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Frigid Plaza Progress

February 12, 2008 2:39 AM

"It was a mighty fierce something cold out there today, let me tell ya!"

My great-grandmother might have said something like that. Her parents came over from Norway and were shipped all the way to South Dakota where they built a sod house and raised approximately 16 children (a few didn't make it, but I've never been completely clear on the math).

Days like today remind me of those hearty prairie people of my (and probably your) ancestry. What did they do when the temperature went so far down and the wind came so far up?

Did they put on heavy construction overalls, gloves and hard hats and continue building the ballpark? I just don't know. But a bunch of guys did today out behind Target Center. I walked across the 7th Street bridge to get a picture of the work going on over the tracks and nearly froze my nose. (Was it worth it?)

Work over the tracks

But the place was crawling with activity -- much of it taking place on the nascent plaza over the freeway.

Chilly ballpark workers


P2110012_coldworkers.jpg

A plaza is certainly starting to take shape.

That's one hilly plaza


Another look at the hills

But if you're confused by what it looks like now, join the club. Barring some unforeseen seismic activity that plaza is going to be a pretty hilly place. Or not. We probably don't have enough information. (Actually, read on and there's a partial answer in the model pictures below.)

Here's the detail of the plaza from the site plan published by the team last summer.

Plaza overview

(Eagle-eyed Twinsfest goers would have noticed that updated diagrams were hanging in the ballpark booth. But I was so sure I'd be able to get them digitally that I didn't take any pictures of them. I won't make that mistake again because it hasn't worked out this time...)

I show this to give you an idea of where they might be going based on the early ideas of how it will connect to Second Avenue (assuming that it will not initially connect directly to First Avenue as was originally hoped).

At the intersection with Seventh Street, the plaza will wrap around the emergency exit stairs tower supporting that long skyway. It will replace the little sidewalk that is there now.

At the foot of Sixth Street (next to the B ramp), the plaza will go over the entrance to the B ramp then duck under the skyway, presumably arriving at the level where a sidewalk would be if there were one there now (it's been a lane of the exit ramp until now). It seems like steps may be required there, but I don't think that's in the plan. Here's a look at that area (the covered piers at left will support the plaza):

Threading the plaza through this

You can see in the diagram that there's an indication of a connection to the skyway, and I heard that they still plan to build some sort of staircase connecting the plaza to the B ramp, but I'm not sure exactly where. This is a pretty old drawing, so we can only learn so much from it.

Now to the model... As was pointed out below, the plaza on the model is completely flat. Or is it? Look closely here and you will see steps:

P1250105_tickets_small.jpg

The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.

In fact, it looks like the model does reflect a slope down, with some stone accents to delineate it for pedestrians. What other details have we all missed...? (Click any image to enlarge dramatically.)

P1250073_plazaover_small.jpg

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


P1250015_7thstreet_small.jpg

A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.


P1250018_gate34_small.jpg

A look at Gate 34.


P1250019_banners_small.jpg

Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.


P1250102_planters_small.jpg

Also warming things up are these planters.


P1250120_planters_small.jpg

They help create a psychological safe area along the plaza edge, and help you forget that cars are zipping by directly beneath you.


P1250066_restaurant_small.jpg

The restaurant.


P1250064_proshop_small.jpg

The Pro Shop.


P1250069_proover_small.jpg

One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.


P1250104_history_small.jpg

This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?


P1250106_gate3_small.jpg

The entrance at Gate 3.


P1250118_bunyan_small.jpg

Special guests in the trees!

Finally, I realized as I took this shot that you can actually now see concourse floor that we will all walk on one day on the way to or from a game. Imagine that.

P2110003_concoursefloor_small.jpg

Comments


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would it be weird to pitch a tent down there NOW just to be sure I'm first in line on opening day? i'm so frickin excited about this...

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 09:18 AM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 1

11th photo from top. I like the woman on the balcony who looks suicidal. "Don't jump, If it's worth dying for it's worth living for."

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 10:38 AM by Dain Highlight this comment 2

Man, I gotta hand it to these work crews out there. We live next to the site and I see them out there every morning. Because of the location, the wind can gust pretty strongly down where they are working on the Plaza. Kudos to these tough dudes.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 11:39 AM by Jeff Highlight this comment 3

Instead of statues of Paul and Babe, I'd rather see a statue/memorial for Kirby Puckett.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 12:02 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 4

Yes, a big thanks to all the construction workers. I hope the team hooks them up with some free tickets.

