MINNEAPOLIS -- If you want to build one of the most innovative ballparks in baseball, visit the best today. Over the last month, Twins officials have made trips to the new Busch Stadium in St. Louis, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Jacobs Field in Cleveland. San Diego's PETCO Park and San Francisco's AT&T Park are next.
"It's pretty standard when teams are involved in designing a facility that they tour other facilities," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "We've looked at ballparks over the last 10 years that we've been trying to secure support for a ballpark in Minnesota -- this was more of a formal tour setting. "It's something that has been suggested by other teams and something that we thought had a lot of value." Along each stop, St. Peter and at least seven club officials have taken note of interesting features and ideas. Pittsburgh's PNC Park, like the Twins' new ballpark site, features a great view of the city's skyline. The Roberto Clemente Bridge stretches across the Allegheny River and the ballpark's orientation provides the majority of spectators a visual of the backdrop. The Twins are considering options for a pedestrian bridge that would form a connection with downtown Minneapolis. In Cleveland, Jacobs Field is adjacent to the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers' Quicken Loans Arena -- a similar positioning to the Twins' new ballpark and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Target Center. Two things the tour group noted: the two facilities in Cleveland are connected through a plaza and officials from the Indians and Cavaliers work together on scheduling and cross-promotion. St. Louis' Busch Stadium, which just opened this season, features 40-plus group party rooms -- more than any other ballpark. The Twins are pursuing a similar idea for their final design. St. Peter says the conversations with team executives have been rewarding. "It was a wonderful experience," he said. "Not only the tours of the facilities, but maybe more importantly, the dialogues with the teams and their representatives in relation to what they did well and what they would do over again." In addition to St. Peter, the Twins tour group includes Twins Sports Inc. president Jerry Bell, chief financial officer Kip Elliott, vice president/assistant GM Bill Smith, vice president of operations Matt Hoy, vice president corporate partnerships Eric Curry, vice president ticket sales and service Steve Smith, and director of ticket sales Scott O'Connell, along with assorted team advisors. The tour of different ballparks, including many of baseball's newest parks, has led to ideas that could culminate in a final design soon, St. Peter said. "We're learning that there was a different process in building every one and there are great elements in every ballpark," he said. "We're formulating those thoughts now and certainly in the near future, we'll be sitting down to map out what we're hoping will be the final design."
Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.