1/26/2014 4:15 P.M. ET
First TwinsFest at Target Field a success
Fans got to enjoy new experiences at annual event's new home
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The first TwinsFest held at Target Field came to a close on Sunday, and Twins president Dave St. Peter said he was pleased with the three-day event, which was created in 1989 and used to be held at the Metrodome.
St. Peter estimated that 13,000 fans showed up at Target Field for TwinsFest, which also raised roughly $200,000 for the Twins Community Fund. More than 75 current, former and future Twins players were in attendance over the three days.
"I think the feedback we've gotten has been very positive," St. Peter said. "I think the thing we maybe underestimated was how much our fans would enjoy accessing the different clubs within in the ballpark -- whether it be the Champions Club, the Legends Club, the clubhouse or the Metropolitan Club. These are areas some fans have never been able to be in, so that's been a positive -- and so has the increased player interactives. So I think it's been reinvented."
St. Peter added that he expects the event will return to Target Field next year, based on the feedback he received from the fans, players and staff members. But the Twins will still meet to determine if Target Field is the best option to hold TwinsFest moving forward, now that the Metrodome is in the process of being torn down.
The drawback is the size of the venue, as the Twins had to cap ticket sales because they didn't want the ballpark to be too congested -- especially in the hallways of the service level, where the collectors held their trade show and Twins players were brought from the visiting clubhouse to the various signings, photo opportunities and fan interactives on the club and suite levels.
"In a big day at the Metrodome, we could have 13,000 fans in one day. But that wouldn't be conducive to a good experience here, so I think that's the biggest drawback," St. Peter said. "I think we're going to be at about 13,000 in the door, which was a little bit down from what we thought we might have -- but I don't think the weather helped. But I think, all in all, it's been a positive. This is an event you can sell too many tickets for, because it can lead to congestion -- which isn't conducive to a good experience."
The Twins used the ballpark to their advantage, however, as they opened up areas such as the clubhouse and even the team archives to fans as part of a "White Glove" tour hosted by team curator Clyde Doepner. St. Peter said the tour was so popular the club is considering offering it during the regular season, as well.
The club also added more than 100 player interactive opportunities throughout the three-day event. Activities with players included Pop-A-Shot, baseball-themed Basebowling, Down on the Farm Bean Bag Toss, Home Run Derby on Playstation's "MLB 13: The Show" video game, T-Mobile Call-A-Friend, Reading With TC, interactive bingo, Twins Fan Feud and player question-and-answer sessions.
"I think the player interactives were really cool, and [they are] something we'd never done at TwinsFest," St. Peter said. "So from things like playing [Fan] Feud to Joe Mauer playing bowling games with kids, those were really positive additions to the event."
But, perhaps, the biggest draw was the opportunity for fans to meet the club's top prospects. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer drew some of the longest autograph lines of the weekend.
"The biggest hit with the fans was Sano, Buxton, Meyer and those guys," St. Peter said. "I think that's the story of TwinsFest, which in some ways has always been a story for TwinsFest. I remember the first time Torii Hunter came to TwinsFest, and the same with Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer."
Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, said he enjoyed the attention from the fans, who are excited for the next crop of top Twins prospects to reach the Majors.
"I had some fun talking to the fans," said Buxton, who drew lines of more than 500 people for autographs. "They're really excited -- and I am, too. I'm going to keep working hard to be able to get up here."