Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Sting - Fallout

Because of our company’s failure in the most recent sting at Target Field, we’ve been told that the M.P.D. will be doing a follow-up sting this week.

I guess the rules of the game are that if a liquor establishment fails a compliance check, another compliance check must take place within 30 days. Well, with no guaranty of another game after Game 2 of the ALDS, it is almost a given that the sting will be on again at either Wednesday’s or Thursday’s game vs. the Yankees.

Last Thursday, the police checked 21 points of sale at Target Field and there were 8 failures. Frankly, that is an embarrassing percentage. We have to do better than that, and we will next time. My company has changed several policies and spends time discussing proper ID measures before each game.

The fallout from the sting has been interesting, to say the least. Because Wally The Beerman was one of 2 vendors failing the compliance check, the media has jumped all over the story. Everyone at Target Field seems to know what happened, and everyone also seems to have an opinion.

I did a blog back in 2009 about how popular Wally was (, but really don’t think it captured the whole story.

There is now a “Free Wally” Facebook page that has compiled over 7,000 fans in less than 72 hours. (Believe it or not, the page has actually gained 100 fans in the time it took me to write this article.)

Everyone seems to want to talk about it at the game too. I had a lawyer bend my ear for 3 batters on Friday about how compliance checks are entrapment. Today, a semi-inebriated customer chastised the police very loudly in the concourse about how unfair it was to keep Wally away from doing “the work that he loves”. He made it sound almost like Wally was Mother Theresa being kept from tending to the poor in India.

One of our 70+ year old vendors, Jerry Carlson was standing next to me in the concourse on Saturday before the game. He sold a guy a beer, and the guy tipped him and actually said…

“Give this dollar to Wally.”


I think Wally is doing fine. Wally is probably making more money out of this than he ever was before. … and he is not climbing stairs to do it! He seems to be working every bar around the stadium these days handing out beers and bringing in customers for the bar.

(In case you wondered, Jerry said “Thank you, I will pass that along, kind sir.” … and then pocketed the dollar.)

It’s strange, but by failing the compliance check, I think Wally has become more popular than he ever was. …Almost like he has become a martyr.

He’s now the William Wallace of Vendors.

But my favorite story of the weekend involved 2 customers who I sold beers to on Saturday in Section 117. I carded them properly, and they had their ID’s ready to go even before I asked for them. They said, “We know all about the sting, and think it is very unfair.” Then they said, “Want to see what we did?”

The customer is always right, so I said, “Sure”.

The boys took off their shirts and had painted on their chest in huge blue capital letters…


I believe I could almost hear the voice of Wally The Beerman ringing out right at that moment


Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Sting

There are just nights, that you wished never happened… Tonight was one of those nights.

The “sting” was on. The Minneapolis Police Department decided that September 30, 2010 was a great night to perform an alcohol compliance check on the vending department at Target Field.

For those of you who don’t know, an alcohol sting usually involves a college student who looks to be of legal drinking age, but is about 19 or 20 years old. This kid is given a $10 bill and told to try to buy beer from as many people as he or she can at a sporting event. The vendors who pass are rewarded, and those who fail are disciplined and can even face criminal charges.

In my 22 years of vending, I had managed to avoid every police sting.

… until tonight.

99 times out of 100, beer vendors come through with flying colors. After all, we are the “Pro’s”. We are on our own every night and are taught how to handle all sorts of situations. There’s a reason we have to sit through 3-5 hours of training each year.

We should be able to pass a compliance check 100% of the time.

Not 99% of the time…


It’s not that hard. Company policy is to ID anyone under 30 years old. This makes it pretty straightforward, and should protect all beer vendors from serving someone under 21.

Tonight, I was “Stung”, for the first time ever.

I had barely sold my first 6 pack in the concourse prior to tonight’s game, when a “young kid” approached me and asked for a Grain Belt Premium. I popped the top, set it back in the ice, and told him that it would be $7.

He handed me a $10 bill and I asked for his ID. So he handed it to me.


