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Former Bemidjian experiences 'thrill of a lifetime' at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS - Former Bemidji resident Roger Degerman and his son, Preston, experienced the thrill of a liftime Monday when they were escorted through the turnstile at Target Field by former Twins great Rod Carew, whose number adorned the entrance.

"What a great start to the day," Degerman said. "It was a story like a trip to Fantasy Island."

Degerman grew up watching games at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington. The Twins moved into the Metrodome in 1982.

"This is a night and day experience," he said. "They did a nice job of blending modern technology with old school baseball."

Section 317 at Target Field is about as high as it gets in the new Minnesota Twins baseball stadium. Ryan Sorby stood near the railing, the skyline of Minneapolis standing tall in the distance.

An architecture student at North Dakota State who applied for a position with Populous - the firm that designed the complex - his appreciation for every detail was obvious Monday afternoon.

"I think it's so cool how it connects all of downtown Minneapolis together," Sorby said.

Target Field was cool to the Twins; they christened it with a 5-2 win over Boston.

Sorby has been to a lot of major league stadiums, once going to AT&T Park in San Francisco as part of a class project. He looks at how easily people move within space, such as the Target Field concourses that seem double the size of the Metrodome hallways.

He looks at the canopy that overhangs over the upper deck and how the design is pleasing to the eye. He looks at the high-definition clarity of the fourth-largest scoreboard in the majors.

As symmetrical and bleached as the Metrodome is, Target Field is anything but.

Sorby, who will get a bachelor's degree in environmental design and plans on attending graduate school, said he would make a few minor changes, but overall: "I would give it an A-plus. The lead architects did a brilliant job."

Kevin Wolf of Fargo, who while growing up in Bowman, N.D., made a once-a-summer trek to Met Stadium, watched the game along the first base line - about the same spot he remembers watching a game at the Met when he was 11.

"You can't beat outdoor baseball," he said.

Samantha Martin of Verndale, Minn., arrived at Target Field at about 10 a.m. Like so many fans, she saw games at the Metrodome, too.

"I can't believe we paid to watch indoor baseball for so long," she said.