And thank you Rick for posting these detailed pictures. You are making this process a lot of fun for us Twins fans, especially those of us who don't live in Minnesota.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 12:43 PM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 5

I second Lafferty, Thank you for a fantastic site. I check in every day. It's great for us living in the out-state areas. The Twins should be paying you. They have some x-tra cash now, don't they?

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 2:40 PM by Dain Highlight this comment 6

I walk by the site every morning, and those construction guys/gals are constantly working. I never see them standing around. Which is very refreshing for us office drones who have to watch people sit and play solitare and minesweeper for 8 straight hours.

Awesome job Rick, you are a great writer and have an obvious passion not just for baseball, but for the history of this area. Would you mind starting another site for the Gopher stadium as well! J/K!! sort of...

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 3:34 PM by Jon Highlight this comment 7

The Twin just signed a veteran pitcher.
Livan Hernandez.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 4:40 PM by johnfre Highlight this comment 8

Rick, Thanks for all your hard work, Seriously, the Twins should be paying you. But, man, you posted that at 2:40 in the morning...Don't lose sleep over this man!

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 6:21 PM by Andrew Highlight this comment 9

Everyone, I present to you First Avenue.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 8:48 PM by Johnk Highlight this comment 10

Ladies and gentleman, I give you First Avenue. (click name)

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 9:36 PM by John Kasper Highlight this comment 11

As usual Rick, kudos on the great work and great site. You make the whole ballpark experience so much more enjoyable than just being patient and waiting until April 2010.

Now onto the comments:

1.) I am neither Norwegian nor Scandinavian thank you very much! But, I am proud of my German, Irish & French ancestry. That being said you grandmother sounds like a fine, upstanding woman.

2.) I give credit where credit is due to the Twins for putting up incremental money towards stadium costs, but I really, really don't like how in the Strib article (click John Kasper's name) it says the planned surrounding neighborhood infrastructure improvements are beginning to take a back seat when it comes to “staying within the asinine $90 million surrounding infrastructure cap”. I hate that the legislature had to throw that into the bill to appease SOME of the outstate MN & suburban folks who hate all things Minneapolis and wanted to make sure the city would get as little incremental infrastructure improvement as possible. The new ballpark is awesome and the crown jewel obviously, but I honestly believe the ballpark AND the neighborhood are both key parts of the puzzle here and must work together for this to truly be what we all want it to be in the end.

3.) I will be very disappointed if (this is coming from a Hennepin County resident footing part of the bill with no reservations what so ever) Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, the state (you outstate MN folks want to pay for some of this – here is your chance) or a combination of them doesn’t find additional money to make sure the surrounding neighborhood infrastructure (updated streets, sidewalks, greenery, etc.) is up to form on Day 1 when the ballpark opens. I have been down there numerous times over the last several months and there are several streets, sidewalks, etc. right around the ballpark site that need A LOT of work.

Just my two cents, but I think most of you who have actually been following this closely and are genuinely excited about the new ballpark’s future would agree.

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 11:37 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 12

Betaband,

The a-hole you can thank for that $90 million cap is Phil Krinkie of Shoreview. While the bill was in his Tax Committee that was his poison pill.

Thankfull the prick lost in the following election. If life were left up to Mr. Krinkie, we would be driving horse drawn carriages on unpaved roads.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 12:41 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 13

kevin in az - thanks for the info about dr. no. i am familiar with the giant tool bag that is phil krinkie. i was also very pleased to see him lose his re-election bid.

he was one of those types similar to current minnesota republican house minority leader marty seifert who are just miserable little smart-ass punks who would like to, as you said: "see us all driving around in horse carriages on unpaved roads" as long as it meant our collective taxes don’t go up a penny.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 10:46 AM by Betaband Highlight this comment 14

You know what would be a great asset to this stadium? Valet bike parking. Click my name for a nice link with a video of how they do it at San Francisco's ballpark.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 11:31 AM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 15

Here is a pic of the green seats for Citi Field. It looks like our seats will be the same color.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 11:55 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 16

Nice to see they've decided to extend the plaza entrance all the way First. That is the most key element to connect the park to downtown. Trees and streetscape improvements for the surrounding neighborhood would be nice but from day one the park has to have a seamless connection to downtown at its main entrance. Streetscape improvements can be added at a later date.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 11:58 AM by Tim Highlight this comment 17

tim said: "streetscape improvements can be added at a later date".

i respectfully disagree, tim. when things are approached by decision makers with an attitude of "we will get to it after the fact", more often than not we never do. and that would be a big mistake in regards to this project.

