New Ballpark May Have Manual Scoreboards After All (for a while)
April 1, 2008 10:07 AM
I promise that I'm going to get to the new Nationals ballpark later today. But this little tidbit can't wait.
What started out as a small design and construction problem is quickly turning into a major issue. I've been hearing rumblings for a month or so, but couldn't confirm it until today (EDIT: April the First -- nudge, nudge).
According to the design documents I saw last summer, all of the video cabling for the new park, some of which is already buried in multiple layers of concrete, was designed and is being installed specifically to meet HD-DVD standards. This wouldn't be a problem but for the fact that Toshiba pulled the plug on HD-DVD back in February. As you probably know, Blu-Ray won out in the standards war, and HD-DVD has all but disappeared from the marketplace.
This means that a gigantic investment has been rendered nearly -- but not completely -- unusable. I've been trying to get Dave St. Peter to talk about this but without success so far. Dan Kenney, over at the Ballpark Authority, hasn't actually confirmed it, but when I asked, he would only say (repeatedly) that the Twins have agreed to pay for all cost overruns. I suspect that something like this would have to be considered a cost overrun, right?
Looking into the technology, it appears that unless the cabling can be upgraded in place (a very difficult proposition), the new scoreboards will be limited to 1080I resolution instead of the higher 1080P resolution which had been always intended. From a distance, you might not notice anything at first, but it's really a pretty major downgrade -- considering what they're spending on the various hi-def boards.
The preferred solution is to remove the incompatible cabling and replace it entirely. But this could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to six months of retro-fitting, and possibly (though not likely) even jeopardize the April 2010 opening. I did hear that two hand-operated manual scoreboards have been designed and will be built in the summer of 2009 if it looks like the hi-def won't be ready to go for the first few months of the 2010 season. That way they can at least open the park, and maybe even have a little fun with it. (Though I bet the whole mess could get pretty embarrassing...)
Well, today I think I finally confirmed this by peering through the chain link fence on the Seventh Street side. There were a couple of guys working with jackhammers cutting very precise lines in the almost brand new concrete. If you know of another reason why they might be doing this, please let me know because I can't think of any.
I was able to snap this unfortunately blurry picture (click to see a digitally-enhanced version):
On the bright side, the Twins could just choose to stick with HD-DVD, in which case when the park opens they will get a high-end player for $99 and five free HD-DVD movies, including "The Bad News Bears" (Billy Bob Thornton remake version) and "Damn Yankees."
You gotta have heart! Happy April!
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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
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Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Legends Club seats feature in-seat service
Our cantilever friends will be happy to learn that there will be sections with views like this in the new stadium.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Section 139, Row 8
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
LRT throngs after the game
Secret entrance exposed!
Some of your fellow BPMers at a game in May of 2010 (we had almost the whole section)
The french fry lights were on!
From the best seat in the house (Section 8, Row A), the right field corner is blocked. (No one may care. Fine with me. People should know.)
Lots of self-portraits were taken here after the final out.
An early concept for St. Paul.
A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue
A desolate Marquette Ave
Detail on the main gate, with Target Field sign
Work beneath the scoreboard
Here is where the signature art (original Twins logo) will be placed.
The view from the upper concourse.
Tony Oliva, R. T. Rybak and Mike Opat
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Photo by Jeff Ewer
The rough outlines of our urban trench. (North is up.)
8:12 PM It is now in the area where, if it gets down far enough, it will shine into the eyes of a right-handed hitter.
Double plays will be turned here.
The circulation ramp on the north now has its louver framing.
Skywalk over Seventh
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
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.
A look at Gate 34.
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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Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
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(2000, large coffee table)
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Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures