Spending the day in Minneapolis…

I didn’t have to be at Target Field until 7pm so I had plenty of time to waste here in Minneapolis.  My problem is that I have never heard anyone say, “I really want to go to Minneapolis”!  That said, finding something to do is going to be a challenge.  I decided to just kick it at the hotel until I had to check out and then head to the Mall of America.  I have been to the Mall of America twice before and to me, well, it’s just a friggin’ large mall.  I don’t like shopping and I am not into the amusement park stuff, but I figured it would be a good way to kill some time.

Located at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN

I got to the MOA, parked and headed in to find a sea of teenage girls!  After walking around a bit, what I found out was that Zak Efron was going to be there in a n hour to do a signing and talk about his latest movie.  I decided to take my obligatory pictures of the old Metropolitan Stadium home plate and chair and get out of there.  Total time wasted about 20 minutes!

I figured that I might as well go ahead and get lunch at the 5*8 Club now, since I wasn’t that far from it, before I headed into downtown.  The 5*8 Club has been around since 1928.  At one time it was a Speak Easy.  Now it’s famous for its Juicy Lucy.  Just the same with Matt’s up the road, I had to try it.  As I walked in I noticed a difference right away and that is that the 5*8 is more upscale as compared to Matt’s.  It is also so much bigger than Matt’s.   Even though it was just after 1pm, I was able to get a seat at the bar right away, so I took my spot, ordered up my Lucy (identical to the one I had at Matt’s) with rings and slaw.  The beer choice wasn’t the greatest, like at Matt’s, so I opted for the Summit Pale Ale again.  When my burger came the first thing that hit me was that it was cooked more than the one from Matt’s.  As I took a bite, I nibbled to try and not have the cheese squirt out at me, like it did at Matt’s, but there was no need as this one wasn’t really juicy.  I had to squeeze, rather hard, to get the cheese to come to the surface.  The cheese was much more stiff and just didn’t have the flavor of the burger at Matt’s Bar.  There was an obvious winner here, sorry 5*8, Matt’s Bar has the far better Juicy Lucy!

After lunch I headed over to the Walker Arts Center.  This would be my third time there and of all the things to do in Minneapolis, I love this place.  They have several different art installations in a park that you can walk around.  In 2006 when I was in town my wife told me I had to go see the giant spoon and cherry.  I looked it up and found that it was at the Walker Arts Center.  I went, took a couple pix, and left.  In 2008 when we were both in town together, we did the same thing.  This time I decided to walk around and see more of the center and I was very glad I did.  While I wouldn’t call “Art” some of the things other people do, I had a good time strolling around looking at things.  When I was almost done I got a call from my wife and I told her how I still had a couple hours to kill and she suggested I head over to Psycho Suzie’s Motor Lounge & Tiki Garden and check it out. So after I finished getting some “culture” I headed across town for a cold beer.

Walker Arts Center

We originally saw Psycho Suzie’s on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives”.  I have over the past few years tried to get to some of these places we have seen when I am in these towns and I can check another off my list.  When I got to Suzie’s I was excited to see that they have Bell’s 2-Hearted Ale on tap.  I have heard so much about it that I was glad to finally get to try it.  It did not disappoint!  The atmosphere was different than any place I have been in a while.  It had a real party feel to it.  I wish I could have been there when there was a lot more people there, but you take what you get.  After a couple beers I ordered up some of their “Barracuda Buffalo Wings”.  The bartender told me right away how good they were and how his mouth was watering just thinking about them.  He then told me that they were “dry”, that they don’t come out smothered in sauce – STRIKE 1!  When my ordered arrived I saw that the sauce was on the side, for dipping.  It was a tequila buffalo sauce and it was awesome!  The wings themselves were breaded and deep fried to the point of almost too much, yet not.  They were so crispy and simply amazing!  I have to say that of all the wings that I have ever had, and there have been way too many to count, these were the 2nd best, right behind the Anchor Bar in Buffalo.

After paying for my wings and $2 pints of 2-Hearted Ale, I headed out to Target Field.  Just the same as the day before I parked at the Midtown/Lake Street park & ride and rode the train in.  I got to the park before the gates opened and got in line.  My plan for today was to just get to my seat (section 139, row 5, seat 1 in the right field bleachers) and just enjoy the game from there.  Yesterday I walked around and took in as much as I could but today, I just wanted to grab my seat and enjoy the game, ballpark and crowd from my seat.  So this is what I did and since I got there early enough for batting practice, I brought my glove.  Sadly, there wasn’t a single ball hit into my section.  1 hit 1 section over and that was as close as one came.

Target Field - Minneapolis, MN

As for the game (Laffey vs Baker) it was a blow out.  The Indians pounded out 20 hits and beat the Twins 10-4.  The crowd was taken out of the game early and it was quite painful to watch really.  The biggest thing about this game, with the 32 combined hits, is that the game was moving along quite slowly.  I needed a fast game or at the very least, it needed to be under 3 hours in length so I could ride the train to my car and get to Milwaukee in time for my 6 am flight to Baltimore.  It was almost 10pm as the Twins came up to bat in the bottom of the 6th inning and I decided I had to get going or I would be late.  So I got up from my seat as Jim Thome came up and was going to walk towards the gate.  I had just got to the plaza on the main concourse when I heard the crack of the bat and the crowd going crazy.  At that point I looked up and I could see the ball coming right at me!  I drifted a little bit, along with a group of about 15 people, and when the ball came down I was about 8 inches from getting it!  It was so close, I really thought I was going to get it!  I could see the stitches on the ball as it bounced around and then the ball just disappeared!  Nobody knew where it was.  People were scrambling around looking for it.  They were looking under the beer mans cart, by the stairs, in a storage area… nobody knew where the ball went!  Finally someone said they thought the beer man had the ball and he said he didn’t.  Nobody knew where it was as 3 security guys walked up and said to the beer guy, “If you have the ball, you MUST give it up now.  Jim Thome wants it!”  After repeating himself, the beer man reached into his ice chest, past a few bottles of beer, grabbed the ball and handed it to the security guy who tucked it under his jacket and took off with it.  Come to find out that it was Thome’s 575th HR, I guess that’s why he wanted the ball.

As I was flying high on adrenaline from almost getting that ball, I exited the park, got on the first train (much easier than last yesterday) and headed for my car.  The train ride was about 15 minutes or so and easy breezy.  I made it to my car, loaded up, punched in MKE to the GPS and hit the road.  About 20 minutes after I got on the interstate I was sitting still, stuck in construction traffic.  It took almost 30 minutes before I was able to break free from the construction and put the hammer down.  This was the drive I was really worried about.  After running all day long a 5+ hour drive over night into morning isn’t really that smart.  However, I ended up having no problems at all.  As a matter of fact the first drive 2 days ago to Minneapolis from Milwaukee was much harder than this one.  I guess it was from the excitement of almost getting that ball. Whatever it was, I was doing great.  I made my 1 stop at the Black River Falls Oasis for gas and got back on the road and made it to MKE by 4:30am.  My scary drive was over and it was time to get on my flight headed to Baltimore…

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