Ahh, That's More Like It
April 8, 2009 2:45 AM
No, the sky is not falling.
It's still hanging up there, floating on a cushion of pressurized air. And tonight, beneath its Glorious Grayness, beat the heart of a team that said, "We will win tonight." Then they did.
Sweetest words of spring: "Twins win."
It was another night when some might have thought twice about going to the game if it had been outdoors. In fact, Pat Neshek wants you to know that the players actually will miss the place for some very specific and plausible reasons.
In fact, I know that plenty of fans have not actually jumped on board the new ballpark bandwagon. They don't want to bundle up. They don't want to put on sun screen. They don't want to watch World Series highlights on the scoreboard during a rain delay.
They will come around. Or not. Doesn't matter. The Season of Goodbye is now well underway.
As mentioned yesterday, as a tribute to the old gray mare, I'm going to try and think of 81 Things I Won't Miss About The Metrodome (one per home game).
Thus, TIWMATM #2: Revolving doors.
Those are a crazy-ass thing to put on a ballpark, don't you think? I mean, ballparks should have great big gates that swing open at the end of the game to let fans stream out in either elation or despair. But stream is the optimal word here. There's no streaming out a revolving door.
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
But there very nearly was bloodshed last night at the one I passed through. It was moving at about Mach 2 when two of us tried to get into it at the same time. I won, she lost. But we both nearly got squished, and it would not have been pretty...
Instrument of evil.
Returning for a moment to last night's TIWMATM -- the sound system -- I probably don't have to say any more for you to know what I mean, but I'm going to.
There we were in section 233, row 21. That is one of those spots where the speakers are trained like a laser, and you get the full force of their nasal noisiness.
Basically, you can forget about having a conversation between innings (and I refuse to have meaningful conversation while someone is trying to hit, pitch or field). The sound seems to get louder every year, and somehow also more obnoxious. (This is separate from the ratcheting up of the general obnoxiousness of the promotions.)
Is it louder? Does anyone know? I mean, my hearing continues to deteriorate as I age, but the Dome continues to sound louder and louder. Are they trying to make up for the likelihood that we all lost a little bit of our hearing in there last summer?
If that sound system hasn't been tuned recently, it's about time. Modern digital technology can do a lot more with those crummy speakers than is being done now. It would certainly be possible to create a mix that is present but not deafening. That should be the goal. MSFC? Hello?
But why am I yammering? You didn't come here to listen to me going on and on. You want pictures. I know it. Here they are:
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
Long ago I wrote about the history of the ballpark site. Back then I had no idea that the plaza would be stretching up from the old rail yard toward Target Center. So I didn't even bother checking the block on which the plaza would sit.
Well it turns out that that very block was, for decades, the site of the City Market, now known as the Farmer's Market.
In fact, trains carrying produce would come into the yard where the playing field now will be, and people would simply walk out to a box car and pick out what they wanted to buy.
I know it has nothing to do with baseball, but the connection with an earlier era's primary type of commerce seems somehow appropriate. (Click the above image to see the 1908 view from a warehouse that used to sit where the A ramp is now. It's a view of the very block on which the plaza is being built.)
Last night I searched and searched, but there were no Gameday scorecard vendors to be found. So I broke down and handed a buck to The Man (actually, it was a rather young-looking girl) only to find that it was stuffed with Gameday-brand analysis.
I checked their web site for some explanation, but none was forthcoming. Did they give up? Sell out? Cut a deal?
As one of their founding advertisers, I'm very curious. Anyone know?
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This page was last modified on January 16, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
(Click to enlarge.)
Looking through the Oliva gate, you can see the outfield stands.
Guthrie Theater (original design colors)
Fencing is going up all along the plaza
Can you name that field? (Braemer Park, Edina)
The entry from the platform to the ballpark.
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
The brown grass was left over from the first attempt at groundbreaking (canceled after the 35W bridge collapse)
The base of the old Met Stadium flagpole. (The plaque refers to the "Flame of Freedom" and not the origin of the pole.)
Integrating the administration building was really a great idea. Actually, there will be more things inside than just offices, but that will probably be some sweet space.
I saw it at another park...
Flowers. Real flowers.
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
Freight trains run in very close proximity (Jerry Bell was standing at my left elbow when I took this picture)
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Twins in HD on the big board
This is what passes for imagination at Miller Park -- they didn't even get the shape right! (Source: LP)
This looks like a Twins Pub, but is actually the scoreboard operations.
The back gates at Comerica park, like everything else, a bit overwrought.
This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.
Special guests in the trees!
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
These images are found at the top of the staircase, which leads to the Suite Level.
A peek through a tiny gate.
Glove from above
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures