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Eric Peterson, Published June 20 2009

Twins faithful get Target Field preview in Moorhead

Bob Jansen had his first Target Field experience on Friday at Moorhead’s Hjemkomst Center, trying out the green seats that are being installed in the new Minnesota Twins baseball stadium.

“I just checked out the seats for fit and it’s a perfect fit,” said Jansen, 60, from Fargo. “I like the old-fashioned look of the seats. They are more comfortable than they look.”

A set of two prototype seats was one of the attractions available for fans as the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) board met Friday in Moorhead.

“I was most interested in the virtual tour that I’d read about that they were going to have,” said Darrel Lund, 58, from West Fargo. “The seats, I was kind of curious to see if they had any unique design to them.”

A model of the stadium scoreboard caught the eye of Alex Baker, 10, from Sabin, Minn.

Baker stood and watched the video presentation that was being shown on the scoreboard model.

“Since I heard about the Target Field, I’ve always wanted to go to it,” said Baker, whose favorite Twins player is Joe Mauer. “I think it’s going to be really, really nice. I like how it’s going to look.”

Moorhead was the second of three MBA board meetings being held outside of Minneapolis. The board met in Rochester on March 20 and is set to meet in Duluth on July 17.

About 30 were in attendance at any given time at the Hjemkomst Center.

Jansen and Lund said they have both been Twins fans since the team moved to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., in 1961.

The Twins will start play in Target Field in April 2010 after 18 years in the Metrodome.

“I’ll probably go more now,” Jansen said. “The Metrodome is uncomfortable. Although in bad weather, it’s more comfortable.”

Not having a retractable roof on Target Field was one of Lund’s concerns.

“I really would have preferred a retractable roof so that you would have the best of both worlds,” Lund said. “You would have outdoor baseball and be sure that there would be a game when you drove to the cities.

The current stadium price tag is $545 million, said MBA Vice Chair Michael Vekich, who doesn’t anticipate the cost to stay in that range.

The public is locked into paying $350 million – 260 for construction and 90 for infrastructure – and that won’t change.

“The public side will never go up,” Vekich said.

If the price tag increases, the Twins are responsible.

The Twins are on the hook for $185 million right now. The final $10 million is coming from Target, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Northstar Project and the MBA.

Stadium construction was slated to be finished by next March, but MBA Executive Director Dan Kenney said the project will likely near completion around the New Year. The sod for the field is being grown in Colorado and will be installed at the end of August.

“I guess I see it as it’s more real baseball,” Jansen said. “Fresh air and sunshine, when we have it, is a precious resource.”

Kenney said the Twins would likely play a couple of exhibition games in the new park before they play their regular-season home opener next season.

“Bigger than outdoor baseball is a facility built for baseball, that will be the big thing. I had no qualms about going to the Metrodome other than it was a football stadium, they made into a baseball field.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com