Cars and fans lined up outside of Target Field early Monday morning in anticipation of free bratwursts, peanuts and Opening Day.
The Twins' annual Breakfast on the Plaza fed thousands of hungry supporters driving by the stadium or hanging out in Target Plaza from 6 to 9 a.m. The menu featured brats, peanuts, chips, fruit snacks, cookies, coffee and energy drinks to help get the fans ready for baseball season.
Many of the Twins supporters that dined outside of the stadium long before the first pitch Monday are optimistic 2017 will at the least be better than last season when the club lost a franchise-record 103 games.
Joseph Sneberk arrived at 7:30 a.m. to collect his brat, chips and coffee. He was one of about 100 fans in the line at the early hour and one of the first individuals to plant his folding chair outside of Gate 34 where he would wait until the stadium opened to fans at 1 p.m.
“Hopefully they kick it off with a bang. We’ve lost the last eight straight [openers] so let's get a win for the Twins opener today. That’d be awesome,” said Sneberk, a season-ticket holder from Big Lake. “Fresh team. A little bit of new management in there. So we should do great this year, hopefully. I’m hoping we get only like 60 loses this year. We had 103 last year, so anything would be better.”
Tammy Litzenberg of Anoka waited nearby in her folding chair sharing some of the same sentiment as Sneberk. She is a bit skeptical about the Twins starting pitching, though.
"I think they’ll do a lot better than they did last year,” Litzenberg said. “It will be interesting to see how [Brian] Dozier does after his spectacular year last year.
“Pitching [concerns me]. Hopefully they’ve got their A-game, because last year the starters didn’t do well. So hopefully our starters can go a little deeper into the game and we don’t have to rely on the bullpen so much.”
Tim Othyrand has no concerns about this year’s Twins squad because last year was so bad.
"Honestly, I don’t think it could get any worse than last year,” the Twins fan from Eden Prairie said. "But it's going to be nice to see what [Byron] Buxton can do this summer and [Max] Kepler had a pretty solid season last year. And hopefully we’ll see [Jose] Berrios sometime in the rotation. So there is optimism, but I don’t know how much return there will be for this season.
"I’m still hoping Mauer will turn it around and start hitting .300 again.
“I don’t think it can get any worse than losing 103 games, so I'm sure there going to take a step forward this year."
Fawn Peterson and Katie Stang from St. Cloud are very optimistic about this year’s club and confident they’ll return to the postseason this fall.
Beth Walter from Monticello would be happy with a .500 record.