I did a double take, and then still had to look at it again. 1991?? Hey, that was the year the Twins last won the World Series… Wait a minute, that’s not right. Legal drinking age was 9-30-1989.

Could this kid really be trying to buy beer and he is not 21?

Is my math wrong?

Keep in mind that I had NEVER seen an underage ID before. Sure, I have had numerous customers over the past 20+ years who have “forgotten” their ID in the car, or “left it at home”. But this was my first customer - EVER - who had tried to buy beer and showed me his ID that said he was under 21.

After all that pondering, I handed this kid his $10 back, put his Wisconsin driver’s license in my pocket and told him that I couldn’t sell to him.

He just looked at me and said, “OK”, and walked away.

Really… “OK”… That’s all I get!!! You try to break the law and just walk away and say ‘OK”???!

Where are the fireworks and confetti from the ceiling?? I just kept a minor from buying a beer.

But, there should be no fireworks or celebration… I did nothing special.

I did my JOB!

That’s what I’m supposed to do. Serve beer to the adults, and protect my customers by making sure no one under 21 buys a beer.

Unfortunately, not everyone did their job tonight. Not everyone passed this compliance check.

I’m so irritated, embarrassed and depressed that two of my fellow vendors served beer to this kid.

These were vendors who have been doing this longer than I have… Guys who have 25+ years of experience. Vendors who are very close friends… Vendors who I might never see again.

Company police is very clear on failing a compliance check.


It isn’t even something that is up for discussion. … and maybe it shouldn’t be. After all, isn’t a beer vendors’ #1 responsibility to make sure that no one under the age of 21 is able to drink?

It doesn’t help my feelings that we are still all a team, and these are my friends. These are/were good beer vendors.

… and it all can end just like that if you are not careful.

Tonight, I did my job, and am thankful I get the chance to work another day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Jacket Weather is Back

What a difference a couple of days and 10 degrees make. Tonight was the first game since early May that I saw fans wearing jackets and bundling up for the game at Target Field. Two nights ago shorts and T-shirts were in fashion, and fans were hoping for a breeze to cool off. Tonight, I saw a few fans even covering up under blankets.

Hot Chocolate vendors returned to the seats. Strange… just last week, I sold water to help keep fans cool, and 10 days later we are working on keeping them warm.

I have worn shorts at every game since early May, but it might be time to consider going back to long pants in the next few days. It seems so long ago that I needed a long sleeve shirt under my bright yellow uniform shirt, but those days are about to return.

This can only mean the end of the season is near. There are only 16 more games to go in the regular season. Every vendor looks forward to the end of the season when we get our lives back and don’t have to work 8 hours at our regular jobs and then head downtown for another 4-5 hours at Target Field. It’s a crazy life when you actually look forward to Fall and Winter in Minnesota, but that’s what vending does to a person.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Waterboy

After 20 years of selling nothing but Bud or Miller at Twins games, the summer outdoor atmosphere of Target Field has presented a couple of opportunities to vend a different product. On the warmest and sunniest of day games, nothing sells better than Ice Cold Water. Bottled Aquafina.

Beer just doesn’t sell well to fans sitting in the sun and 95 degree heat. Fans cannot actually continue drinking beer at a partying pace when it is that hot. Water outsells beer at those games.

I have passed on the beer ticket and sold H2O twice so far this year, and it has worked out better than selling beer. Besides, it is so easy to sell bottled water.

No ID’s needed.
No caps to remove.
No cutting people off if they have had too many.

I just break the seal on the cap and hand it out. I can sell to 7 year olds and 70 year olds. It’s almost as refreshing to sell, as it must be for fans to drink.

Vending is all about marketing. With beer, the chant from most vendors is, “Beer Here!” Simple and to the point. People want "beer", and “here” is where they get it.

With water, I have discovered a new phrase… I present this thought in fans’ minds that they “need” to drink water. The sun is heating them up, they are thirsty and slightly uncomfortable, and everyone knows that water is what you need to survive. I will walk down an aisle and almost make a plea for people to pay attention.

“Who NEEDS Water?? Who is thirsty??”

