Posts Tagged ‘timberwolves’

As NFL Labor Dispute Heads to Court, Focus Turns to Minneapolis-St. Paul

Monday, April 11th, 2011


Photo courtesy of MPR

As the NFL labor dispute shifts from negotiation to litigation, the “playing field” will move from Washington, D.C. to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Though the weather is warming up, the temperature can still drop in Minneapolis and St. Paul, which makes their system of glass” tunnels, or walkways, so convenient. Downtown Minneapolis has an eight-mile system of walkways and St. Paul has a five-mile system, making the city easy to navigate if it gets cold. If it is warm, feel free to walk outside without looking over your shoulder. Minneapolis was named the safest city in the country by Forbes in 2009.

For those hard working ladies and gentlemen of the NFL media horde, we provide a rundown of Minneapolis-St. Paul including some top restaurants, points of interest, and upcoming sporting events through the month of April.

Upcoming Sporting Events (home dates in April):

Minnesota Twins
Friday, April 22 Cleveland Indians 7:10 PM
Saturday, April 23 Cleveland Indians 12:10 PM
Sunday, April 24 Cleveland Indians 1:10 PM
Tuesday, April 26 Tampa Bay Rays 7:10 PM
Wednesday, April 27 Tampa Bay Rays 7:10 PM
Thursday, April 28 Tampa Bay Rays 12:10 PM

Local Restaurants:

  • The Jucy (or Juicy) Lucy is a style of cheeseburger invented in south Minneapolis. Both Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club claim to have invented the sandwich, which melts the cheese inside the burger patty resulting in a molten cheese core than gushes out upon the first bite.
  • Brasa Premium Rotisserie: Head Chef Alex Roberts is a James Beard Award winner, so it is no surprise that the “Pork and Spinach” at Brasa is so good that The Today Show featured it on a segment of the five American meals not to be missed (here).
  • Al’s Breakfast: Located near the University of Minnesota, this breakfast institution won a James Beard Foundation award in the “America’s Classics Restaurants” category.
  • Victor’s 1959 Café: Serves Cuban food that is “off the hook” according to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host Guy Fieri.
  • Wienery: Voted best hot dog in the Twin Cities for three years running by CityPages, Wienery also serves breakfast all day in the west bank neighborhood of Minneapolis.
  • Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge: Believe it or not, they actually serve good food in addition to their exotic drinks and party atmosphere at their new location with a riverfront patio.
  • 112 Eatery: Voted best late-night restaurant by CityPages, 112 Eatery’s foie gras meatballs were written up by the New York Times and their chef Isaac Becker was a best Midwest chef nominee from the James Beard Foundation.
  • French Meadow Café: Local and organic ingredients make their breakfast the freshest and perhaps best in the city.

Things To Do/Points of Interest:

  • TCF Bank Stadium Tour: TCF Bank Stadium is home to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and for two games in 2010 (and maybe more in 2011) the Minnesota Vikings. The state-of-the-art stadium opened prior to the 2009 season, and is worth checking out. Spring 2011 tour dates have not yet been released.
  • Mall of America: The MOA is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, mostly due to its sheer enormity. Two hundred and thirty eight Statues of Liberty could lie inside the mall.
  • Bryant-Lake Bowl: They may be known more for their locally sourced and tasty food than their bowling, but either one is a good reason to come.
  • Stone Arch Bridge: The only stone arch bridge ever constructed over the Mississippi River, the Stone Arch Bridge continues to offer spectacular views of St. Anthony Falls, the historic milling district and the Minneapolis skyline and is an important link in the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail.
  • Mill City Museum: According to their official website, the Mill City Museum is “Built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, Mill City Museum is located on the historic Mississippi Riverfront. Here, visitors of all ages learn about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, the river, and the city of Minneapolis.”
  • Nicollet Mall: The Nicollet Mall is a portion of Nicollet Avenue that runs through downtown Minneapolis featuring upscale shopping and dining. The pedestrian mall features a statue of Mary Tyler Moore’s iconic hat toss, which was filmed along the Mall.
  • Loring Park: Active in the summer with festivals and fairs, Loring Park is a good place to relax or go for a run.
  • Lake Minnetonka: Take a boat out on the lake or run or relax in the parks alongside.
  • Warehouse District: In addition to the Target Center and Target Field, which are located in the Warehouse District, there are a number of restaurants, bars and theatres here. It is a good place to check out before or after the game for dinner and drinks.
  • University of Minnesota: Take a walk through the campus and check out the historic buildings. You may be energized by the young people walking around.

