Guest Column: Joe McGrath on Target Field

 Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League.

Facilities are important for a sports franchise. You’ve got to have a good building in order to gets fans to buy tickets. Now, if there is anybody who understands the need to be wise with your pennies, it’s me. With all the stuff I had to deal with back in the Federal League, one thing that was a constant was we never had any money. That means you learn how to be cheap when you need to be. It also means you learn where not to shave the dime.

Up in Minnesota, the Twins finally got out of that god-awful Metrodome. While everybody so far seems to think the new ballpark is quite a step up, there is one crucial area where Minnesota may have dropped the ball…the bathrooms.

I’ll be honest. Now that players have unions and such so you can’t force them into modeling at fashion shows, you’ve got to sell beer to make any money anymore. And if you are selling beer, your bathrooms better not cause any problems. Nobody buys a lot of beer if they know they are going to have to stand in line to pee.

The problem is really simple. They got cute on the budget and didn’t build enough men’s rooms. Target Field contains 401 “fixtures” for women, and only 266 for men.  I understand that a common criticism of the Metrodome was a lack of female facilities. But building over 400 of them at the expense of the men’s rooms is insane. A urinal takes up half as space as a stall, so probably three-quarters of the floor space alloted to bathrooms is taken up by women’s rooms.

That’s just the first place the numbers don’t add up. Target Field seats 39,500 fans, and the vast majority of those are men. Men also drink more beer at the ballpark than do women. This is exactly why the men’s bathroom should be like the Express lane at the supermarket; You’re in, you’re out, you’re done. This is also exactly why you cater to the men in a sports venue. 

The bottom line is that despite all the efforts to make women like sports, Twins games are pretty much a sausage-fest. There are no lines for the women’s room because there are just not that many women at the ballpark.

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