I add almost this desperate tone on the word “needs”. It puts this thought in fans minds, that I might be right and they may not survive 9 innings without the water I am selling. I never even mention Aquafina because it really isn’t important. I could be selling Minneapolis city water and it would make no difference, because... People NEED it.

I see hands go up, and it becomes infectious. People actually say to me when purchasing, “Yeah, we need water here”, sounding almost grateful for the opportunity to hand over $4 for a bottle.

Sure, I get grief from a lot of my regulars about selling water, but even they will buy one when they get too hot.

So don’t be surprised if you see me selling water at games on those hot days. After all, I am just trying to distribute the thirst quenching liquid that people need the most at that particular game. Some days it is beer, and some days it is water.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

3-Game Homestand

This weekend has been odd at Target Field. Usually MLB likes to schedule more than 1 series for a team on the road or at home. Six or seven-game homestands are typical. Saves on travel expenses. This year we actually have six 9-game homestands. Those get long.

Spanning over a week, these can really disrupt a schedule. Most vendors have regular jobs, so it is usually 8 hours at that during the week & then come in to Target Field for another 3-5 hours. Then, you really don’t get a weekend to enjoy either. There is a game right in the middle of Sunday, and both Friday and Saturday evenings are shot.

Every once in a while, there is a 12+ game homestand where the Twins have 4 series with different teams before going on the road, but it is becoming more rare. We all were sitting around reminiscing (at the bar after a game, of course) about the longest homestand anyone can remember, and it was either a 14 or 15-game marathon back in the early 90’s at Metrodome. Over 2 weeks of games. There was a big party at the end of that one.

This weekend has been a breeze - a 3-game homestand.

Couldn’t happen at a better time. The Twins play 17 of 20 games on the road with this little series dotted right in the middle. During the best days of summer, too. A little bit of “freedom” to actually get to enjoy July and August.

Couldn’t happen to a better team, too. Seattle. Typically, the Mariners are not a great draw. Not like the Yankees, Red Sox, or any Central team. Seattle is probably in the bottom 3 or 4 teams in the AL for bringing in a good beer-drinking crowd.

At least some of the regular fans probably looked at the schedule and thought, “The Twins are out of town for 2 weeks except for these 3 games with Seattle… We better go.” Made for a surprisingly good little homestand this weekend.

Now for another 10 days off. I’ll take it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pitching Match-ups

Saturday, July 17, 2010 (Twins vs. White Sox)
Pavano vs. Buehrle
Time of game: 1 hour and 52 minutes
9 cases of beer sold

Monday, July 19, 2010 (Twins vs. Indians)
Baker vs. Laffey
Time of game: 3 hours and 54 minutes
10.25 cases of beer sold

So for the extra 2 hours and 2 minutes of work, I made an extra 30 bucks. $15 per hour is lousy money when it comes to climbing stairs. I think every beer vendor would prefer Saturday’s game over Monday’s even though we all made less money. We are about efficiency and not greed.

Sales per hour is key, or better yet… Sales per STEP.

As a beer vendor, I look at the pitching match-ups to see what I am in for that evening. This year, Pavano and Liriano have potential for a fast game. Baker and Slowey mean... settle in for a long evening. Blackburn has been OK at home, but he has "turtle potential".

Beer vendors like the strikout guys and despise contact pitchers. Santana was awesome, Radke just made me work harder.

Then it is always nice to see an Ace pitching for the other team. David Price and Josh Beckett are always better to see in the lineup than Wade Davis and Tim Wakefield.

Bring on a pitchers' dual and maximize my "beer per stair" ratio.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Warm Beer HERE!

There is nothing worse for a beer vendor than bottles that come out of the “cooler” at about 60 degrees. Unfortunately that is what happened tonight at Target Field.

Last I checked, beer was best served ICE COLD… especially on a hot summer night.

It was a perfect night for baseball… 83 degrees at game time, and the beer, as it was handed to me out of the fridge was only about 25 degrees cooler than the air temperature.

NOT very refreshing!

