Welcome Back to Target Field!
Baseball is back, Downtown Minneapolis is proudly open for business, and the Minnesota Twins are thrilled to safely welcome 10,000 fans to Target Field for the 2021 Home Opener, presented by Your Local Northland Ford Dealers. The 2021 Home Opener will be the first time fans have been at Target Field for a game since October 7, 2019 (Game 3 of the ALDS), while it also marks the largest gathering in Minnesota since March of 2020. Pregame ceremonies will pay tribute to the unprecedented events of the past year, while exalting our collective strength through a celebration of baseball and community. The Twins will also kickoff 30th anniversary festivities for the 1991 World Series champions and the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Highlights of the Twins’ Home Opener include:
National Anthem: The National Anthem, presented by Thomson Reuters, will be sung by Natalia Romero Arbeláez, a local educator and performer who sings in Twin Cities professional vocal ensembles such as VocalEssence and Border CrosSing, while also teaching choir and piano at Harding High School in St. Paul.
Ceremonial First Pitch: When Gene Larkin delivered the walk-off single in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, it was then-Twins third base coach Ron Gardenhire who sent Dan Gladden home with the championship-winning run. Later, as the Twins’ beloved and fiery manager for 13 seasons, “Gardy” led Minnesota to 1,068 wins and six division championships. Recently retired following 29 seasons as a major league coach or manager, Gardenhire will return to Target Field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2021 Home Opener to his son, Toby, who is set to manage the St. Paul Saints, the Twins’ new Triple-A affiliate.
Ceremonial Starting Lineup: Now and always – but especially during the tumult of a pandemic – the Twins are proud to salute the tireless efforts of our educators. A Home Opener video tribute will honor a “Starting Lineup” representing the thousands of men and women working as educators and school personnel across Twins Territory: Hamilton Bell (Principal at Farnsworth Aerospace in St. Paul), Melisha Carroll (Family and Community Liaison at Lucy Laney Community School in Minneapolis), Kara Fandrich (Special Education Paraprofessional at Gleason Lake Elementary), Qorsho Hassan (4th Grade Teacher at Echo Park Elementary in Burnsville), Lex Lammers (Media Specialist at New Prague High School), Pete Otterson (Principal at Lakeview Elementary), Pam Ryan (3rd Grade Teacher at Liberty Ridge Elementary in Woodbury), Emma Thiets (Special Education Teacher at St. Paul Music Academy) and Wilbur Winkelman (Assistant Principal at Sonnesyn Elementary in Robbinsdale).
3M Play Ball Frontline Hero: This year, the Twins and 3M are teaming up to bring people back to the ballpark. Prior to the 2021 Home Opener, the Twins will recognize a 3M Play Ball Frontline Hero.
In Memoriam: Prior to each season’s Home Opener, the Twins share an in-memoriam video and hold a moment of silence to remember those in the Major League Baseball family and Minnesota sports community whom we have lost during the offseason. This year, the Twins will also honor the memory of bench coach Mike Bell, who passed from cancer on March 26 at the age of 46 (the Twins will also honor Mike Bell throughout the 2021 season with a special “MB” uniform patch as well as signage within the team’s dugout at Target Field), legendary Minnesota sports personality Sid Hartman, longtime Twin Cities broadcaster Tom Hanneman and those in Twins Territory who have died from COVID-19.
End Racism: The Twins organization, as full partners with others in our community, is committed to supporting an equitable world in which everyone is protected, safe and welcome. Beginning with the Home Opener, the Twins will display an outfield wall graphic with a call to “End Racism.”
“God Bless America” will be performed by Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Nicholls. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, SSG Nicholls enlisted with the Minnesota National Guard in 2000, was deployed in 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom III and has served full-time since 2011, earning several awards for his service – including the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
Twins Fans will lead Target Field in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” A tradition of any day at the ballpark, but one sadly lost in 2020, the Twins are calling on the fans at Target Field to lead the Home Opener’s rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.
While the St. Paul Saints will officially open their gates as a Triple-A affiliate on May 11 to showcase the Twins of tomorrow, CHS Field will open on April 8 so fans can watch the Twins of today. If you can’t secure a ticket to Target Field, the Saints will welcome a physically distanced crowd to Lowertown for the Twins’ Home Opener. You can purchase tickets for the Twins Opening Day Watch party by visiting saintsbaseball.com/tickets/twinswatchparty.