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In battle between ballparks,Target Field rises above

Denard Span takes a swing during a game against Texas earlier this summer at Target Field. Pioneer File Photo/Eric Stromgren

MILLER PARK, Milwaukee -- Depending on what the White Sox did in Oakland last night -- I didn't stay up for it -- the Twins are conceivably 81 pitches away from postseason play.

The Milwaukee Brewers are, oh, a mere 162 games or so away.

Think it might have something to do with where they play?

I can't speak for the players, but as a fan, there's no question which ballpark I like better in a battle between Target Field and Miller Park. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate both for different reasons.

"This is a fun park; it's a lot bigger than Target Field," Jason O'Malley, 36, of Minneapolis said of Miller Park, which holds just under 42,000 people before standing room. But, he said, "I like Target Field better because it's more intimate; it has a lot smaller a feel."

Both parks allow you an easy view of the beauty and majesty of the field and game from any angle.

The smaller, cozier Twins park, which comfortably seats about 40,000 before standing room, gives fans the feeling that they're on -- or at least right next to -- the playing field. The views and sightlines feel so close to the action that you'll swear Michael Cuddyer could reach out and steal your popcorn if you're not careful.

The Twins opted to go roofless, which always is a gamble when contending with Minnesota weather. But after nearly a full season in the sun, the ever-changing Minneapolis skyline easily wins over the puffy white Teflon of the club's former home.

Milwaukee has the best of both worlds. In my visit a week ago, the Brewers and Chicago Cubs went at it on a Saturday night under the security of a closed retractable roof. On Sunday, with sunny skies and a game-time temperature of 77 degrees, the team rolled its top down, giving the park a completely different look and feel from the previous day.

Though each is unique, both provide a pleasant game-viewing experience. What puts Target Field over the top for me is the Twins' dedication to preserving the memories of the organization's history. The ballpark is covered in big and small reminders of the team's 49 previous seasons at Metropolitan Stadium and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

"I've been to 10 games, and I still walk around and find something new every time I go there," Louie Krenzen, 26, of Duluth, said. "I go to every game early just to walk around and people watch. There's not a bad seat in the house."

Krenzen was in Milwaukee on that Sunday for the series finale between the Brewers and Cubs. He said he has been to Miller Park several times since it opened in 2001.

"Pre-Target Field, I thought it was one of the better fields I've been to, considering the 'Dome was 'The 'Dome,' " he said. "It was nice being outside."

Despite its versatility, Miller Park doesn't quite compare to the feeling I get watching a game at Target Field, which has to be one of the best facilities in baseball.

O'Malley agrees it's one of the best -- with the emphasis on "one of."

"I've been to a lot of different ballparks, so I was hoping that it would have elements of the newer ballparks: smaller, better design; better food, better beer. I was hoping that (the Twins) picked up a lot of those, and they did," said O'Malley, whose favorite venue is PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Target Field ranks "a close second" in his eyes, but not in mine.

That's a fan's eye view. As for the players -- check the standings.

Jimmy Bellamy is a writer for the Duluth News Tribune.?The Duluth News?Tribune and Bemidji Pioneer are both owned by Forum?Communicatons?Co.