So I will do my best to come up with some not-completely-ridiculous answers for once.
Q: What does Twinsfest cost?
A: The cost of admission depends on when you buy your tickets, and how many days you plan to attend. Twinsfest is 3 days long. Each day requires a separate ticket, per person. If you get free tickets to the event as a season ticket holder, you're set. If not, tickets cost $8 for adults and $4 for kids 14 and under if you order them before next Thursday at 5pm. You can buy tickets at the Metrodome ticket windows the day of, but the price is a couple bucks higher.
Once you're inside Twinsfest, everything is kind of ala carte, cost-wise. It's entirely possible to have a perfectly fun experience without spending any extra money at all. The "Down on the Farm" autograph line doesn't cost anything, and always has top-notch prospects from the organization. You can also get your picture taken with players for free. There are great radio interviews conducted live that you can watch from the stands. There are tons of fun activities for kids to participate in too.
If you're more interested in autographs, you have to be prepared to pony up some cash. Assuming the prices haven't changed this year, autograph lines cost between $5 and $25 generally. Some of the Legends and HOF autograph opportunities may cost more depending on the type of item you want autographed--bats and jerseys cost more--and if you want your autograph authenticated on the spot.
Many of the autograph lines include multiple players at one time, and the fee covers all of them, (i.e. if there are 3 players in a $10 line, you pay $10 total, not $10 per player).
[And as long as I'm talking about the price of autographs, on several occasions I have overheard people grumbling about the players being greedy and charging for autographs. It should be made very, VERY clear that the money made at Twinsfest goes to the Twins Community Fund to help finance any number of wonderful charitable works. The players do not profit at all from the proceeds. In fact, as I understand it, attendance at Twinsfest is voluntary for the players, and aside from travel and lodging expenses, they don't receive any additional compensation for the time they spend at Twinsfest. This makes it all the more impressive that so many players attend year after year, and go out of their way to make it a great experience for fans. So be nice!]
And of course, there are many ballpark concession staples available for purchase as well. Although, you are able to bring your own food and beverages (with bottle caps even!) into the Dome as well. And there's a HUGE flea-market type sale on the field with more sports cards and collectibles than you can dream of. And if you've got even more money burning a hole in your pocket, there are live and silent auctions with tons of great stuff.
Whew! OK, that was a really long answer to an incredibly short question. Moving on.
Q: What is the Twinsfest player schedule?
A: It's not out quite yet. The official team Twitter account has been saying the schedule will be available the Wednesday or Thursday before. I've usually found that it comes out slightly earlier than that. I will probably start checking the site twice a day on Monday myself, just because I'm a little hyper about these things, in general. (Actually, if I'm being completely honest, I will probably start checking on Saturday....just in case.)
EDIT: Actually I lied again. I just checked and it's up RIGHT NOW! Woo hoo!
Until then, here's the list of scheduled attendees so far:
Rick Anderson, Scott Baker, Joe Benson, Nick Blackburn, David Bromberg, Alex Burnett, Jesse Crain, Michael Cuddyer, Robert Delaney, Brian Duensing, Ron Gardenhire, Toby Gardenhire, Kyle Gibson, Matt Guerrier, Carlos Gutierrez, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Harris, B.J. Hermsen, Aaron Hicks, Jason Kubel, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Manship, Joe Mauer, Jose Mijares, Jose Morales, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Pat Neshek, Chris Parmelee, Carl Pavano, Glen Perkins, Trevor Plouffe, Nick Punto, Jon Rauch, Ben Revere, Anthony Slama, Kevin Slowey, Denard Span, Rick Stelmaszek, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Tolbert, Steve Tolleson, Scott Ullger, Danny Valencia, Joe Vavra, Jerry White and Delmon Young.[Sidenote: Just look at how many guys have the initials "J.M." This fascinates me.]
Former players scheduled to appear include Juan Berenguer, Bert Blyleven, Rod Carew, Dan Gladden, Dave Goltz, Kent Hrbek, Tom Kelly, Harmon Killebrew, Corey Koskie, Gene Larkin, Tim Laudner, Scott Leius, Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, Tony Oliva, Greg Olson, Terry Steinbach, Dick Stigman and Kevin Tapani.
Q: How early do I need to get to Twinsfest?
A: Once again, the correct answer is: "It depends." It depends mainly on what you're going to Twinsfest for. If your only goal is to get a Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau autograph, the answer is "As early as you can possibly stand it." If patterns hold true, they are likely to sign in the first or second block of autograph time on any given day. You should be in line outside the Metrodome well before the doors open and go immediately to their lines to even have a chance at getting an M&M autograph. Bring a bottle of water and something to read, because you will be camped out in line for hours.
If you take an approach more similar to Those Girls, you don't need to get there quite that early. One year, for a reason I no longer recall, we decided to a) get in line an hour and a half before the doors opened and b) not wear winter coats. We wound up leaving the line and sitting in my car in the HCMC parking ramp for an hour, defeating the whole purpose. We could have slept another hour, or had a leisurely (and WARM) cup of coffee at Starbucks instead and been much MUCH happier. After that experiment with poor decision making, we came to the conclusion that there is no one on the team (or really, in the universe) whose signature is worth waking up early and standing outside in January in Minnesota. We will roll up when the doors open and take our chances on other pursuits, thank you very much.
I think that covers the basic logistic questions. Here at Those Girls, we have continually worked on improving and perfecting the art of successfully navigating Twinsfest, and we kind of consider ourselves experts. If anyone out there is new to Twinsfest themselves, and has any other questions, feel free to ask. I am working on a short (or possibly long) list of helpful hints for getting the most out of Twinsfest to post next week. Stay tuned.