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Thursday, April 5, 2012

No butts about it: Target Field's last smoking locale snuffed out

Article by: PAUL WALSH,
Star Tribune, April 5, 2012

From the team that brought you the bellowing admonitions of Bob Casey -- "No smoking in the Metrodome" -- the Twins are removing the last place to light up on Target Field property.

For the team's first two seasons at Target Field, smokers were relegated to a corral outside left field on the promenade, cutting that number down from two locations at the Metrodome.

That final nicotine outpost will no longer exist at Monday's home opener, after the Minnesota Ballpark Authority came to the team with the idea to make Target Field smoke-free.

"When wind was blowing the right way, second-hand smoke would back into the main concourse, and it would even get up into escalators and waft up into the club level," said Twins spokesman Kevin Smith. "That was very unpleasant."

Smith said the team surveyed fans and employees "and got a resounding response that this is in the best interests of everyone."

The ban includes not only inside the stadium but all of Target Plaza, the sidewalk along 7th Street, the promenade on the west side and Target Field's side of 5th Street.

As for any fan wanting to leave at any point for a smoke and then returning, Smith said, "You may not. And that's not a smoking thing. That's just our long-standing policy of having a no re-entry rule."

The smoking ban applies to any goings on at Target Field, whether it's a concert or a private gathering such as a wedding.

When the ballpark authority meets on Friday, chairman Steve Cramer said he will suggest reviving the public address audio of the late Bob Casey's fan-pleasing directive starting Monday.

"I think that would be a great idea, sort of nostalgia of the Dome," Cramer said. "It's certainly drilled into all of our memories."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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