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Some St. Peter Answers

May 31, 2006 2:57 PM

After reading that Twins president Dave St. Peter was welcoming input from fans by email, I sent him a quick message. The mainstream media doesn't seem to be overly concerned with good ballpark design, content to cover mostly just the political and financial aspects of the project.

But I have questions and concerns (expressed extensively over at DTFC) about the design, and took the opportunity to go directly to the horse's mouth. I was a little bit surprised to receive a personal response within about an hour!

I decided to start with a few basic questions which had come up in the forums. Hoefully this can be the start of a direct conversation with the decision-makers.

RP: Has HOK been officially retained to design the park or will other architectural firms be considered?

DSP: While HOK has done all the conceptual design work, they have not been officially retained to do the final designs. The Twins will select an architect in coordination with a newly formed ballpark authority (to be named in the next 30 days).

RP: Is there someone on your staff whose job it will be to oversee the detail customization?

DSP: Yes, the Twins will appoint a "point" person on the project (in addition to employing an owners rep).

RP: How much of the preliminary design is already fixed? (For example, is the diamond orientation still up for discussion? The exterior facade? Outfield dimensions?)

DSP: Much of the design remains up for discussion. That being said, certain site constraints create limitations.

RP: How much input do you think the fans will be able to have in the design? Will there be some formal process for submitting ideas, or just informal communication?

DSP: Hennepin County will conduct three public hearings over the next 60-90 days. It's my sense that much of that time will focus on public input on the ballpark funding and design. The Twins welcome input from fans like yourself.

RP: Do you expect to be able to build over the railroad tracks?

DSP: Yes.

It is comforting to know that HOK will have to earn the contract. Of course, their extensive experience makes them almost a shoo-in to get this, and that is not a very comforting thought. From their recent projects (including the unfortunate Great American Ballpark), it's easy to see that they are only as good as their collaborators.

Conversely, this also means that if the Twins put together a good team on their side, this could turn out quite well even with HOK designing.

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Fortunately, a number of very good ballparks have been built in recent years, which will help with the final design.
Personally, I'd like to see a continuous eight foot high (between the foul poles), well padded, symetrical outfield fence, without the gold (or any other color)homerun band. Contrasting colors beyond the fence to help fans pick up the ball. Ten feet of foul space in those outfield corners. Four to five foot barriors everywhere else, with fans getting as close as possible to the action from all seating locations. Shorter rows, with the seats 20 to 22 inches wide, cup holders and leg/knee room for 6 footers (facing the pitchers mound).
Some fulltime quality local bar/restaurants, with seating (views of the field through the concourse), and a variety of foods all the time, not just on game day.
More, smaller restrooms, w/o the troughs, but with radio. Wide concourses.
A fullscale Twins merchandise/sporting goods store.
Escalators/elevators to the upper levels.
As much green (plants) as possible if there's no roof. Natural shade in the tailgating section.
Large, lit fountains (not fireworks) in any available outfield areas.
Color. Make it a visual feast for the eye. Large player profiles, past & present, baseball museum areas (including the Washington Senators), with team/player memoribilia. Lots of interactive activities for all ages.
Ditch the industrial warehouse lighting.
Many fans are older, so make things easy for them to navigate through the entire ballpark or have a senior section, along with the family section(s).

There's a ton of things, but I'm sure a lot of people have already mentioned them.

Posted on June 18, 2006 at 9:15 PM by Doug Thompson Highlight this comment 1

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Posted on April 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM by Rick 2

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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.



Welding workers



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...



Viewed from up Sixth Street (that's Target Center on the left), you can get an idea of how the connection is currently planned. As it stands now, the plaza will extend to that support pillar, from which a stairway will empty to the sidewalk below. If they get their wish, additional support structures will provide a walkway along Target Center which will gradually (without stairs) meet the sidewalk somewhere up near First Avenue.






Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).






First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.



The view from section 210



The finished product. Note that, at the very bottom of this image, you can just barely see the tops of the windows which look into the Champion's Club. (Home Plate Box)












Note the gigantic -- and very permanent -- M's on the gates at the base of these stairs.



This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.



Site of the proposed new Atlanta Braves ballpark. Look familiar?



Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.






Wow! Looking good.



Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)



Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.












A few weeks ago there were sand volleyball courts here. When the park opens, this will be surface parking. Maybe one day there will be something more interesting built on top of that parking...



Uh oh. Schizophrenia.



Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)



The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street






I see an opportunity in this view for an Abbey Road-style promotional photo! Mauer, Morneau, Nathan and Cuddyer walking toward the ballpark. The only question: which one takes off his cleats?












Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)



The art panels on the Fifth Street facade as viewed from the top of the Minnekahda building.






Gate 29 "Carew" is at right.



Flowers and Hall-of-Fame plaques. Very nice.



Click to enlarge.



Fencing is going up all along the plaza



The HERC side, viewed from Fifth Street.



Dugout Box and Champion's Club sections are sequestered by separate moats






"Hey look! There we are!"



Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)












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.





Glossary

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

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