An Incomplete Review of the Twin Cities
For whatever reason, timing has been in my favor for the majority of my travels. Wherever I've gone things have have been happening, and they've all been by chance. Despite leaving my weekend off for relaxation I was excited to get out to Minneapolis, which was hosting the 2014 MLB All Star Game.
Let's start with Minneapolis itself. Minnesota was a new state on my list, and locals always sing it's praises in summer (not so much in winter). Downtown Minneapolis has a lot going on. A bars line the streets leading into Target Field and the Target Center, home of the Twins and Timberwolves respectively. If you find yourself in the stadium area, make sure to go to Gluek's Restaurant, which has been serving beer in Minneapolis for 80 years. They've got about 100 foot bar and serve phenomenal beer towers. While the beer is good, there were some flaws in town.
My two second assessment of Minneapolis is: it's a city that's a few years behind the times. They've got a ton of good infrastructure set up, but have failed to capitalize on the opportunity. The brand new ballpark should lead to a revamped neighborhood of restaurants and apartments, but it doesn't. Instead there are blocks of run down warehouses (that would make awesome living/office space) that are either vacant or filled with strip clubs. Tons of strip clubs. More than I've ever seen in one concentrated area. Right in the middle of downtown. There's a time and a place fellas. These negatives make Minneapolis a city that "could be", and if you were wise you'd keep your eye on it. Someone will recognize the potential and make the investment. You'll see.
A great event can often overcome the negatives you find in a great city. I happened to be in Minneapolis during the MLB All-Star game, which is an exciting time for all baseball fans. Does the game count? Technically. Should it? Probably not. But that's not the point of the event. The Midsummer Classic celebrates the history and pageantry of the game, which often goes unnoticed in an era where fans are always looking for more action.
I was around the park the night of the Home Run Derby, and despite a rain delay I still couldn't scalp any tickets ($180 for the upper deck is a out of my budget). Regardless, it's a unique experience to be in town when the All-Star festivities take place. A surprising amount of fans come in to take in the weekend so you get to mix it up with people from all over the country. Whether your team is in first or last you'll be able to wear your colors proudly because the celebration is about baseball as a whole. Everyone is knowledgeable and wants to talk about baseball, which isn't very common these days.
From a TV perspective the All-Star game is boring. An exhibition that determines home-field advantage for the World Series (a prize that only two teams really care about). If you find that your city is hosting, however, you should definitely try to be part of the celebration. You might even run into a celebrity (we saw Andrew Zimmern, I'm sure you can do better), and if you're lucky you can get some cheap seats to the game. I've been lucky to experience it twice, and you can be sure I'll be back if I get the opportunity.