In 2012, Territory Train expanded its touring to cover the Minor League circuit of the Twins organization. The organization’s local, low-A affiliate last summer was the Beloit Snappers (of Wisconsin). This year, the Twins moved their minor league affiliation to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to become the Kernels. These tours are unique from the rest of the trips we provide, so we’d like to give you a bit of an online simulation and pictorial of what to expect.
Fire up the bus!
The bus stop: We use the Walmart parking lot (in Woodbury, MN) as our meeting place for departure. You’re welcome to leave your cars in the lot for the duration of the weekend.
The bus ride: It’s a very comfortable ride. Keep in mind, these are the very buses from Lorenz Bus Service that the majority of MLB teams utilize when they’re in the Twin Cities. Feel free to bring a cooler full of whatever refreshments and snacks you enjoy, and let our driver take care of the rest.
Driver: Ed has been our legendary chauffeur since day one. He’ll have us mowin’ through those Iowa corn fields in no time. And will likely be spitballing jokes at a similar pace as well.
Player luncheon: This is easily the most talked-about portion of our Minor League touring package. The morning commute on Saturday will take us straight to the restaurant (TBD) for our Territory Train-exclusive luncheon, where we’ll be greeted by Kernel players, hitting coach Tommy Watkins, and more. (pictured: Snappers catcher Kyle Knudson [left] and Snappers pitcher Ryan O’Rourke [right]). These guys are there to eat lunch, socialize with you, field autograph requests, take pictures with you — almost anything you like. The tone of the event is really quite informal. So approach the players, say hello, introduce yourself. They really couldn’t be more gentlemanly and…
Player luncheon: …truly affable guys, willing to answer questions about nearly anything (starting pitcher Tim Shibuya pictured [above]). You’ll get candid responses about clubhouse culture, in-game strategy, life on the road, slump-busting, etc. The guys love the game just as much as you do, and love to share their experiences.
Player luncheon: …and then, of course, there’s lunch! Last year was such a great turnout, we ran out of tables. (Former Twin, and Kernels hitting coach Tommy Watkins [left] and prolific Twins blogger Seth Stohs [right]).
Hotel: We usually stay at 2- and 3-star level hotels. The bus’s tour guide will check everybody in and provide each party with room keys upon arrival.
Ballpark: After we get all checked in, we’re off to the ballpark. We plan on getting there early enough to…
Ballpark: …see warm-ups, batting & fielding practice, and scout the food vendors etc.
Ballpark: You’ll probably get to bug these guys while they’re on the field, too (pictured: Tommy Watkins).
Ballpark: One major advantage to Minor League ball is just how proximal we can arrange our seating to be. Views like this (above) aren’t all that uncommon.
Ballpark: We like to give our fans the opportunity to be right on top of the action.
Ballpark: While it may not seem like a main attraction, the mid-inning Minor League entertainment is often remarkable and worth a good laugh.
Ballpark: We’ll make it over to the ballpark for both a game on Saturday and Sunday. That’s 18 innings of scouting for anybody keeping score at home.
Join us: Our Minor League touring adventures are undoubtedly our most unique offering, and gives our guests the very best value around — and yet offers so many priceless opportunities along the way as well. So gather up your crew. Territory Train, Tommy, Ed, and the Kernels will be takin’ care of ya this year.