It is rainy in the Twins Cities today. The sky is as grey as it gets, and the chances of actual sunshine are around zero percent. There is more cold, and more snow, in the forecast.
My yard is still partially covered with snow, the top of which now sports a crust thick enough that my kids can walk across it without leaving footprints or, thankfully, getting their socks and shoes wet. The remaining cover is thickest out in the middle of the yard, about where home plate generally gets placed, right in front of the garden bed that my mom will fill with hostas in a few weeks. Those plants will be mined over and over all summer long for balls which got by someone's bat, but my mom doesn't seem to care. She's a fan.
On the boulevards, the gigantic snow piles I created with my own muscle power have been steadily shrinking away from the sunshine of the past week. Their edges, once plump and tall and foreboding, are now scalloped and dirty and oddly crystalline. If I do have to shovel later this week, there will be a place to put it all. That wasn't true a couple of weeks ago.
But the disappearing snow is revealing something that I always forget about: The yard beneath it is still just as scruffy as it was when the first snow covered it so beautifully last fall. If there is a gift to winter, it's that all the sins of summer are shrouded for a time -- not exactly forgiven, but at least put away. Dormancy has its virtues.
Now those memories emerge, and the hidden things look once again like they need tending: The pitching got better, but the hitting got worse. The base running is an open question, as is the defense.
Wait, what just happened? Let's see, I was talking about the grass and leaves and general muck of my yard, and then...
On Opening Day, everything is about baseball.
As I write this, the sun is defying the odds and peaking out through a small break in the overcast. It reminds me that today all teams are 0-0 and, regardless of the forecast, anything is possible.
Reports in the media have been generally favorable toward this year's TwinsFest reboot. I didn't get to go, but here are some highlights as reported by BPMers who did.
First, from CSG Mike:
The crowds were not bad on Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm, considering it was "sold out." I think they probably limited it to the right number of tickets. I would compare it to a full game scenario in the LC. Make sense? Overall the spaces seemed rather disjointed. Unlike previous TF where it was all held in one giant space... They used the Suite level, LC, and service level (-2)...
Steve Maki, the Metrodome’s head of operations...said that long time staff from the MSFA and Mortenson went to the controls of the fans that hold up the building this morning, and one by one took turns shutting them off. "It wasn’t three-two-one, but still symbolic of taking down the building," Maki said.
Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. In that circumstance, the crew chief is not obligated to invoke instant replay if requested by the manager.
Well, it's finally all over. Are we sad? Even a little? Really?
What is there left to say about one of the most maligned sports venues in the history of professional sports? That it served its purpose? That it was cost effective? That it was sufficiently warm/cool/dry on those too cold/hot/wet days? That some interesting things happened there? That some of our teams won? That a lot of people shouted, or roller-bladed, or even worshiped there? That the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney and U2 played there? That it could be converted from one sport to another in just a few hours?
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Somebody asked how long it would be before the tarp had a sponsor. Well, not very long.
Steps, skyway, and plaza intersect.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Checking out the bike racks on the promenade.
There must be millions of details needing tending
Not my actual kids!
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
Awesome seat. Awesome sun. Awesome hitter. (Photo by Tony Voda, courtesy Jared Wieseler)
Glove from above
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Millers fans leaving Nicollet Park after a game in 1923, where a trolley was waiting. (Click to enlarge.)
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
Here's the view from the main concourse out through Gate 3 "Killebrew".
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
The creative design of the admin building stands in stark contrast to the horribly pedestrian appearance of the LRT platform. This design looks like it came out of a public transportation manual.
Final Metrodome baseball sight
Walkway sneak peek
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
They could not help the Twins on this night.
Um, I think that guy is out.
That is the gun-metal gray wall of The Stadium just beyond the elevated tracks.
(Click to enlarge.)
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
(Click to enlarge.)
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
View from the Overlook
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.