This makes a beer vendor’s job 10 times harder. Sure, we carry ice 90% of the time on the beer, but usually it is only necessary to carry a small layer to drop the beer a little closer to the freezing point.

Tonight we had to pile on the ice. 10-20 pounds extra per tray. Usually a fully loaded tray before ice is about 50-60 pounds, tonight is was closer to 70 lbs. But, this does lower the temp of the beer about 20 degrees in about 10 minutes.

Proper product rotation was also important tonight. Grab the coldest ones, move the other beers over and hopefully by the time it got to the customer, it had reached a “pleasant” temp of about 40 degrees.

Tolerable on a warm day, but not providing that “aaaah” feeling that most casual beer drinkers are looking for. That temp where my customer takes their first sip, and says, “Oh yeah, that hits the spot”, and cannot wait to order the next one.

I want to sell beer that is as refreshing as that Coke was to Mean Joe Greene in the 70’s commercial where he threw his shirt to the kid (“Hey kid… Catch!)

We all did our best tonight. Everyone from management to vendors to stand managers and preps were icing the beer as early as possible to get it to cool down by the time it got to the customer. …and we succeeded, sort of.

Tomorrow, the forecast is for 91 degrees with a 70 degree dewpoint. Let’s hope the beer starts out colder so it can be ultra-refreshing in the heat of the day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Beer Vendors' Prayer

“Please let me sell lots of Beer,
and please let it be a fast game.”

People would think that every beer vendor wants to have a long game so there is an extended opportunity for people to drink/buy more. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Believe it or not, most fans have decided how many beers they can have at the game even before they walk through the gate. It seems fans come in with a set amount of money that they are going to spend… and they are going to spend this amount whether the game is 90 minutes long or a 3 hour and 40 minute marathon.

There are games when a beerman feels like he has been with the same case long enough to develop a personal relationship with each individual bottle. (Don’t worry, I ice every case to keep it cold.)

All beer vendors want to sell as many beers as possible at every game, but there is something each wishes for…

“The Fast Game.”

The 3 hour + game is brutal. Fans are nursing beers in the 5th and 6th just waiting for “last call” so they can have 1 more and either:

A. still drive home, or
B. leave a few dollars in their wallet for the next day

The last 2 nights have had games hovering around a 2 hour pace for the first 7 innings. These are a blessing when you are on game 5 of a 9 game homestand.

MLB is talking about replay and other changes that may lengthen a game. I say “No WAY!”

Keep the games moving. Tomorrow that 3 hour and 20 minute game may seem like a marathon.

If anyone would like to disagree… go to your local fitness club, get on the stairmaster, set it for 180 minutes and call me when the screen reads, “goal achieved”.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are we there yet?

6 games into a 9 game homestand, and I am just wiped out. I think all vendors are looking forward to Sunday Night. We all seem to need a break and some time away. 3 more games to go.

Reminds me of a time in the early 90's where we had a 15 game homestand. It was 15 games in 17 days. I cannot imagine doing that now. If I remember right, there was quite a party after the final game.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The "Walk Around"

It rained tonight… then it poured tonight and the grounds crew pulled the tarp out and sent us waiting for 90 minutes.

Funny thing happens in a rain delay. About 35,000 people head to the concourse with the same idea. The conversation goes something like this:

Fan #1: “Hey buddy, what do you want to do now that there is a delay?”

Fan #2: “Oh I don’t know, but we don’t want to stay here and get soaked.”

Fan #1: “Well why don’t we head up to the concourse and walk around…”

Two dreaded words spoken by too many people… “Walk Around”

This starts a scene that is vaguely similar to how many college students will fit in this Volkswagen? In a matter of minutes there are 25,000 fans in an area made to hold about 5,000. Some going left and some going right. (Halftime at a football game is exactly the same way.)

This “walk around” is completely unproductive and creates something more like cattle being herded into a stockyard for slaughter. There are many wide open spaces at Target Field, but eventually people are channeled through several narrow hallways in certain areas. And it can get ugly.

