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How Much Ballpark?

June 1, 2006 11:41 PM

So, just how much ballpark will this site hold? For such a small site, it's a very big question.

To answer it, I once again turned to Google Earth and created the following images. They show just how some existing parks might fit onto our site. It turns out that many of them simply would not fit no matter what. A few work if flipped (left becomes right, see Fenway Park below).

More importantly, I'm using just the ballpark itself, and none of its parking or support buildings. In almost all parks, the site footprint also includes huge amounts of land used for these purposes. As you'll see, the Twins will have to be very creative in tucking everything onto the land they have.

An advantage is that the HERC plant (also known as the Hennepin County Garbage Burner) is controlled by the county. It means the Twins will have some sway in determining just where their land ends. Dave St. Peter has already indicated that they intend to build over the railroad tracks, though it remains to be seen just how far they'll be able to go.

The preliminary site plan has the diamond oriented almost due east. I really don't think this is the best orientation for the site because half the main grandstand will face away from the skyline (due south might be better, but the sun would then become an issue -- I'll write more about this another day). I haven't limited myself to this orientation. I just tried to make them fit in a way which looks like it might work -- just to see if it was possible.

The images below are just for parks which seemed pertinent to the discussion. If you'd like to see another one not shown, please indicate in the comments and I'll add it.

Camden Yards

Camden Yards

US Cellular Field

US Cellular Field (nee Comiskey Park)

Coors Field

Coors Field

Fenway Park (reversed)

Fenway Park Reversed

Jacobs Field (reversed)

Jacobs Field reversed

Kauffmann Stadium

Kauffmann Stadium

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park

AT&T Park

AT&T Park (nee Pac Bell)

PNC Park

PNC Park

Turner Field (reversed)

Turner Field reversed

Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

Safeco Field

Safeco Field

Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium


The Metrodome


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Are the buildings behind home plate expendable or parking lot across street? Or any roads around it? Haven't heard from anything that says it is too small of a site but from the looks of it, it looks like they're going to have to cram the stadium in the location, just like they did with the metrodome.

Posted on June 2, 2006 at 8:08 PM by Luke Highlight this comment 1

My understanding is that the parking ramp (lower right) stays unchanged. The small street between the ramp and the site (3rd Avenue North/service road) may go away.

The bridges to the northeast and southwest will remain unchanged excpet that the one on the northeast (5th Street North) has to be beefed up to accomodate the weight of light rail trains.

To the northwest is the garbage burner. Presumably all of those buildings stay, but the Twins can build on the parts which do not already contain structures.

(I'll verify this with Dave St. Peter in my next email.)

Posted on June 2, 2006 at 9:44 PM by Rick 2

what is the ATT park image supposed to be?

Posted on June 7, 2006 at 1:50 PM by Gilbert Chan Highlight this comment 3

ATT is the ballpark formerly known as PacBell in SF.

Posted on June 7, 2006 at 2:09 PM by Brett Carow Highlight this comment 4

Take a look at this picture from Google.,+Minneapolis,+MN

That parking lot below the marker is the ballpark site. Switch to satellite view and zoom out one setting until you can see the Metrodome. Compare the size of the Dome to the size of the ballpark site. The Metrodome looks to be just a tad bit wider than the ballpark site, but then the Metrodome doesn't have an overhanging second deck (as I assume the new ballpark will have) and most of the Dome's seating is in the second deck making it wider than it need be.

Posted on June 7, 2006 at 2:29 PM by ASW Highlight this comment 5

how about safeco field, and dodger stadium? I also think the main grandstand facing away from the downtown skyline is a mistake facing south, or north would be better, and create cool shadows in the late summer.
Safeco field is gorgeous.
Major League's should contribute a roof at low interest to the Twins.

Posted on June 8, 2006 at 12:57 AM by andy h Highlight this comment 6

It never occurred to me to do the Metrodome. As you can see, it's not much larger than the footprint available.

