As in the game of baseball, running a modern ballpark requires careful attention to detail. Someone has to take charge of the things most fans wouldn't think about, necessities such as trash cans, and niceties, like the red, white and blue bunting that hangs in the stands every opening day.
That's why, on Sunday afternoon, Target Field usher Rick Peterson -- everyone calls him Pete -- was using heavy duty zip ties to attach the last of hundreds of pieces of bunting to a railing near first base -- a job that has taken him and a coworker the better part of two days.
He's on the job because today, Monday, is the Minnesota Twins home opener. They take on the Oakland A's at 3:10 p.m. The grounds crew, ushers and hundreds of other behind-the-scenes workers have been busy for the past few weeks, getting ready to welcome players and fans to the ballpark.
Peterson says he had plenty of other odd jobs to do to get ready for opening day, including reinstalling and repairing the more than 800 seats for disabled people.
"We pack them away in the winter, unpack them in the spring. And this year we put new feet on all of them. We had to hammer off the old feet and put on new feet," he said.
Down on the field, workers install wall pads and prepare the outfield warning track. At nowhere but a ballpark will you see such meticulous attention paid to dirt. At home plate, three groundskeepers sprinkle powdered clay from a bag, and press it flat with rollers.
After that, Nick Wilz from the grounds crew uses a rake to carefully spread a special granular clay called Turface.
"We put a little water down, throw the Turface on, keep the moisture in so it doesn't chunk out and there's clay all over the place, so the cleats will go right in and won't pull any clay out," Wilz said.
This winter was nastier than normal in the Twin Cities, but head groundskeeper Larry DiVito says the grass at Target Field stayed pristine thanks to the heating system underneath: "We had just snow. We didn't have any ice. Last year we had quite a bit of ice damage. This year was just snow, so that was a nice insulator for the grass."
After the snow melted, DiVito's staff cut the grass -- using rollers on the mowers to get that striped pattern in the outfield. They also painted opening day logos on the grass.
Under the stands, Pete Spike of Delaware North -- the food service contractor at Target Field -- says the store room is stocked, with beer, peanuts, Cracker Jack and everything else fans love to eat.
"I know that we will probably sell about 20,000 hot dogs and sausages on opening day alone. We generally find that one out of every three guests that walks in the ballpark will probably have a hot dog or sausage product," he said.
New food offerings this year include grilled rib tips from Butcher and the Boar -- a restaurant near the ballpark. Kramarczuk's of northeast Minneapolis is selling hot dogs nestled inside bratwurst. If that's not enough, the whole thing is wrapped in bacon and served in a pretzel bun.
Also new at the ballpark -- more instant replays. This year Major League Baseball expanded its use of video in officiating games, allowing managers to challenge umpires' calls at least once a game. Twins spokesman Kevin Smith says the rule changes required a lot of technical preparation, about $10 million worth league-wide. "There's a replay operations center in New York, where two crews of umpires are working with video feeds from every game. So every camera feed that goes out of this building goes into New York," Smith said.
Smith says Target Field's 39,504 seats are nearly sold out for this afternoon's game. Barkhad Abdi -- the Somali-American actor from Minneapolis who played a pirate in the Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips -- will throw out the first pitch at 3:10 p.m.