A Beerman can see it firsthand. Some people get in line for food, some get in line for the bathroom, some keep moving, and there are even a few that decide they must stop their group right in the middle of this zoo to have a conversation. Each one of these lines and mobs creates more congestion, which leads to less “walking around” and more “being stuck in one spot”.

My advice… Instead of a “walk around” on the next rain delay, find a nice beer vendor to stand next to and chat with until you need your next beer. At least you won’t be stuck in the crowd without that Bud Light.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wanted... Budweiser Knee Pads

I wore shorts today at the game. It really felt weird.

After 22 years of vending in long pants, the weather in Minneapolis dictated that I should try shorts for the very first time.

85 degrees and sunny. Why not…?

Now all I need is some Budweiser knee pads for advertising. If anyone sees a pair on E-bay, let me know.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Double Header => 2nd set of clothes.

Current conditions: 40 degrees and Rain/Snow.

No stairs for me tonight. The Twins will make up the game as part of a double-header tomorrow.

My report times on Saturday are 11 AM and 6 PM. That's not enough time to go home between and do laundry. I have 2 of everything except for knee pads. Fortunately the “knee pit” doesn’t smell as bad as the armpit when it comes to sweating.

For the fans, my personal recommendation for the second game of this double header is to buy beer from a vendor that actually changed clothes between games.

How will you know…?

Trust me, you will know.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My beer looks good on TV.

Every beer vendor gets on TV once in a while. Whether it is appearing behind the play or having a foul ball bounce near you, it is impossible to avoid the limelight. (Besides, it's good for sales.)

Here is my most recent 3.4 seconds of fame.

(At least the beer looked good.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

Last night was horrible. I couldn’t sell a thing. I felt like everyone in the ballpark knew I had leprosy and might catch it if they bought a beer from me. (Before anyone asks… I don’t have any contagious diseases. Please don’t stop buying beer.)

Sure it was Monday and temps were in the 50’s… but why were the guys in the rows next to me selling beers and I was just getting exercise. It just seemed like wherever I went, beer was not needed.

I went home feeling horrible and wondered why I was the worst beer vendor at Target Field.

Seriously! I felt like a ball player after a 0 for 5 night with 3 strikeouts. What was wrong with me?

Fast forward to tonight… I was a selling machine. I was one of the top vendors in the building. Every customer was buying in sets of 4 and was waiting for me to come back. I kept the right mix of beer in my tray, so I almost always had the right beer for my customers.

What was different? Was it my attitude? Did I smile more? Maybe I smelled bad last night. What did I do differently tonight…?

The answer…

Absolutely NOTHING.

All the sales advice by Zig Ziglar, Dale Carnegie and Jeffery Gittomer means very little when it comes to being in the right place at the right time. I’d like to see one of those 3 guys carry 50 lbs. of beer and ice up and down the steps on an off night.

Beer vending is so much more than just having a positive mental attitude or “winning friends and influencing people”. There are just nights when a beer vendor isn't in the right place at the right time.

Fortunately there are other nights when I feel like Norm from “Cheers” and everyone shouts my name when I get to their section.

Hopefully there will be fewer nights like Monday and more nights like tonight.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Those Stairs aren't so Bad.

Occasionally, while vending, I will reach the top of an aisle that I have just been working and hear the following comment from a fan that has just climbed the same steps with me:

“Wow, those stairs are tough.”

It is usually not said directly to me, but to another member of the fans’ group. Of course, the outgoing vendor in me usually pipes in and says, “Aw, they’re not so bad.” Usually the fan looks at me and sees my sweaty condition carrying over 40 lbs. of adult beverages and says, “I don’t know how you guys can do this…”

Hopefully it generates a sale. But if not a sale, maybe it makes them feel like the climb wasn’t so bad.

I’ve probably used the same line about 500 times and almost always gotten the same response,

… until today…

Today, on a beautiful sunny day at Target Field, I had the identical situation.

After reaching the top of section 106, I hear the man behind me say, “Man, those stairs are tough.” I turn around and see the face of a fairly athletic 25 year old and say what I always say, “Aw, they are not so bad.”

