Accessible Gameday: Minnesota Twins Baseball

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ACCESSIBLE GAMEDAY: MINNESOTA TWINS BASEBALL

This article is part of the wheelchair travel blog series, Accessible Gameday. In this series, I’ll share my experiences with wheelchair accessibility at ballparks and sports stadiums around the country.

The Minnesota Twins baseball team was founded in 1901 as the Washington Senators, but moved to Minneapolis and took on the Twins name in 1961. The team won its first World Series in 1924 as the Senators, and in 1987 and 1991 as the Twins. The team has played ball at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis since 2010.

I recently visited Target Field for the first time. In this article, I will describe what attending a Twins game is like for people with disabilities and wheelchair users. How do the Twins stack up against other MLB teams on the metric of accessibility?

Minnesota Twins Tickets & ADA Seating

The Twins offer ADA seating throughout the ballpark and at various price points. The exception is the 300-level, which is accessible only by stairs. To ensure price equity for fans with disabilities, wheelchair spaces on the 200-level are sold at a reduced price to match the price of tickets on the level above.

Minnesota Twins online ticketing system.

Minnesota Twins online ticketing system.

Single-game tickets can be purchased online at www.minnesotatwins.com. Check the box that says “Yes, show me accessible seating” to view a seat map that displays only ADA accessible seats.

Minnesota Twins/Target Field view from section 115.

Minnesota Twins/Target Field view from section 115.

Although the Twins have a ballpark that is less than 10 years old, they haven’t provided wheelchair accessible seats with an equivalent view. I purchased a ticket as close behind home plate as possible (I’m a fan of pitching), but that seat was more than 30 rows behind home plate, with an obstructed view. When a fly ball or home run was hit, I lost sight of it due to the overhang of the section above.

I’m a baseball fan and, wheelchair or not, I should be able to sit in row 1, seat 1 if I want to spend the money. In a stadium built in 2010, the fact that a wheelchair user can’t see the scoreboard from the “best seat” in the house is unacceptable.

If you don’t care about sitting behind home plate, there are plenty of seats with unobstructed views around the ballpark. In nearly every case, the accessible seats are located in the last row of each section. They are generally elevated, so you won’t be impacted by fans standing up to cheer in front of you.

Cup holders are attached to the railing in front of the accessible seats and folding chairs with padding are provided for companions. At least one power outlet box is located in every row of accessible seating.

Target Field Wheelchair Accessibility

Opened in 2010, Target Field is one of the newest stadiums in major league baseball. Only the Miami Marlins (Marlins Park, 2012) and Atlanta Braves (SunTrust Park, 2017) have newer ballparks. Built long after the ADA became law, one would expect Target Field to be one of the most accessible in the country. Instead, it’s very much a middling stadium in terms of accessibility.

If you haven’t purchased a ticket online, you can roll up to one of the accessible ticket windows outside stadium gate 14. Here you’ll also find a statue of Kent Hrbek, the Twins’ first baseman on the World Series championship teams of 1987 and 1991.

ADA Bathrooms

All of the stadium’s bathroom facilities include an ADA accessible toilet stall with grab bars. For those needing more privacy, family restrooms are also available.

Family restrooms are located near sections 111, 123, 132, 134, 208, 214, 220, 238, and in a number of other areas throughout the park. Be aware that the family restrooms are often difficult to spot, like the one pictured above — wedged between a Dippin’ Dots ice cream stand and shelves of cotton candy.

Elevators & Ramps

There are 12 elevators at Target Field, located at gates 3 and 6, and near sections 103, 112, 125 and 133. There are also ramps leading to the upper levels, which can be found one the first and third base sides of the stadium.

Concession Stands

The Minnesota Twins offer a wide variety of food and drink. The concession stands, bars and restaurants are accessible, and staff are happy to provide any assistance necessary.

For a complete list of restaurants and concessionaires at Target Field, click here. You’ll find a lot of delicious options, including the Boomstick, Soul Bowl, Philly cheese-steak, pita chips with hummus and more. As for me, I went with the usual — a jumbo hot dog and a beer.

When I went to load up my hot dog with mustard, I was delighted to see condiments accessible via a lowered shelf. This is especially helpful for wheelchair users who may struggle to reach up to the condiments cart.

Location & Accessible Transportation

Target Field is conveniently located in downtown Minneapolis, with easy access to public transport. Multiple city bus routes and commuter rail lines connect to multi-modal Target Field Station. Even more convenient is the city’s light rail, which stops right in front of the ballpark and connects to the airport and the Mall of America.

The team also connects fans to parking, which can be reserved in advance by clicking here. Accessible parking spots are available in the A and B ramps, which are connected to Target Plaza and Target Field.

Final Thoughts

Target Field is a beautiful ballpark, and a great place to enjoy a night out with family or friends. Accessibility is above average in most respects, with one exception — seating for fans with disabilities is not equivalent. The team must develop a plan that will offer the same range of seating choices to fans of all abilities, including fans who want to sit right behind home plate in their own wheelchair.

Two positives that really stand out about Target Field: the great food selection and close access to public transport. These two things make attending a Minnesota Twins game a very attractive opportunity when visiting Minneapolis.

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