MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The early bird gets much more than just the worm at Target Field.
“I like to see batting practice and that’s always fun, maybe get a ball,” said fan Greg Durand.
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He was at the entrance gate the moment they opened Tuesday evening. By arriving early, fans spend little to no time waiting in line.
But when you combine the Twins suddenly having the best record in the majors, and a holiday weekend with perfect weather, the line to enter the ballpark can grow and slow significantly
“Lines were completely out past the statues, onto the street,” said fan Shamiere Bridgeford.
She was at Saturday’s game and entered at Gate 19 near right field. Wait times over the weekend were reported around 45 minutes to an hour as first pitch approached.
“There were people that were clearly cutting,” Bridgeford said.
Matt Hoy, senior vice president of operations, knows the organization can do better.
“We’re really exploring everything we can to try to expedite the entry into the ballpark,” Hoy said.
That starts with new technology, which was being tested out at Gate 14. The metal detectors there specifically target large metal objects, such as a weapon. That means fans didn’t have to take out their phones, keys and loose change as they normally have. An usher outside was instructing those walking up to keep those items in their pockets.
“I think it’s a good idea and it worked really nice today, so I’m glad they’re pursuing that,” said fan Marcia Logeais, one of the first to enter Gate 14.
That change could happen at every gate as soon as the next home stand.
“It’s a welcomed change in the software and Major League Baseball’s approved it,” Hoy said.
He also wants to remind season tickets holders that there are entrance lanes dedicated specifically for them. There’s also dedicated lanes for people who have a bag or do not.
Besides arriving early, the idea of not bringing a bag stands out most of Hoy.
“If you think about it, 39,000 people showed up here on Saturday and Sunday. If a third of them bring bags, that’s 13,000 bags we have to search,” Hoy said.
On weekends, which often draw the larger crowds, Hoy said they might deploy more staff outside the gates to direct everyone to which entrances and lanes might be the fastest at the time.
Staff are also trying to cut down on wait times at concession stands. That means hiring more employees to ensure every food vendor is open and fully staffed. DNC Sportservice, which handles the ballpark food, is having a hiring fair June 4 at the Bat and Barrel Restaurant from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.