Then he said something that I had never heard before… Something completely unexpected. Something that left me completely speechless.

He said…

“They are if you only have 1 leg…”

GULP! I felt an uncomfortable sense of dread that seemed to last forever, and then… I looked down.

Sure enough, this guy had a prosthetic right leg from about mid-thigh.

I was absolutely devastated and thought to myself… OK idiot, how do you get yourself out of this one??????

Thinking quickly, I said, “I bet you get extra thirsty climbing those stairs.” Believe it or not, he gave me something to the effect of the, “Aw… they’re not so bad” line.

I sensed recovery and said if he showed me his ID, I would buy him a beer.

He showed me his Minnesota Driver’s license and it was 8-10-1985. We laughed about the experience, I handed him a Mich Golden Light, told him to be careful on the stairs and we both went on our way.

I saw him again about an inning later and he handed me a couple bucks and said he forgot to tip me earlier. It was nice to know that everything was cool between us. He invited me to stop down later and he would buy a round for his buddies.

It was not surprising when I stopped by later that the group remembered me. I think the story had been told a few times before I got there.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cold WET Beer Here!

Today it rained at Target Field. It felt so strange.

After years of working inside of the always 70 degree climate controlled Metrodome, where the only moisture on my shirt was either my own perspiration or the spray of a warm Miller Lite blowing up over me… the rain felt pretty good.

It wasn’t enough rain to force a delay, but just enough to get everything quite wet. I saw ushers down in the Champions Club seating area grabbing towels and drying the seats for those who paid $275 a ticket to sit there.

Common… what’s the big deal if your nice pants get a little wet? This is baseball, not polo.

The neatest thing about the rain at Target Field today is that you could smell it coming. You know that smell… Where the rain gets about a mile away and the wind blows that rain smell toward you faster than the rain can get there. We all knew it was coming.

The crowd even enjoyed the rain. In the strangest of all cheers ever chanted at any sporting event, I heard “OUTDOOR Baseball!” chanted by the fans over and over as the rain started to fall.

This rain was something that no fan had felt at a home Twins game in almost 30 years.

There is a generation out there… MINE to be exact… that has no idea what it is like to feel rain on your shoulders as you watch a game.

The fans said, “Bring it on.”
… and I enjoyed walking the Target Field steps and shouting,

“Cold, Wet, Beer – HERE!”

… in the rain.

Baseball belongs outside…

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Look UP!

Tomorrow is the Target Field opener. There are many things to look forward to… The first pitch, the first hit, the first home run, etc…

I am looking forward to seeing all of those things, but there is one thing that will define Target Field for me Monday that will be like nothing else. It is the ultimate experience of an “outdoor” sporting event.

Not green grass, not blue sky, not even a little rain in the forecast for tomorrow… This is better.

Even with 2 World Series Championships, Twins fans have NEVER experienced this event at a home game. It was something never seen at the Dome or at Met Stadium. The Vikings have never been able to do this at a home game.

This is different!

It is truly THE symbol of an outdoor sporting event…


Six jets from the Air National Guard flying in formation right over the stadium at the conclusion of the Star Spangled Banner… close enough to the ground to completely drown out any other noise in the ballpark. It is the true patriotic symbol after the National Anthem at any “outdoor” professional sporting event.

Oh sure, we had the occasional helicopter take off from HCMC and make a little extra noise in the Dome… or we saw the occasional DC-10 shadow on the Teflon roof as it passed overhead.

Nothing can compare to the ballpark flyover.
The Twins won’t do this at every game. For everyone at the game tomorrow, enjoy the very first Flyover at any Minnesota sporting event EVER.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Observations From The Aisle.

I’ve sold beer to Vikings fans, Gophers fans, Wild fans and Twins fans. Baseball fans are the best…

What is it that separates Twins fans from all others…?

If you were at the exhibition games this past weekend you saw it.

Jacques Jones was an average to above average player when he was with the Twins from 1999-2005. He had a lot of potential and played an important role with the Twins returning to competitive baseball in 2002. He also was famous for swinging at strike 3 when the pitch was out of the strike zone... WAY out of the strike zone.

