I’m not really sure what time I got up this morning, but I do know that after last night… my head was hurting! It wasn’t too bad, but I am sure glad that I was able to just lay around a few hours, finish my left over pizza (2 small slices) from Psycho Suzi’s and watch some ESPN as I rested. I lounged around my hotel room for a while before I realized that if I was going to replace my GPS unit, I would have to get that done today before the ball game. Then I vaguely started remembering something about getting a tattoo, which make me laugh! Before long, I got up and got ready. Im just not the kind that can lay around like that when I could be out doing something. Especially when I am somewhere I may never get back to.
After checking out of the hotel and loading up my car, it hit me. Yeah, yeah… I had stayed at this place the last time I was in Minneapolis by myself, back in 2010. Im not sure if it had the same name, but based on the parking lot and the entrance, now that I could see it better during the day, I know I stayed here back then. Either way, I hit the road, first stop was lunch at a place I have been waiting to get back to since I was there in 2010: Matt’s Bar. Matt’s is the home of the Juicy Lucy. I had never heard of it until I saw it on the Travel Channel show called “Food Wars” a couple years ago. It’s a show where they take the best, similar items, in a single town and have them compete to see which is the best based on a panel of 3 judges. Matt’s went up against another bar in town, “The 5*8 Club”, and Matt’s won. By pure chance last time (I just happened to be at a park & ride lot that was closer) I went to Matt’s first. After standing in line waiting for a bout 30+ minutes (I didn’t have to, but after working in restaurants for years, I didn’t want to take a single seat at a 4 top table or bigger, so I waited for a spot at the counter… which took a while. Along the way the waitress, yes THE waitress as she was working alone out front, bought me 2 beers and even offered me a job when she realized that I was paying more attention to what was going on in her place than she was… again, years in the restaurant business) I finally got a seat at the end of the counter and the guy working there, who looked familiar to me, took my order. What I ended up getting was the best hamburger I had ever ate before! What is it? Its two patties of seasoned beef that is stuffed with cheese. OMG! It might not sound like much, but holy cow! When I was done, I went to pay and the guy that looked familiar to me told me, “No charge. It’s on us. Thank you for doing what you did earlier, nobody would have done that, so thanks for keeping the flow of business going, we appreciate it.” Wow, really? I had a burger, small fry (which is still big) and 5 beers. Needless to say, I left the waitress a really nice tip! So this time through, I got a seat at the end of the counter again, and ordered the same thing. Oh yeah, just as good as last time. A burger, filled with molten lava cheese. Oh sooo good! If I would have had the room, I would have ate 2 or more. Funny thing is that after the last time I was here, I went home and tried to make my own… not even close! Crazy how that is, but dang they are good! Btw, that guy looked familiar, because he was the owner!
After lunch I headed for St. Louis Park and the nearest Costco to get my GPS. After doing some shopping, I topped the tank off and then, well, I headed for Creative Images. Figured, I might as well go check out this tattoo thing and see what it was all about. As I walked in, I thought to myself, “Are you sure?” The last couple years I have tried to live my life by reminding myself “You only get 1 go ’round” and to “Experience Live!” There are things I have always wanted to do or an curious about that I feel I should just do. With this tattoo, or any that I would get, I would’nt be the kind where it would be seen easily. It would be for me. This one I wanted was the Boston “B” and I wanted it on my right arm, up by the shoulder. After talking to the artist, Jak (from last night), who didn’t think I was going to show up (to quote Brad Paisley, “Me Neither!”), I sat down and she started to work. After she got the stencil on, she started telling me what to expect and when she asked if I was ready I replied, “As ready as I will ever be”. She let me know that the outline will be the worst, but really shouldn’t hurt either. Once she started, I was quite surprised at how little it hurt. As a matter of fact, it did NOT hurt at all. It was more of an annoyance than a pain really. Truth be told, when she was filling in the red color of the “B”, I almost fell asleep on her. Much like her, I wish my wife Yvonne could have been here to see it though (next time). I did take several pictures along the way to show her as it was going on. I know people are going to wonder why I went with the “B” instead of the Oklahoma Sooner’s “OU”, but my theory is simple. It’s freakin’ baseball season people! Plus, at Target Field tonight I am seeing the Minnesota Twins play the Boston Red Sox, my team! Makes perfect sense to me, ya know?