Dodger Stadium was built with absolutely no constrictions on its size. In some ways, it is the prototypical suburban ballpark. No surprise that it doesn't come anywhere near fitting.

And Safeco provides a cautionary tale about roofs. It adds substantially to the space necessary. Short of using the air space over the garbage burner (as it was in the original conceptual drawings), I just can't imagine it working.

Thanks for the suggestions, and thanks for stopping by! -- Rick

Posted on June 9, 2006 at 12:14 AM by Rick 7

I have been using google earth to do ballpark research, and one thing to keep in mind is not only the elevation of your viewpoint, but also the elevation of the land that the ballpark sits on. If you look at Coors Field with an elevation of 5000 feet you will be at field level, whearas if you look at Safeco, you will see a very small blip. I think you took this into account, but it is not an exact science. Nice site and keep up the good work!

Posted on June 11, 2006 at 12:26 AM by James Highlight this comment 8


I did take this into account, wanting to make sure that the comparisons were at the exact same scale. For that reason, all images are from 500m above the actual playing surface. -- Rick

Posted on June 12, 2006 at 2:24 PM by Rick 9

RFK Stadium opened in October of 1961 for football, then six months later for baseball. Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. Both venues are in parking lots. While RFK Stadium was open before Dodger Stadium was, Dodger Stadium was under construction before RFK Stadium was, I believe. Both ballparks are in some ways the first prototypical suburban ballparks, but they both are right in big cities, not in suburbs. Dodger Stadium is a little north of downtown, RFK Stadium is a mile east of the US Capitol Building, on a direct line with the National Mall.

Posted on June 18, 2006 at 11:55 AM by Christopher Kassulke Highlight this comment 10

when will the new dome be finished

Posted on December 22, 2006 at 12:01 PM by jordan Highlight this comment 11


Posted on February 16, 2007 at 2:55 PM by murph Highlight this comment 12

i'd like to see great american ballpark on this site i live in cincinnati and our site of the new park was called "the wedge" because they had a similar situation

Posted on May 30, 2007 at 1:32 PM by Erik Huber Highlight this comment 13

xdvdsfvd fdgsd
fdsaiuwa dfgdsgfs

Posted on May 3, 2008 at 07:03 AM by pupkarik Highlight this comment 14

your picture that says minute maid is not minute maid at all, I believe it is Seattle Seahawk's stadium..just fyi

Posted on May 5, 2008 at 5:44 PM by Steve Highlight this comment 15

my mistake that was a picture of reliant stadium in houston,where the nfl's houston texans play

Posted on May 5, 2008 at 5:46 PM by steve Highlight this comment 16

Hey you shoulds put rogers centre on here

Posted on September 24, 2008 at 3:18 PM by trent Highlight this comment 17

This page was last modified on January 21, 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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

Section 101, Row 27

Here's another look at the Oliva gate.

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.

A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue

The media all turned out!

Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.

Wind veil install from across Seventh

Impractical, expensive, undeniably cool (Angel Stadium, source LP)

The bridge is Seventh Street.

That's my mom. She scored the whole game on her Gameday program (bought for just $1 on the opening night special -- thanks guys!)

We took refuge for a time in the Twins Pub where you can drink a beer (or just hang out) and listen to some ballpark tunes. The organ is decorated with a TC (of course) and what looked like drawings which Sue has received from kids.

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.

Um, I think that guy is out.

Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)

T is for Twins

Do you need to know the score?

Work in progress.

Signature trees?

A look at Gate 34.

Just lighted panels... *sigh*

Stay warm while buying tickets.

Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)

Three weeks ago this was a patch of scruffy trees. Now it's a patio. In case you were wondering, that's where I've been...

Main concourse, looking south toward the area behind home plate.

Glove from above

Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.

A look at Gate 34.

Gate 3 ticket window

More flowers, more pennants.

The stunning curtains, which skillfully evoke the architecture, keep the atrium from getting too hot in the late afternoon sun, simultaneously hiding the HERC.


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

Complete Bibliography

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