In an effort to boost revenue streams Target Field will be home to more than just baseball games when the Twins’ new $550 million ballpark opens in a couple months, with Allison Kaplan of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reporting that the team plans to host weddings, bar mitzvahs, reunions, charity balls, and various other private events.
If you’re willing to fork over $5,000 the ballpark has space that can accommodate 800 guests for a sit-down meal and for an added fee you can even get Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, or Tony Oliva to show up. A wedding at home plate costs $3,500 and I’m endlessly amused to note that my friend and fellow Twins blogger Howard Sinker will be the first to get married at Target Field:
Howard Sinker and Julie Townsend have the distinction of being the first couple getting married (off field) at Target Field on April 24. They met at a playoff game party in 2004 and shared season tickets throughout their courtship.
“When we were looking at places where we could possibly get married that would be meaningful and fun, this was at the top of the list,” said Sinker, a Web sports coordinator for StarTribune.com who reported on the Twins in the 1980s.
Their love of baseball does have its limits. “We wouldn’t have done this at the Metrodome,” Townsend said. “It’s not going to be a baseball-themed wedding. We’re having a nice, elegant wedding that happens to be at a baseball field. (Target Field) has totally exceeded my expectations.”
Having watched a Twins game with Sinker and his lovely fiancee that sounds like a perfect fit, whereas getting married at the Metrodome sounded like something to threaten your girlfriend with in the middle of a fight. As in, “If you make me sit through another dinner at your parents’ house we’re getting married at the Metrodome!” Mazel tov, Howard.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.