i agree that the full plaza connection to downtown is very important, but so is the neighborhood redevelopment piece. wrigley field in chicago is successful because it works in concert with the neighborhood it resides in. in my opinion the twins ballpark has two neighbors to work in concert with: 1.) downtown minneapolis 2.) the north loop

case in point. the promise of redevelopment in the neighborhood around the metrodome when it was being built. it never happened after the fact and we see where that got us in the long run.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 4:48 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 18

tim said: "streetscape improvements can be added at a later date".

i respectfully disagree, tim. when things are approached by decision makers with an attitude of "we will get to it after the fact", more often than not we never do. and that would be a big mistake in regards to this project.

i agree that the full plaza connection to downtown is very important, but so is the neighborhood redevelopment piece. wrigley field in chicago is successful because it works in concert with the neighborhood it resides in. in my opinion the twins ballpark has two neighbors to work in concert with: 1.) downtown minneapolis 2.) the north loop

case in point. the promise of redevelopment in the neighborhood around the metrodome when it was being built. it never happened after the fact and we see where that got us in the long run.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 4:48 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 19

Are they still planning on changing the canopy from gray to the champagne/brown color?

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 9:09 PM by jed Highlight this comment 20

beware of any comments that invoke wrigley field.

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 9:33 PM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 21

Let's be careful with the Wrigley Field comparisons. I have lived in Chicago for 3 years now and I have come to realize that, on the outside, Wrigley is a dump, and the neighborhood around it is a dump. On game day the neighborhood changes because there are 36,000 people flooding in and yes, it's quite a thing to be a part of, but any other day, it's quite like any other neighborhood. There are no pretty trees, no flower gardens. The new ballpark and Wrigley are just too different, (except in size) to be compared. The new Ballpark is going to be much better!

Posted on February 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM by Andrew Highlight this comment 22

St Peter updated his blog....some good stuff in there. Click my name to view.

Posted on February 14, 2008 at 3:14 PM by MOJO Highlight this comment 23

Let's just hope that concessionaire they hire isn't like the one at the Dome. It would be nice to have popcorn which was popped somtime during the same month which it's being served. Oh and old hot dogs from the game before, sitting in water??? Yeah, we can upgrade dollar dog night to FRESH dogs please!!

Posted on February 14, 2008 at 5:14 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 24

I'm pretty sure dollar dogs will be replaced by six dollar sushi

Posted on February 14, 2008 at 8:25 PM by John K Highlight this comment 25

Holy plaza! Check out the webcam. This is going quickly.

Posted on February 15, 2008 at 09:51 AM by J2K Highlight this comment 26

I'd rather pay $6 for sushi that those crap dollar dogs. It will be nice to get an actual "meal" at the game for those of us that go straight from work. Right now the options are very limited and usually to get something you want, you have to walk all around the dome and miss an entire inning.

I also hope there are radio/tv broadcasts in the bathroom. right now you only hear cheers or silence and then have to guess as to what happened.

Posted on February 15, 2008 at 10:00 AM by annoying customer Highlight this comment 27

wtf?

Posted on February 18, 2010 at 6:24 PM by bulldog Highlight this comment 28

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"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.


The view from section 210






Marquette looking south



A spectacular golden hour



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...






Our conductor in Big Lake












Reverse view, now looking down Sixth toward the park. The Met Stadium flag pole will be right there!



This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?












This is the upper deck in Anaheim



Yes, TC is smiling.






Nine spots for hops bats.



A path for workers -- don't touch the plaza! -- in front of three giant Chia pets



The HERC promenade side.






2014 Twins ASG promo bat.












Lots of folks working behind those ticket windows






Tickets!



Very nice Admin glass.



From the B ramp, 6th level elevator lobby window






Here is a close-up of those funny little islands of seats (HRP View).






I know these are giants bats with hops growing inside, but... Hmm...






From the revised site plan, this is the configuration of Gate 34 Puckett.



Click to enlarge



Installation in action (Home Plate Box)



The green in question (click for very large version)






The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)









The beautiful Promenade has become a sea of temporary barricades. (Smoker's Row outside the unnumbered gate)



Seals Stadium



Section 101, Row 27











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

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

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(1993)
 


First Edition (1992)
 


Second Edition (2006)
 


(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


(1975)
 


Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(2000, large coffee table)
 


Original edition (2000, round)
 


Revised edition (2006, round)
 


(2001, medium coffee table)
 


(2002, small coffee table)
 


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Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
 

Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
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Complete Bibliography

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