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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Midway Stadium (seen from our tailgating spot across the parking lot)
The season was perfectly bookended by Mick Sterling on the plaza
Print press box
A timeline of design and construction of the ballpark. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Desolate. Dirty. Mysterious. Expensive. Unlikely.
Red is old Yankee Stadium. This diagram comes from FieldOfSchemes.com
Yes, it's pretty tempting to just walk right in...
This is where the plaza meets First Avenue
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
A closer look at the louvers
Pile driving in progress
Yep, that's real grass down there, son.
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
The entrances are all the way around on the other side.
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Look beyond the gigantic hand (a hounds tooth jacket? really?) and you'll get a glimpse of the main grandstand configuration. The two (or is it three?) levels of suites are visible, as is the design of the so-called "split upper deck," and the extensive use of limestone for decorative accents. Let's hope these little touches don't get cut as costs increase, because they make a nice tie-in from the outside of the park to the inside. Of most interest to me is the way that the very best seats are physically separated from all the rest of the seats by that limestone. There will be virtually no way to sneak into these seats. On one level, that's a somewhat sad design feature...
This is a great spot for casually watching the game.
You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.
OK, just how many servings per container?
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
Lots of self-portraits were taken here after the final out.
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
"I've never seen them do that before," said a Metropolitan Club waiter as I snapped this picture.
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
Open house skeptics
Limestone will cover this pretty soon, but for now you can see where the escalator is.
Also viewed from the B ramp, that's the upper deck in left field.
One of the many supports being built over the tracks.
Finally, a night game image -- complete with fireworks! (OK, it's either a construction photo which has been Photoshopped, or some lucky photographer spent the Fourth of July in the upper deck watching the fireworks over the river. Cool either way.)