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Nathan's column: Passing the time at Target Field

A couple of weeks ago I made my first trip to Target Field for a Twins game. I gather I was about two years too late to catch anything resembling a quality home team, but, hey, the tickets were free. And while it's not easy to tell from the photo I took, they were in fact in the stadium.

I'm not saying I was a long way from home plate, but I feel like the sign at the railing warning fans to be aware of items leaving the playing field was a bit optimistic. I'm pretty sure Mark McGwire couldn't have reached my seats after downing an HGH shake and borrowing the $6 Million Man's arms.

None of that really mattered, though. The stadium itself is beautiful, there are plenty of concession stands and if you get tired of watching actual baseball -- or whatever it is the Twins play these days -- you can go play the video game version for free in the concourse.

I'm not sure why anyone would do that, but then, there's a lot I don't understand about baseball.

I knew I was in trouble when I realized more than an hour had passed and we were still less than one-third of the way through the game.

I was raised to see sporting events through to the end. I've stayed to the bitter end in blowout losses and big but boring wins against overmatched opponents. The only time I can remember leaving a sporting event early was a few years ago when I walked out of a pre-season game between the Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. Although, to be fair, by the third quarter I'm not sure it counted as an actual NFL football game anymore.

For that matter, I'm not sure most of the Vikings' last season counted as professional football.

We're talking about baseball, though, and baseball tested me like probation officers test Lindsay Lohan. By the time the game was over I had spent more than four hours watching a game that was approximately 96 percent guys standing around waiting for someone to pitch the ball or someone to hit the ball or a squirrel to run out on the field. Anything.

Later that night on Facebook (Motto: Like Talking to Your Friends Without the Hassle of Actual Conversation) I suggested that baseball was maybe just a little bit boring. A friend came to the sport's defense, claiming that America's pastime is a sport for people with an attention span.

It would have to be, I guess. Vikings stadium debates move faster than the typical baseball game.

I know some of this is my fault. I'm sure there are plenty of nuances about baseball I don't appreciate. I don't know which Twins player struggles against left handed pitchers or why the left fielder just took six steps to his right or why they don't just settle tie games with sunflower seed-spitting contests.

I suppose all of this makes it sound like I didn't enjoy my trip to Minnesota's favorite stadium named for a discount store. That's not the case. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm just not sure it needed all that baseball.