Jones decided to test the free agent market in 2005 and left Minnesota for the Chicago Cubs. His career has not been the same since. He has bounced around with several teams since then.

Jacque signed a minor league contract with the Twins in February and will not survive the final roster cut to start the season with the Twins.

None of this matters to Twins fans. Jones received standing ovations at both games. This showed great class and great support for a player who is still a fan favorite.

Twins fans “get it”. They would love to see him return to his old form and play a role in winning a championship this year.

Hopefully Twins fans will get that chance to see Jacque Jones play baseball at Target Field in late October, 2010.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2 Games Worked, 2 Important Observations

After working my second game at Target Field, two things jump out at me.

First and foremost… Target Field is absolutely STUNNING! There is not a bad seat in the house and the look and feel of outdoor baseball is fabulous! The blue sky, the Plaza, light rail outside left field, the real green grass, and even some of the quirks are fantastic.

Believe it or not… even the Hot Dogs are better.

Every part of this stadium (strike that)... Every part of this ballpark is first rate.

But second…

The more things change, the more they stay the same. There were still crowds in the concourses; the lines at the concession stands were still long.

Sure, maybe after the newness of Target Field wears off, it is possible that these things will improve. Someday fans will stop wandering around just to look at the stadium and they will be done trying to figure out what to eat and settle in on their favorites.

But for now… Stay in your seats and out of those lines if you want a beer.

Beer vendors are learning how to find the quickest way through the masses to bring you your favorite adult beverage.

See you at the Game.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

What am I supposed to wear????

It used to be so easy...

Black pants, knee pads, white shirt and Twins hat. In the controlled atmosphere in the Dome, there were no surprises. I took the exact same clothes to each game (YES, they were washed!)

I didn't have to check weather reports or worry about frostbite. At the Dome, it was always 69 degrees and overcast (in teflon).

Friday, April 2nd is the first day of Twins Baseball in Target Field. Sure it is just an exhibition game against the St. Louis Cardinals, but unless I want to spend 3 hours shivering, a game in early April means being prepared for the weather.

The last couple of days have been fantastic in Minnesota. It actually reached 82 degrees today. Unfortunately the forecast for tomorrow is 60% chance of rain and 60 degrees at gametime.

Jacket weather.

... or maybe just a long sleeve shirt underneath.

I have to try to stay warm but not overheat climbing thousands of steps and carrying 25-50 lbs. of adult beverages.

It used to be so easy...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My First Beer at Target Field

I was apprehensive taking out my first case of beer at Target Field. Yeah, I know… I had done this 1200+ times before at the Dome. This was different.

I remember my final beer sale for a Twins game at Metrodome. Section 127, Row 17,

Who would buy my first beer in the new stadium?

Fortunately, it didn’t take long… My first beer sale at Target Field… Section 106, Row 15. He bought a Mich. Golden Light. I shook his hand and informed him that he was my first beer sale in Target Field and then probably bored him with my vending history.

This beer meant something to me.

I could not tell you who bought my first beer at the Dome. That was 21 years ago, and it was just a part time job back them.

21 years later, selling beer at Twins games has become a crazy part of my life and I wanted to make sure that I knew who bought my first beer at Target Field.

Thanks John. Hope you 2 enjoyed the game today.

Getting My Feet/Left Foot Wet

Saturday, March 27, 2010… I finally got a chance to climb the steps at Target Field. Orientation is over, alcohol training is complete, and I have learned the entire history of DNC (the concession company at TF) twice… It is time to take my first steps in the new stadium.

Wait a minute; these stairs are not the same as they were in the Dome.

I used to know every step at Metrodome. After 21 years, I could have probably vended in my sleep and not stumbled. Honestly, I could tell you every spot in the Dome that had a step over 10” deep. There were a half dozen of these oddball steps, and they were marked by yellow tape so fans didn’t trip. People in sections 117 and 118 used to count the number of people fell each night on a step about 14 rows up. Seriously!

