The names and faces on the field were familiar, but with some natural sunlight, the Minnesota Twins just seemed completely different.
That's the kind of feeling you get when you walk past the gates into Target Field, the new home of the Minnesota Twins.
Sure, I was a little late to the party, seeing that the stadium opened in April, but the new park feel is still very fresh.
It's even got that new stadium smell, where sauerkraut and fresh grass mesh together like a Labor Day barbeque. It beats the smell of generic hot dogs, spilled beer and recycled air that encased the Metrodome when Dollar Dome Dog Night went along with Student Night.
Outdoor baseball is nothing new for me: I've been to Angels Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, and Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
The visit to Target Field was like going to Disneyland. The game is secondary to the experience, which was a shame considering the game featured Francisco Liriano against Ubaldo Jimenez, the National League's best pitcher this season.
Instead, you want to walk around and capture every square inch of this new field. Like Disneyland, everything is too expensive and it takes more than one visit to see it all. Only instead of mouse ears surrounding the park, it's red targets.
It's still hard to fathom that Target Field is the property of the Twins, instead of the road trips a fan would take to Milwaukee or Kansas City to see their hometown team under the bright sun.
It's the IDS Center and the Target Center peaking up over right field, not the Gateway Arch of St. Louis, or the ridiculous yellow slide in the Milwaukee outfield.
In center field is Minnie and Paul welcoming fans, not the pinwheels for the White Sox or the columns and rows of folded blue chairs that used to make up the outfield ambience of the Metrodome.
At the Metrodome, the feel of Twins baseball came with sore necks, inaudible audio and the in-home charm of a Sam's Club.
The stigma surrounding the Metrodome was gritty, quirky and ugly, but it was ours. It's hard to believe that Twins fans get to have this kind of luxury around our baseball team.
Outside Target Field, some things remain the same. It's the same mass of people trying to get out of the stadium after a loss. Street performers using makeshift instruments still corral around the exiting Twins fans. And ballpark patrons still have to manuever about the nearly-impossible maze of Minneapolis streets.
With all the hoopla surrounding the Twin Cities' newest baseball cathedral, it's comforting to know the game between the white lines remains the same.