With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game now in the books (another American League victory!!!!), I wanted to take a moment to address the possibility of Minnesota hosting the Midsummer Classic while also sharing some thoughts on this year?s All-Star Game venue ? Pittsburgh?s PNC Park.
Much has been written and said in recent weeks about the prospect of the MLB awarding Minnesota a future All-Star Game. While no formal discussions have taken place on the subject, the approval of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark should give Upper Midwest baseball fans cause for optimism. The Twins have hosted the game twice ? at Metropolitan Stadium in 1965 and at the HHH Metrodome in 1985.
As the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark plan moved through the legislative process, the team did commence informal dialogue with MLB about the feasibility of securing a future game for Minnesota. While no commitments have been made, the Twins received every indication that Minnesota is well positioned to bring the All-Star Game back to our community. To that end, it?s our intention to begin formal discussions with MLB in the near future with hopes of bringing the Midsummer Classic to the new Hennepin County ballpark sometime following the 2010 season. Stay tuned for further updates on this exciting opportunity for Minnesota baseball fans.
Speaking of the All-Star Game, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the host venue for this year?s contest ? PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA. First and foremost, I thought the Pirates organization and City of Pittsburgh did a fantastic job in hosting the All-Star Week festivities. That task is made easier when you have a wonderful facility such as PNC Park. Opened in the spring of 2001, PNC Park is the most intimate of all the new ballparks in America with total seating capacity of roughly 37,000. The sightlines within PNC Park are outstanding, as are the views of the Pittsburgh skyline. I couldn?t help but think how PNC?s orientation to downtown Pittsburgh is similar to the opportunity we have with our site in relation to downtown Minneapolis. The major difference is the Allegheny River sits between PNC Park and downtown Pittsburgh, while Interstate 394 stands between the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark site and downtown Minneapolis.
Beyond the sightlines and downtown views, other signature elements of PNC Park include:
- Kasota stone is the featured material on the building?s exterior (along with exposed deep navy blue steel), giving the ballpark a truly Pittsburgh feel.
- The Roberto Clemente Bridge spans the Allegheny River and is highly visible in virtually all seating areas. This bridge serves as inspiration to Minnesota ballpark designers as we consider options surrounding the construction of a pedestrian bridge aimed at connecting downtown Minneapolis to the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark site.
- Pittsburgh?s very-own Primanti Brothers Sandwiches are the signature food item at PNC Park. These are so good, we may have to find a way to bring Primanti Brothers to Minnesota.
All in all, PNC Park is among the best of America?s new ballparks. We can learn a lot about what they did right in Pittsburgh.
Next week, our ballpark tour continues with visits to Citizen?s Bank Park in Philadelphia and Jacob?s Field in Cleveland.
Thanks again for your support.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins