Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frequently Googled Questions: Twinsfest Edition

With Twinsfest just over a week away, there seems to be a big uptick in the number of folks turning to Google for answers to their burning questions about Twinsfest logistics. I suspect that there will be a lot more first-timers at this year's Fest. More new season ticket holders = More free Twinsfest ticket recipients. Maybe that explains the number of folks looking for information. And Google sends them here, I guess.

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.

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.

[Sidenote: Just look at how many guys have the initials "J.M." This fascinates me.]

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.


Baseball_Lipgloss said...

Please please please please please tell me that you are going to do the photo line for Pavano. I think I could document the thing and possibly have a future Independent Film SAG Award Nominee - Short Film entry.

sarahgymnastnyc said...

Ahh! I love you just for directing me to the schedule, which I have been GREATLY anticipating! Okay, so I have never been to Twinsfest before. What is the Kids Only Q&A? Only Kids can go, or only kids can ask questions? What I mean is, do I need to bring a decoy Kid?

Sarah said...

I'm pretty sure that Those Girls are going to be mysteriously busy elsewhere during that time, Baseball_Lipgloss. Just a hunch.

sarahgymnastnyc--Only kids can ask questions, but you can listen to the answers! You will find that quite a few of the kids are definitely asking questions of their parents' design. It's very entertaining. If they do things the same way this year, there are also Player Q & A's scattered throughout the weekend in the Celebrate Diversity area. Alexi Casilla had the funniest Q & A I've ever heard there last year.

sarahgymnastnyc said...

Oh, okay. Thanks, Sarah, sounds fun!

writerjoel said...

The kids area is just that, kids asking question. I think the parents must congregate outside or up in the stands, as the seating is limited. It's fun to observe. By the food area. Treat yourself to the last of Metrodome fare. Hopefully Target Field food will be of a much higher quality!

The photos is a real steal. Five seconds with a favorite Twin.

The best hangout place is the stands above the radio interviews.

Be prepared to stand in lines. You almost want a folding chair with you. Be gald when you become a senior citizen and own one of those canes with the little seat!

The sad logistics about Mauer and Morneau is that folks who come in early with the vendors grab early positions in the lines.


Take a walk around and look at the exhibit booths. Mudcat Grant and Fergie Jenkins were set up separately one year. Bob Feller another. Al Newman has his own booth. You never know who might be on the floor. Some of the card dealer have other sports guys signing at their booths.

Plan your schedule carefully. You should either stay down on the floor alot, or plan to work the upper hallways. Going up and down those stairs is a chore.

One year they had a coat check. Often they don't. You need to dress accordingly. Amazed at the number of people that pile their coats in the stands and hope they are there when they return.

No tickets for sale. Arrgh! Well, maybe season ticket plans and such.

Be preapred to pay for parking.

Coming late to the event is often just as good as coming early. Especially Saturday and Sunday. The bigger crowds come right at opening. It thins out as the afternoon wears on. And there's more than enough to make a half-day on the weekend. A full day is...long!

Autographs cost money. Players will sign at least one piece of merchandise. It can get expensive. Really expensive.

Why do they team Mauer and Morneau with others? I want to see Pavano on Friday, but he's with Justin. No way. Delmon is with Mauer. He usually gets sick, so no loss there. Wish they would have more single popular player setups...hey, all those concession stands would work perfectly on the upper level... Think the Twins would raise considerably more if they had more autograph stations...and the funds do go to the Twins community fund.

The event is a great pre-season gathering for the Twins, before spring training. Some come in early for the Caravan. The entire team (actually, 40-man roster) can come to town and have an organizational meeting, then drift home briefly, before the start of spring training. I'm sure this works well for the team!

The Return of Pat Neshek!

Risa will be in the radio stands on Friday and Saturday, plus the photo lines. Me, Joel, will be standing in lines with my pretty pictures of young men in uniform that I always get signed for heaven knows why.

Sarah said...

The day there is a Joe Mauer kissing booth is the day I vomit on my own shoes at Twinsfest.

No offense to Joe Mauer....

Heidi said...

I heart Joe Mauer, but I'm also a bit germaphobic, so I couldn't bring myself to go to the Mauer Kissing Booth, especially at the height of cold and flu season. I've often thought the best fundraiser the Twins could sponsor would be "Win a Date with Joe Mauer." (or some other single cute player- Kevin Slowey?) Like on Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, its a raffle with an entrance fee, and the winner is randomly chosen. I would gladly pony up $100 to have a shot at a date with a baseball player, even if it is fake.

Sarah said...

Good idea!

I fear the germs as well. And rabid pink-shirted Mauer-girls trampling me to death.

Betsy said...

adults can ask questions at the kids Q&A too...usually only when the kids are quite and have exhausted their "what's your favorite color" question options.

larry said...

What door do I have to go to, to get in the Dome? and is there a map for each corner so I know exactly where to go?

Sarah said...

larry--Gates F and H (the two gates with their own ticket windows) should be open. With limited staff/volunteers, they don't open the others. Hope that helps!

bhboo15 said...

Does anyone know if there is a map online so I know what door to go into to get to the right corner? Cause I dont wanna go into the wrong door and have to walk all the way to the other end of the dome to stad in line for an autograph!

Amber7 said...

I want to go to Twinsfest 2012, but will probably have to go alone. Any ideas on how that would work with standing in line (for Mauer) and needing bathroom breaks? Thanks!

Sarah said...

Hi Amber7,

Don't worry too much about standing in line alone. Lots of other people will no doubt be in the same situation.

As far as bathroom breaks go, my best advice is to try to get in line next to another solo fan or a parent with small children, and make friends! They will probably be equally appreciative of an offer to watch their spot in line if they need to duck out and will probably be more than happy to reciprocate.

[But remember that there's a difference between "fan" and "professional autograph collector"...they will not be as likely to be as helpful. You'll know 'em when you see 'em. Also, if you need to get out of line for the bathroom or whatever, it's a good idea to let the people behind you in line know, just so they don't freak out when you come back.]

PS- I love that it's October and you're already planning Twinsfest strategy. You remind me of me.

Amber7 said...

Sarah, thank you for the great response! I am new to MN and the Twins, so I definitely don't know what I'm doing for Twinsfest and if I am in over my head by trying to go alone. Thanks again!