Father and son enjoy opening day outdoorsKen Sandvik made a list Tuesday. Niagara Falls. Central Park. Washington Monument. The cathedral at St. John’s in central Minnesota and even the Farmer’s National Bank in Owatonna. All national treasures.
Ken Sandvik made a list Tuesday. Niagara Falls. Central Park. Washington Monument. The cathedral at St. John’s in central Minnesota and even the Farmer’s National Bank in Owatonna. All national treasures.
He was adding one more to the list this week: Target Field in Minneapolis.
“It’s one of those places any good Minnesotan should see,” he said this week after visiting the park on opening day Monday.
The Two Harbors resident and Lake County district judge went to the game on his son’s dime, or so the story goes. Tim, a 2001 graduate of Two Harbors High School, said it would be uncouth to say he won tickets in a poker game. It was actually a charity event, Ken said, so it’s OK.
Father and son got to swap baseball tales high up in the third deck on the first base line watching the Minnesota Twins defeat the Boston Red Sox. For Ken, those memories include both indoor and outdoor baseball at the Metrodome and Metropolitan Stadium, the Twins’ original ballpark. “I told my old stories,” Ken said. They were the ones about being at the Met when Harmon “Killer” Killebrew and Bobby Allison hit grand slams in the same inning. Seeing manager Billy Martin tossed from a game before it even started.
There are dome memories as well, like seeing Frank Viola square off against Bert Blyleven in the late 1980s and taking in games with his children there. Ken said he never much minded the Metrodome. He echoes the thoughts of many people at the park Monday who travelled far to take in the first outdoor regular season Major League game in 28 years.
Sandvik remembers both frigid and sultry days walking to the dome, thankful for the controlled conditions inside, especially after the effort in getting to Minneapolis for a game. “It’s 36 degrees out in April and you wonder why they’d get rid of this thing.”
“It’s not that I miss it,” he said.
He said he holds little sentimentality for either the Metrodome or the Met. That might change with Target Field.
“I was struck by all the pageantry,” he said of the swirl of festivities marking the rebirth of outdoor baseball in Minnesota. It was a unique experience to take a bus to the game from his son’s home in Minneapolis, meet another son for lunch at the new Hubert’s in Target Center, and then enter the Twins Plaza just outside the gates. “Very moving,” he said of the statues there of Killebrew and Kirby Puckett.
He said Target Field was amazing from “top to bottom,” much like the visit he made last fall to the new TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. Father and son walked the concourse at Target Field like “all the gawkers” Monday. Jaws dropped, elbow to your companion, so much “Hey, look at that.”
The Twins made great strides to include the breadth of club history from 1961 to the present high water mark of opening the new park. Sandvik thought of his own trips to the park with his father in the 1960s. “Down and back in one day,” he said, which amazed people along the North Shore. It was quite the five or six-hour trip down the two-lane Highway 61 then, no speedway like today in Interstate 35. “It was a long ride.”
The warmth of Target Field inspired those tales of days gone by and made the day special with his son. “We shared a lot of the stories.”
The new ones will be about that time at a new Twins field, opening day, Jason Kubel’s homerun, Mauer going 3-for5, the overturned homerun call. And, for the first time, this father and son taking in the national pastime under sun and sky, a slight breeze blowing in.