command center staffed by officers from around the Twin Cities experienced with major events, such as the Republican National Convention, and emergencies, including the North Side tornado and the Interstate 35 bridge collapse.
Numerous street closures are planned for the game. Clark suggested drivers should plan carefully and park in a municipal ramp.
6th Street between 1st Avenue N. and Hennepin Avenue N. by Target Center is closed and will remain so through midnight Tuesday. 4th Avenue S. between 4th and 5th Streets will be closed through the game, as will Twins Way from Royalston Avenue, and N. 7th Street, Grant Street and 2nd Avenue S. between Marquette Avenue and 12th Street, near the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The 3rd Avenue N. ramp to I-394 will be closed intermittently Sunday through Tuesday.
Nicollet Mall was to close Monday night. The All-Star players will parade down the mall beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday between 7th and 13th Streets. The cross streets will be barricaded at 11:30 a.m. and reopened as soon as the parade passes by. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., “It’s going to be tough to get around,” Drew said.
It’s autumn in July