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Max Hoffman, 7, takes in the Twins' home opener from behind right field Monday in the new Target Field in Minneapolis. Max, a Minneapolis native, was at the game with his mother, Valerie Hoffman, a native of Cando, N.D. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

New stadium is right on Target with area fans

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MINNEAPOLIS - 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.

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An architecture student at North Dakota State University 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 the Boston Red Sox.

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 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 would give it an A-plus. "The lead architects did

a brilliant job."

On Monday, one of the first songs was "Let the Sunshine In" by the late 1960s and early '70s rock group The Fifth Dimension. Outside, Concordia Director of Marketing and Communications Roger Degerman got a nice treat at Gate 29.

Former Twins great Rod Carew, whose number adorns the entrance, opened the door at 11:30 a.m. and took Degerman and his son, Preston, through the turnstile.

"What a great start to the day," Roger 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."

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 years old.

"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.

Seemingly, either could the 38,145 fans at Target Field. There was a festive atmosphere all around downtown Minneapolis all day.

"The atmosphere is great," said Steve Diederick of Wahpeton, N.D., who brought his father Harold, a member of the North Dakota State Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame. "There does not appear to be a bad seat in here. Everybody is close to the field."

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