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The giant flat HD screen over the center field deck is the fourth largest in major league baseball.

Second-largest college crowd opens new ballpark

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MINNEAPOLIS - The first baseball game at the new outdoor stadium on the edge of downtown Minneapolis drew 36,056 people, curious to see the nation's newest major league ballpark.

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On a mild late-in-March afternoon, the home-town fans saw much to delight the eye but little to cheer. The Minnesota Gophers fell hard to Louisiana Tech 9-1, one day after defeating the same team 3-2 at the Metrodome.

The first game played at Target Field, a short walk from the Target Center where the boys high-school basketball championships were being held, attracted a line of fans as early as 6 a.m., three hours before the gates opened. Each paid $2 which went to the Twins' Community Fund. The crowd, many milling about the concourses, bars, food shops and plazas, is the second-largest attendance for collegiate baseball game. The largest came on Mar. 11, 2004 when 40,106 fans saw San Diego State and Houston play at Petco Park in San Diego.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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