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August 1, 2007 3:06 AM

Pre-ground-breaking

The outline of an infield has appeared on the asphalt in advance of the ground-breaking on Thursday night.

There hasn't been much news, but thanks to everyone for a lively discussion about uniforms and team naming which was interesting, even though no consensus emerged.

It seems to me that the uniforms get redesigned -- or at least tweaked -- every few years. So it's almost inevitable that the Twins will be wearing something different when the new park opens. They don't seem too keen on doing much "throwback" stuff, but you never know. But I think there's no doubt that they'll still be called the "Minnesota Twins" -- as it should be.

Remember the Metrodome

My son turned two a couple of weeks ago, and I'm proud to report that he can name the entire starting line-up -- as long as Santana is pitching! (Substituting Casilla for Castillo has been something of a challenge, but he's almost got it.)

Mostly I'm thrilled that he's been given maternal clearance to attend the ground-breaking on Thursday night. In fact, it's going to be a big day of baseball introduction because we'll be spending the afternoon at the Metrodome -- his first trip. Look for us splitting our time between the upper GA and the concourses. He's unlikely to sit still for very long...

I am introducing him to the place early in the hopes that he will have some memory of it later in life. One of the great pleasures of the new park will certainly be that it is not the Metrodome. I want to make sure he can appreciate it that way, at least a little.

Break It, Baby

After the game we'll head home for a little nap (for me) and then back on the train for the Big Ground-Breaking. As you probably know, the site opens at 5:00 PM, and there will be live music and games. I'm imagining something like what they have on the Metrodome plaza, but I have no inside knowledge on that.

Realigning the tracks

The tracks on the right will be moved to the newly-cleared area on the left. The edge of the ballpark will be about where the rocks and dirt meet.

The actual ceremony will take place around 7:00 PM, and the radio plugs have indicated that there will be plenty of current and former players on hand, as well as a fair amount of dignitaries.

I have to hand it to the Twins. They could have done something boring and stuffy like a lot of other clubs, but somebody was thinking creatively. That's been a hallmark of this project so far, and it's a great thing.

The site has undergone some preparation. Crowd-control fences are in place, and the outline of the infield has been painted on the asphalt.

Other changes at the site include the removal of most of one half of the Fifth Street bridge. That half will be rebuilt flat to accommodate the light rail extension. Eventually, they will probably want to flatten the other half of the bridge as well. You would think that it would be cheaper to tear the whole thing down and rebuild it all flat right now, but that must not be the case. It could be related to that pesky infrastructure cap...

Much activity is taking place over by the railroad tracks. It's possible to see where the new tracks will be, and in doing so get an idea of how far the ballpark will extend.

You may remember that the original drawings had the tracks going beneath the stands in a tunnel. That proved to risky for the insurance people, so moving the tracks was much more pleasing. There will still be some Northstar-related tracks running into (but not through) a tunnel beneath the stands. But the new configuration allows fans to actually look down onto the tracks from the promenade which will run alongside the park on the garbage burner side.

Be sure to say HI if you see us at the ground-breaking!

Comments


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5th street bridge flattening is part of the Hiawatha LRT extension, which is part of the Northstar Commuter Rail Budget i think - so the ballpark infrastructure budget has nothing to do with it. Not sure what that does for the likelihood of flattening the whole thing though.

Posted on August 1, 2007 at 09:38 AM by Dan Highlight this comment 1

Exactly. So flattening out the other part of the bridge would have to come from stadium money, which has a cap. The decision may hinge on the outcome of the condemnation proceedings.

Sod laid in the infield today! Looks GREAT.

Posted on August 1, 2007 at 1:18 PM by The Tube Highlight this comment 2

Awesome blog. Do you know the name of the building directly behind the cranes, in the background of your picture above?

Posted on August 1, 2007 at 3:51 PM by db Highlight this comment 3

Hey Rick,

Looks great. SO EXCITING!! Its about time, huh? Just curious if you knew any of the construction/preparation schedule after this "official groundbreaking"...?? Obviously the bridge and railroad work will continue...but actual ballpark-wise, once this ceremony is done whats the next step??

Thanks. Keep up the good work on a great resource.

Posted on August 1, 2007 at 4:12 PM by YESS Highlight this comment 4

It sounded like you had this all planned out perfectly. It's really too bad that they had to cancel the game and ceremony. But I think they did the right thing.

Posted on August 1, 2007 at 8:57 PM by John Highlight this comment 5

Hey Rick (or anyone for that matter),

Do you know where in the outfield the bullpen will be in the new park? Left, right, center? And glad to hear you & family are ok Rick after Wednesday's tragic events. That's too close for comfort.

Thank you

Posted on August 5, 2007 at 8:46 PM by betaband Highlight this comment 6

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The green in question (click for very large version)



Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.






Section 101, Row 27



An early concept drawing for the site



At the corner of the Pro Shop.









Checking out the bike racks on the promenade.






Working on the connecting LRT tracks (this view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown.)









Mussina's first pitch. (Playing 3rd: Not A-Rod)



Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)



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Dome, what have you taken from us?



2014 Twins ASG promo bat.



WCCO-TV building



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Not much facade left to be finished at this point.



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Open concourses do mean that you can glimpse the field no matter where you are, but not really the game.



Parking ramp knothole


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