Facility Roundup: Minneapolis-St. Paul

Friday, March 25th, 2011


NFL:

Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Minnesota Vikings)

Photo courtesy of Vikings.com

The Skinny: Built in 1982, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was the primary facility used for hosting almost all Minneapolis area major sporting events up until the last several years. Now called Mall of America Field at the HHH Metrodome, the $68 million stadium was the second dome of its kind, featuring a self-supported fiberglass fabric roof. The climate-controlled stadium appeased both the Minnesota Vikings, who were looking for an upgrade from their home at Metropolitan Stadium, and the Minnesota Twins and University of Minnesota football. The Metrodome has hosted many premier events including Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, the MLB All-Star Game in 1985 and nine different NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments. It is recognized as one of the loudest domes in all of sports. With two of its three primary tenants already occupying new stadiums and the Vikings planning to move in the near future, now is a good time to visit the Metrodome, before it’s too late (after the roof is repaired, of course).

Year Opened: 1982

Capacity: 64,111

Fun Fact: Given the fact that the Metrodome has played host to nearly all of the teams in the Minneapolis area, it may come as no surprise that the Metrodome has hosted a number of premier sporting events. Did you know the Metrodome is the only stadium to host the Super Bowl, an MLB All-Star Game, an NCAA Basketball Final Four and the World Series?

MLB:

Target Field (Minnesota Twins)

Photo courtesy of MLB.com

The Skinny: Target Field represents the first stadium built specifically for the Twins in the franchises history. After 27 seasons sharing the Metrodome with the Minnesota Vikings, the Twins moved into their new home at Target Field beginning in 2010. The stadium which is an open-air facility represents a major change for baseball in Minnesota. Acclaimed stadium design company Populous, who are credited with the designs of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, PNC Park and AT&T Park, were in charge of making Target Field a modernized, state of the art facility. The stadium features Target Plaza which pays tribute to all things Minnesota baseball including monuments of Twins greats, a large “Golden Glove” recognizing all the Twins that have won the award and all the previous Twins stadiums. A Minnesota hometown feel is kept throughout the stadium with many concessions dedicated to some of Minnesota’s most famous restaurants including walleye and Juicy Lucy burgers.

Year Opened: 2010

Capacity: 39,504

The Great Gates: Instead of naming the gates of Target Field with the conventional numbers 1,2,3… or letters A,B,C… the Twins decided to throw a curveball. The gates at the stadium are named after retired numbers worn by Twins players. The center field gate is Gate #3 for Harmon Killebrew, the left field gate is Gate #6 honoring Tony Oliva, the home plate gate is Gate #14 for Kent Hrbek, the right field gate serves as Gate #29 in tribute to Rod Carew and the plaza gate is known as Gate #34, honoring Kirby Puckett.

NBA:

Target Center (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The Skinny: One of two stadiums in Minneapolis sponsored by the Target Corporation, the Target Center represents one of the Midwest’s premier sports and entertainment venues. Besides for being the home court of the NBA’s Timberwolves, the Target Center is home to the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA as well as a frequent venue for concerts, WWE wrestling, UFC martial arts and PBR bull riding. In 2004, the Target Center underwent major renovations which included the addition of 1,500 new seats, a state of the art scoreboard, an array of LED signage and the first ever “green roof”. In 2010 industry publication Pollstar ranked the Target Center the #1 venue in the Midwest, #14 in the United States and #30 worldwide.

