I made a trip to Minneapolis in late September and attended two Twins games at Target Field. Since I live near Seattle and attend several games there each year I was asked how Target Field compares to Safeco Field. Here are my observations:
Food: Safeco has the iconic Garlic Fries and Ichi Roll sushi along with the typical ballpark fare. Seafood legend Ivars brings a local presence. Target Field has a cuban sandwich shop operated by former Twin Tony Oliva (how is this man not in the Hall of Fame?) and former first baseman Kent Hrbek has a sports bar at the park. But for the regular Twins fan it’s the State Fair food (if you don’t know about the Fair read my post “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”) like cheese curds and mini donuts that makes it’s mark at Target. Advantage: Target Field.
Weather: All around Minneapolis has better weather than Seattle. But it rains a lot in Seattle. Safeco has this amazing rolling roof that guarantees that a little rain isn’t going to get in the way of baseball. Target Field has no such roof and it’s been known to snow as late as June there! Imagine finishing up a World Series in early November in Minneapolis. Advantage: Safeco.
Design: Safeco was built to look like an old stadium with exposed steel girders, old style lettering – even a hand operated score board. Target Field has a very modernistic design to it. I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking around a Target store. There are plenty of uniquely Minnesota elements at Target Field from the outdoor Hall of Fame, a neon original Twins logo in center field and plenty of stone and vegetation common to Minnesota. Advantage: Safeco
Transportation: Safeco Field is located in a warehouse section of Seattle called SODO (South Of DOwntown) while Target Field is located in the heart of the Minneapolis entertainment district right next to the Target Center. I took a bus to the game. The stop was one block away and the pick-up after the game was directly in the front of the stadium. Light rail originates on the other side of the stadium and the train stops less than a block away. Safeco is very convenient for those who drive and parking is plentiful. There is light rail and bus service about 3 blocks away but light rail is new to Seattle and has limited service. Advantage: Target Field
Fan Experience:Safeco has some great areas to roam like the Mariner’s Hall of Fame and the Bullpen Market that places you up-close-and-personal to the pitching staff of both teams. The field itself is phenomenal managed by one of the best ground crews in baseball. And Target painted the Twins logo behind home plate in all white – during the inaugural season! Really! No color? To their credit the Twins organization somehow got their hands on the original Twins ballpark flagpole. (Metropolitan Stadium was torn down 30 years ago for the Mall of America. They have installed the flag pole inside the park and every night a veteran is introduced (Army, Navy, Marines, etc) and he or she raises the flag during the national anthem. The vendors at Target are a cut above. Advantage: Target Field
Mascot: Let’s see. The Twins Bear or the Mariner’s Moose. The Bear looks like he works summers at the Valley Fair amusement park. Very uninspired. The Mariner’s Moose is one of the best sports mascots in professional sports. Advantage: Safeco
Overall, if I had to choose which stadium I would prefer to have season tickets to my heart leans toward Target Field. But my head tells me that I would face the very real possibility of rain or snow delaying or postponing a game. I like the certainty of games at Safeco, rain or shine but I would much rather watch the Twins than the Mariner’s. When it boils down to it I can’t choose. Both are great parks with their own strengths. I would recommend that you attend baseball at your nearest ballpark and if you’re ever in Seattle or Minneapolis……