Target Field: Charm comes with obstructed views

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2010 - 1:54 PM

Among Target Field's 39,504 seats are a few with restricted views. The Twins want fans to know where those seats are before they buy.

Twins executive director Kevin Smith stepped around the melting snow at Target Field on a recent sunny day, pointing out views from around the ballpark.

Most of the views were spectacular. A few were partially obstructed.

This comes with the territory, Smith said, when you build a character-filled ballpark.

"We believe every seat in the ballpark is a good seat, but we also acknowledge that there are some restricted views," Smith said. "Show me a baseball field where every seat's unrestricted, and I'll show you a football stadium."

Built solely for baseball, Target Field has small pockets of seats near the right-field foul pole that don't have full views of the outfield because they are pressed against an angular wall. From other outfield seats, fans won't be able to see parts of the warning track.

A page on the Twins website (www.twinsbaseball.com) explains which seats have restricted views of the field or the giant video board. The team will continue reminding fans, as tickets go on sale Tuesday for the team's April 2-3 exhibition games against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Twins already have sold more than 20,000 season tickets, with Target Field's new official seating capacity listed at 39,504. Regular season single-game seats go on sale March 13.

"We're not going to sell a ticket without someone knowing exactly what they're getting," Smith said. "We hope everyone does their due diligence in some of these areas so they aren't disappointed. And with everything there will be to see at Target Field, they won't be."

The Mets and Yankees both drew negative publicity last year when their respective ballparks opened with pockets of obstructed-view seats.

"Every new park deals with this; it's nothing new," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "We think we've taken great strides to ensure that the seating here is going to be as good as any in baseball."

St. Peter said the team has adjusted the height of railings and message boards to enhance sight lines. Most seats will have unimpeded views of the field. Fans used to watching games in the football-oriented Metrodome will notice seats angled specifically for baseball.

Here are the notable obstructions:

• In Section 101, near the right-field foul pole, fans in lower-numbered seats (1 and 2, etc.) from rows 25 through 40 have a wall blocking parts of their outfield view. Those seats cost $32 for most games, $37 for premium games.

• In Section 139 (right field bleachers), some seats have a limited view of the outfield because an adjacent section is raised slightly, behind a railing.

"We think those seats have been priced accordingly [at $17 for most games, $22 for premium games]," St. Peter said. "It's not a section we're selling season tickets in. It would be real easy to not have seats there, and then we wouldn't have any obstructed views. But we decided to put bleachers there because we thought it was a pretty fun little spot."

• Several other outfield seats (priced from $18 to $24) have blind spots to at least part of the warning track. A fan sitting there might see 95 percent of the field but miss plays to the other 5 percent.

"We had a choice to make," St. Peter said. "We could have pushed the seats back, like at the Metrodome, and put people 50 yards away from the field. Or we had the chance to put them right on top of the field, and we thought that choice was pretty easy.

"The most popular upper-deck outfield seats at the Metrodome were in right field, in front of the curtain. Those people couldn't see plays on the wall, but they were closer to the action."

• Like in many other ballparks, Target Field will have seats pressed next to the foul lines, bringing several fans closer but making it harder for others to see plays in the corners.

St. Peter said fans who don't like this "probably wouldn't like watching games at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field."

"Frankly," he said, "the more charming the ballpark, the more times you deal with obstructed views."

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