Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I’m Still a Kid at the Ballpark

The Twins officially opened Target Field yesterday and it took my breath away!
by Charlie Leck

I’ll tell you the truth so I won’t be able to change the story in 7 or 8 years and claim I was at the opening game at Target Field, to watch the Twins beat the Boston Red Sox. I was not at the opening game. It’s okay with me. My wife wanted me to go downtown and do business with a scalper and pay whatever it took to get me in. She knew just how excited I was about the opening of this new ballpark.

I read little quotations in the paper this morning that came from fans who were at the opening game. A good many of them said they had tears in their eyes. So many explained how proud they were that we now had a ballpark we could call our own.

Count me one of the sentimental slobs, but I felt the same emotions as I watched the opening pitches of the game on television yesterday. I had tears in my eyes.

I had a great visit to the stadium over a week ago. I told you in this blog that I have never seen, nor did I ever believe I would see, a ballpark as beautiful as Target Field.

The political fight to get this ballpark built was a difficult one. More than one politician’s career came to an end because he/she supported building this place. I wonder now if we could even find any of the voters who stood so staunchly opposed to building this little piece of heaven. It’s revitalizing a big corner of downtown and it will bring thousands and thousands of visitors (spenders) into Minneapolis – people who would not have otherwise come here.

I’ve got tickets for about a dozen games this year – a couple of them in May when the hated White Sox are in town. I can’t wait. People from other baseball towns can’t possibly understand the strong emotions we have up here about our new ballpark. They don’t understand us when we scream in joy that our team will be playing ball under the open sky and on real grass.

Naturally, it was a sold-out game yesterday and, probably, all 81 of the home games this year will be sold out. You could have interviewed any of the Twins fans at yesterday’s game and you would have gotten the same, positive and glowing reaction. This is a great ballpark. This is a great place to gather with other fans to “root, root, root for the home team – and if they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.”

I wish my old man was around so I could tell him about every square inch of this glorious ballpark. He took me to my first ball game at the incredible Polo Grounds in New York City. I’ll never forget how the sight of the green, green grass took my breath away. It’s 60 years later, Pop, but the same thing happened when I walked into Target Field.

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