The glorious convergence of the Green Line of the light rail opening last year and the Saints’ new CHS Field opening this year will give baseball fans a handful of opportunities for some unique rail-to-rail doubleheaders.
The last Green Line stop in downtown Minneapolis is Target Field. The last stop in St. Paul is a three-minute walk from CHS Field. Your mission: both ballparks in the same day. The first chance is Saturday, when the Twins play at 1:10 p.m. and the Saints have a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.
I also count three more chances: Saturday, June 20; Wednesday, July 8; and Thursday, Sept. 3. Consider this an unofficial guide to doing those days right:
• Start off with some breakfast, brunch, lunch or drinks in downtown Minneapolis. There is no shortage of options, but getting downtown early will set the tone for a nice, relaxed day.
• While a good baseball fan never leaves a game early, be ready to get to the Target Field station quickly after the game ends … or hang out in downtown Minneapolis for an hour postgame. Either way, don’t get stuck wasting time waiting in a long line for trains — you aren’t the only one with the smart idea of riding the rail to and from the game, after all.
• That said, make sure to pad your time. The Twins game should end around 4 p.m., and you might think that gives you all the time in the world to get to St. Paul. I rode the entire line Thursday, and it took 47 minutes from end to end.
• Still, that does give you some time to explore some stops along the Green Line en route to St. Paul. Trains run every 10 minutes from 3:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., and a single-rider fare ($1.75) is good for 2½ hours, so feel free to hop on and off as you make your way east. One great thing about riding vs. driving is you have the chance to observe and let your senses guide you.
If bars are your thing, hop off at the U of M East Bank stop for plenty of choices. Twitter follower @collinsolberg smartly notes there are tons of breweries and taprooms along the line, including Fulton (right by Target Field), Surly (short walk from the Prospect Park station) and Burning Brothers (a great gluten-free beer spot that’s a short walk from the Fairview station).
• Feel like exploring St. Paul after the Saints game? Yeah, the joke is that everything in St. Paul is closed after 10 p.m., but that’s not really true. The Bulldog and Barrio have nice spots just a couple blocks from CHS Field.
• Heading back toward Minneapolis postgame? Think about checking out the recently renovated Turf Club (Snelling Avenue station) for some music and good times. Or just head back home knowing that you saw a multicity, multi-stadium baseball doubleheader and will be the envy of any friends who didn’t join you.