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.
"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.
Open house skeptics
The Ceremony (VIP in the crowd)
Such promise. (Click to enlarge.)
Concourse ceilings (from the Ballpark Authority's May update)
There are some great banners on fencing down Target Way. I'm not sure just who sees them.
Anna keeps the riff raff under control.
The closed concession stand.
Marquette looking south
Here you can see the real beauty of the Seventh Street side, and get a solid sense of why the overall design really works. The building's purpose is clearly visible, there are numerous connections from inside to outside, scale is nicely mitigated, the stone is attractively used, materials are pleasantly mixed and truly complementary. It's just a winner in so many ways.
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
Photo by Jared Wieseler
You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
Looking from First Avenue toward the ballpark (over the top of a construction barricade)
The main concourse is a very busy place at all times.
Speakers spaced evenly among the lights
Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.