Each stair at the Dome was a step down or a step up (depending on your direction *chuckle*) just like the stairs in your house.

This stadium is different.

The steps in the lower level are long. 2 steps across and then 1 step down. It is brutal. I feel like Mr. Krabs from Spongebob walking down the aisles. Left, Right, Down, Right, Down, Right, Down, Right. My left foot was taking all the impact because of the design of the building.

By the 3rd inning, I was noticing a definite favoring of my left leg and tried to switch it up. It wasn’t easy. Target Field has a railing in the middle of every aisle, on every level, whether it is needed or not. Leading with my right foot either caused me to hit the post, or the fan in the aisle seat. (I’ll save that story for later)
This stadium will take a lot of getting used to.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mauer IN, Nathan OUT.

The Joe Mauer contract is absolutely fantastic news to this beer vendor. Not that I have a man-crush for #7 or anything, but he is the reigning MVP and the best player at his position in baseball.

The secret to any Beerman's success is a successful team. A successful team puts happy fans in the seats. ... and happy fans drink lots of BEER. Joe Mauer brings in lots of happy fans.

Unfortunately every successful baseball team also needs a great closer. The Twins had that in Joe Nathan... until today, when Joe decided to have Tommy John surgery to end his season.

As important as Joe Mauer is to the Twins, I would argue that Joe Nathan is even more important. The team went over a month in 2009 without #7 and still won the American League Central in game #163.

How will they fare in 2010 without Joe Nathan for the entire season...?

A successful team has happy fans. Happy fans drink lots of beer. Every successful team must have a solid closer.

The Twins no longer have that...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Views of Target Field

So far, I have spent 9 hours in training at Target Field for a position that mostly requires the ability to climb a lot of steps. Not sure why we sat in a classroom so much. If they really wanted to train beer vendors properly, they would bring in Stairmasters, set the timer for 180 minutes, and say, “Alright, CLIMB!” Anyone who couldn’t finish the set… Go Home!

At least we got to see some of the stadium this time. We sat up in Legend’s Club for part of the training. This was my first view of Target Field. It looks nice, to say the least… even on an overcast, 50-degree day in March.

The concourses are open and very wide. Anyone who has been in the Dome for a sold-out game will appreciate this. The outfield upper deck seats even look like a fun place to watch the Twins play. Unlike the same seats at Metrodome where you were about 4 miles from home plate, these are right on top of the action. The steps look a bit steep; but at least there won’t be a time delay to hear the crack of the bat.

Got my uniform today. The bosses apparently wanted us to be noticed out there. It is a fluorescent green, neon propelled, 9-volt battery polo shirt. Pictures just don’t do this shirt justice, but this car kind of gives you an idea of the color.

13 days to the first event
19 days to the exhibition games with St. Louis
29 days to Opening Day at Target Field.

See you then.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


It's like starting all over. Yesterday I received the call I have been waiting for...

“We would like to offer you a position as a Beer Vendor at Target Field.”

Crazy to be offered a position for something that I have done for over half my life. In March of 1989 I still remember interviewing in a small cubicle with John Stoltz for a position at the Metrodome that sounded just like this one. Since then, I have worked over 1000 Twins games. We all had a great thing going at the Dome, now everything is different. It used to be so easy, now we are all rookies.

Orientation is Wednesday from 5 PM to 10 PM. Really, 5 hours to introduce me to something that I have done for 20 years. Oh well, I’m game. If that is what it takes to get my foot in the door in Target Field, I will play the game.

Yeah, yeah, Yeah… New stadium, new company, new “blue sky” and “real grass”, now located 14 blocks west. Same job climbing steps and selling beer to the best fans in Minnesota. What could be so different?


Everything is new. It used to be so easy… I knew where the secret free parking spots were, I knew exactly how long it took to drive downtown, I knew what uniform to grab, we had a great bar to hang out at after games… Hell, I even knew the security guards (Dave and “Hawk”) to sneak in to other events.

Now what? I guess I will get a preview on Wednesday.