Year Opened: 1990

Capacity: 19,356

Fun Fact: In the 1989-90 season basketball returned to Minneapolis where the Lakers franchise had previously won five championships before leaving for Los Angeles. The expansion team the Minnesota Timberwolves were set to begin a new era in Minnesota basketball history. The Timberwolves got their name from a regional “Name the Team” contest which decided on “Timberwolves” over “Polars” by a 2-1 margin.

NHL:

Xcel Energy Center (Minnesota Wild)

Photo courtesy of XcelEnergyCenter.com

The Skinny: Located just 9 miles from the downtown Minneapolis area, Xcel Energy Center is situated in the heart of St. Paul, Minnesota. The one of a kind arena has an exterior made of transparent glass that welcomes fans to a unique stadium experience. With four separate concourses on four seating levels, Xcel Energy Center has been strategically situated to create great hockey sightlines and provide a fan-friendly, open view of the ice. In 2004, ESPN the Magazine ranked the Xcel Energy Center the #1 Arena in the United States, stating it had “the best stadium experience.” In the hockey capital of the United States, you will not find a better arena to see a hockey game. The Xcel Energy Center will be the host of the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four Tournament.

Year Opened: 2000

Capacity: 18,064

“Streaking!”: While it’s not uncommon for teams to post sellouts, the Minnesota Wild achieved quite a feat at Xcel Energy Center. Upon opening its doors on September 29th, 2000, Xcel Energy Center boasted a sellout crowd for 409 consecutive games. This streak was finally broken on September 22, 2010. It was third longest home sellout streak in NHL history.

NCAA Football:

TCF Bank Stadium (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: TCF Bank Stadium represents the first Big Ten football stadium constructed since the 1960’s. Designed as an open-air, horseshoe shaped bowl, the modern stadium still possesses an old-school collegiate style, look and feel. TCF Bank Stadium has all the amenities you need to enjoy the college football experience on the Twin Cities campus. The state-of-the art Daktronics HD video scoreboard is the third largest in all of college football measuring 48 feet high by 108 feet wide (comparable to the size of the basketball court in nearby Williams Arena).

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 50,805

“The Great Outdoors”: Due to a collapse of the Metrodome’s roof, the Minnesota Vikings’ Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears was held at the TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010, marking the Vikings’ first outdoor home game since 29 years earlier when the Vikings old home Metropolitan Stadium was closed. The game ended with the Bears defeating the Vikings, 40-14.

NCAA Basketball:

Williams Arena (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: Affectionately known as “The Barn” to Gopher fans, Williams Arena is located in the Stadium Village section of the University of Minnesota’s campus. The 80-year old arena has an historic aura and is credited with being one of the first arenas to use the “raised floor”, which allows fans to feel closer to the court. The student section aptly known as “The Barnyard”, adds to the intimate feel inside Williams Arena

Year Opened: 1928

Capacity: 14,625

Fun Fact: While it’s not uncommon to see a stadium renovate and change its capacity, Williams Arena has done its fair share of adjustments to the seating over its 80+ year history. Its original capacity started at 14,100 in 1928 and expanded to 16,000 shortly their after. After further expansion, Williams Arena was the largest capacity arena in college basketball from 1950 to 1971 with over 18,000 seats. The capacity has been reduced to 14,625 in recent years due to renovation, fire-code restrictions and handicapped-seating construction.

NCAA Hockey:

Mariucci Arena (University of Minnesota Golden Gophers)

Photo courtesy of GopherSports.com

The Skinny: Named after John Mariucci, the legendary Golden Gopher hockey coach and “the godfather of Minnesota hockey,” Mariucci arena represents one of the best atmospheres for college hockey anywhere in the United States. Aside from being the home of the men’s hockey team, Mariucci arena has served as the host to a number of prominent NCAA Frozen Four matchups and an array of international skating competitions. The intimate 10,000 seat arena allows for the “the greatest fans in college hockey” to have an exceptional view from anywhere in the arena.

Year Opened: 1993

Capacity: 10,000

Best Moment: In 2007, Sports Illustrated on Campus named Mariucci Arena one the top ten venues in college sports. The facility was the only ice hockey arena to make the list.