After I got my tat, I headed back into town with about 90 minutes to kill before I wanted to be at the ballpark. I drove around trying to decide what to do, but I eventually ended up at the 5*8 Club for a couple cold ones. Didn’t hurt that I knew I was going to want to eat, eventually, before going to the game tonight as well and might as well give their Jucy Lucy (yes, that is spelled right) another try. Gotta say that, much like in 2010, there was an easy and obvious winner in this food war: Matt’s Bar! The 5*8’s Lucy, just really isn’t Juicy (or Jucy, either way). While at the 5*8 you can get all sorts of different kind of cheeses in your Lucy, I went with good ole American cheese, just like at Matt’s, and again, Matt’s was the winner. It wasn’t even close. I can say this about the 5*8, all their burgers come with a really good cole slaw and the beer, while a terrible selection, was good and cold.
After leaving the 5*8, I headed to the Lake Street park & ride lot. This is my biggest suggestion for anyone going to a game at Target Field: park at a park & ride lot on the Hiawatha train line, most of them for free, and ride the train in. You can even park as far south as the Mall of America in Bloomington, and ride in from there. My round trip ticket was only $6. For that $6 I was able to park for free, let someone else do the driving into downtown and it was my ride out of the downtown area after the game was over. I didn’t have to deal with traffic because I beat most of it out that far to where I was parked. From there it’s a quick jump onto the highway and away I go.
After my train ride in, I got to Target Field just after the opened the gates. Not having a ticket yet, I hit the nearest box office, grabbed me an $18 bleacher seat and headed in. As I walked in I was delighted to see that it was Minnesota Twins Umbrella Night as I was handed a cool little red/white/blue umbrella. It fit nicely in my backpack and I had a feeling it would come in handy a time or two before the end of the trip. After packing my umbrella away I headed towards my seat to watch the Red Sox taking BP and like a little kid, I had my glove and hopes of catching one… NOPE! Oh well, still always fun to watch BP before the game. After BP I kept walking around checking out Target Field. It honestly felt weird being back here as I was here for 2 games back in July 2010. At that point, seeing a game at Target Field put me back in the “All 30 Club” once again. Now, its just over all park #42 for me as they opened a new one in Miami this year, which will later become #30 and put me back in the “All 30 Club”.
There are things I like about Target Field and things that make me wonder, “What in the hell were they thinking?” The tan stone they use is kinda cool, different for sure. I thought it was a bit odd to begin with, but it’s kinda cool. As a sponsor, Best Buy, has a charging station set up where you can charge your cell phones. They have all sorts of different plugs and it is free to do. I don’t understand why they don’t have that at other ballparks as it really saved my bacon here back in 2010! I like the beers of Minnesota booth, very cool to plug the local microbrews. I also like the booths where you can get state fair foods, like foods on a stick. That’s pretty cool. I don’t like how high the made the wall on the main concourse in the outfield. Its too hard to look over, though I see they have added a step there this time that wasn’t there my last visit. Still seems strange to me. I love the plaza area beyond the seats in right field. A cool place to grab a beer, hang out and watch the game. Over all I have enjoyed my games at Target Field and would suggest to anyone to go check it out themselves. The fans are pretty fun to be around as well, even with me wearing opposing team (Red Sox) gear.
The game itself was pretty good. The Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead after 2 but gave it up in the 4th when the Twins scored 4, including a 2 runner by Valencia. The Twins added another run in the 5th. In the 7th inning, as I was enjoying my Surly IPA (that can only be found on tap at Target Field), walking down the 3rd baseline, Cody Ross jacks a 2 runner to knot the score at 5 all. That’s where it sat until the 9th inning when, with Matt Capps on the mound, the hero of the night, Cody Ross, once again goes yard. This time he put the Sox ahead for good as Boston went on to win 6-5. What a great finish to the game. Always a lot of fun seeing your team win on the road.
Wish I could have stayed for a little longer, but as soon as it was over, I was out the door and on to the train for my ride back to my car. To say I had a long drive ahead of me was, well, being nice. I was about to drive 667+ miles overnight. I was gonna drive from Minneapolis to Westland, MI to a friends house, where I would stay Tuesday night and go to the Tigers vs Mariners game with her and her family that night. My drive would take me through a part of Minnesota, all of Wisconsin, some of Illinois, Indiana and dang near all of Michigan. I knew I was gonna need to summons all I had to make this drive… plus rely on some Coke & 5 hour energy shots from Costco!
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Here is a link to my pictures from Target Field .