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NEAPOLIS -- With the news that Target Field will host the 2014 All-Star Game, Twins executives, coaches and players couldn't contain their excitement on Wednesday.
Commissioner Bud Selig was on hand to make the announcement, and praised the Twins for being a model franchise and for building the beautiful downtown ballpark that opened in 2010.
Twins president Dave St. Peter acknowledged it was a long road to make Target Field a reality after the team spent 28 years playing indoors at the Metrodome but that he's happy Minnesota fans will be able to experience a Midsummer Classic once again.
"I think we're all disappointed by the way we've played on the field, but the reality is we're humbled by the Commissioner's comments," St. Peter said. "We're in a better place than we were 10 years ago. Not only would only would we not be hosting an All-Star Game, but by every measure this is one of the best baseball markets in the country. So that's what I'm really excited about -- to showcase in 2014 how great this ballpark is.
"Our fans deserve it. They've been as passionate and loyal as any in baseball. For what they've put up with on the field the last two years, they deserve an All-Star Game and a lot more."
The Twins last hosted the All-Star Game in 1985 at the Metrodome, when catcher Joe Mauer was just 2 years old.
So the St. Paul native and five-time All-Star was understandably elated to hear the event will be heading to the Twin Cities.
"I think it's gonna be great," Mauer said. "Not just the baseball stadium, but the city. I think when an All-Star Game goes to a city, the whole city is in a buzz. I'm definitely happy for this city and this state to get an All-Star Game and showcase the stadium. It's going to be awesome."
Reliever Glen Perkins, who grew up in nearby Stillwater was also just 2 when the All-Star Game was last in Minnesota. He doesn't have any memories of that Midsummer Classic but added the event helps grow the game.
"For kids that do get a chance to go and see it, it's good for baseball wherever it's at," Perkins said. "Here in Minnesota, it'll be great. It's a goal I think for every guy here to make that game. To know that's going to be here, I think that's going to be on the back of everyone's mind. To have a chance to play in front of your crowd in something like that would be pretty sweet. I think everyone will be excited. Hopefully we'll be able to put a good team on the field and have a few guys to represent."
It's not the first time, however, that the All-Star Game will be outdoors in Minnesota, as the Twins also hosted the 1965 Midsummer Classic at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.
"This is what Minnesotans and all Twins fans love -- the outdoors," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you live up here, you fight the winters and you enjoy the summers. They're outdoor people. So outdoor baseball is what it's all about. This ballpark is as good as any in the league, and it should hold an All-Star Game."
The All-Star Game has evolved over time and is now a week-long showcase that features events such as the Home Run Derby and FanFest.
First baseman Justin Morneau, who has represented the Twins in four All-Star Games, said it's more than just the actual game for the fans to enjoy.
"It's huge," Morneau said. "It's almost like having a Super Bowl for baseball. You have the Futures Game. You have the FanFest. You have the celebrity softball game. You have all that stuff, all the parties that come along with it. It's a great baseball city. It's well deserved. It's just an exciting time for everybody."