The most noticeable change this year is the addition of a concrete boardwalk in the outfield that features berm seating in left field, concessions in center field and bars in both left and right field. It now allows fans to walk completely around the stadium.
"I think today is a great day," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "Lee County has been a great home for Twins baseball since 1991, but I think today represents the future. I think this renovation project for both the fans and for player development is going to be significant, in terms of our franchise continuing to be successful."
St. Peter added that the Twins are set to meet on Sunday after getting feedback from the fans about the improvements to the stadium. With new seats added in right field, as well as a drink rail in right field, and berm seating in left field, the current seating capacity will expand from 8,000 to 9,300 this spring.
Phase 2 will give the ballpark another major facelift, as the Twins will widen the concourses while adding new concessions, upgraded restroom facilities and a new retail store for fans. The suites, offices and press box at Hammond Stadium will also be updated.
The Twins are making major upgrades to their Major and Minor League clubhouses, as well as the addition of a player-development academy that includes 55 sleeping rooms for players and staff. The player-development academy is expected to be completed by May 1, and will also include a 200-seat auditorium, a hydrotherapy room and the dormitories for players. The Twins are paying for the $6 million project.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.