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?
"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Standing, standing, standing.
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
The big glove will go on that circle. Note the gap between the plaza and the ramp. That's 394 you can see through there.
The county of my birth!
This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).
Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.
This little item stands just to the south of the site, where the volleyball courts used to be. It has to be related to exterior finishing elements, which means this is the first glimpse of the actual stone to be used. Very buttery.
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
A view of construction from the B ramp. This looks toward Seventh Street, over what will be Gate 34 (the main entrance).
This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.
The outfield stands as viewed through the unnumbered gate
Work on the pavilion in center.
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)
This will be a bar/restaurant.
Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.
This would be easy to miss, but I found it on a cart located directly behind the Batter's Eye seating on the upper concourse in center field.
For those not wishing to suffer through my media rant, please enjoy this picture of my lilacs in full bloom.
The view from the upper concourse.
Let's be honest and say that this promenade, which will face the HERC plant, won't be the most exciting part of the streetscape. It has to be provided for circulation reasons, but there won't be much to see unless vendors and other attractions take root here.
Life in the shadows
I love this view of the Basilica.
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
The images on that wall appear to be of great Twins moments in history.
Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction
The entrance at Gate 3.
Still some work to be done on the canopy.
This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?
The blue line now indicates where the back of the accessible seating ends and standing room begins.