Minnesota Twins fans will notice some changes at Target Field for the team’s 14th season at the stadium, including a new scoreboard.
A massive 178-foot-wide, edgeless high-definition screen now towers over the left field stand. It’s big enough that it feels like players on the screen are an arm's length away, even standing at home plate.
“[The display includes] a main video board that is 76 percent larger than before and now is the sixth-largest board in Major League Baseball, a new technologically advanced Minnie and Paul celebration sign in center field, and lastly, a new beacon to the city, a revolving baseball medallion atop the right field tower,” Twins president Dave St. Peter said.
The new display is part of a massive $30 million off-season visual overhaul at the stadium that will greet fans for the Twins home opener next Thursday. It includes 22 new digital displays, mounted on the front edge of the seating concourses, at the gate facing downtown Minneapolis and the new 74-foot-tall tower in right field, among other places.
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The main board is composed of more than 6,000 LED blocks, 14x14 inches, built into cabinets about 4 feet wide and stacked on massive scaffolding standing atop the uppermost seats on the north side of the stadium. It was built by South Dakota-based Daktronics, the same company that has installed displays everywhere from U.S. Bank Stadium to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Spokesperson Tony Mulder said Daktronics made the relatively simple, monochrome display board fans first saw in the Metrodome more than 40 years ago. He said the new boards are the result of a half dozen generations of technological improvements — even beyond high definition.
"HDR, high dynamic range, is really the depth of color that you can see in a display. So it’s very, very close to what your eyeballs themselves can actually pick up,” Mulder said.
And, as Twins president Dave St. Peter was happy to point out, they're even local.
“These boards were actually made in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Which is something that we feel really good about, that these boards were made in Twins Territory,” St. Peter said.
Target Field is upgrading its security technology, using scanners made by Boston-based Evolv technology. Like metal detectors, they use a magnetic field to detect contraband, like weapons, as people walk through them. But added processing power, applied to the changes to that magnetic field as people pass, can tell the difference between an iPhone and a handgun.
“So think about all your fans coming, and instead of divesting of the normal metals that you're used to — taking out your keys, and your phone and whatever you're carrying — you can keep that on you and walk right into the game, from the street to your seat,” said Evolv CEO Peter George.
No turning out your pockets. No standing in line to get waved through a metal detector. No routine bag searches.
The technology records an image of anyone with an item of concern, and those people are waved to the side to determine what triggered an alert. And the technology will theoretically be better than ever at keeping weapons out of Target Field.
“If people are carrying bags and the alarm goes off, we're still going to check inside the bag. But you can bring bags in, and if it doesn't go off, you can go in,” George said.
That said, the old days of hauling a family-sized picnic into the stands aren't coming back. The Target Field bag policy still applies, including a ban on multi-compartment backpacks, duffel bags and big coolers, among other things.
Opening Day is April 6, when the Twins will host the World Series Champion Houston Astros starting at 3 p.m. The game will feature an F-16 overflight, courtesy of the Minnesota National Guard.
Music legends Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam Harris will throw ceremonial first pitches, and one of the Hamilton cast members from the previous night's Orpheum show will sing the National Anthem.
Tickets are still available for that game.