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Canopy Skeleton!

October 28, 2008 11:12 PM

Just in time for Halloween, a new skeleton has appeared down at the ballpark site:


Just seeing this puts a whole lot into perspective. In fact, it brings the main grandstand to its full height! (The scoreboard will actually be the tallest part of the park. More on that subject below.)



The conditions were just about perfect tonight when Noah and I arrived to get some fresh pictures. While we were there, the sun set and the sky turned the most amazing shade, azure and gold streaked with pink.



One spontaneous picture illustrates the severe need for changes to the pedestrian experience. As I tried to get his picture, Noah put his hands to his ears and instinctively turned away from the traffic -- which was flying by at about 45 MPH no more than a few feet off the end of his elbow:


As a parent, I constantly felt the need to tell him to walk as close to the fence as possible. I know that cars rarely jump the curb right there, but the combination of speed and a curve in the road makes me nervous.

And that's the whole point. Regardless of the actual amount of danger, the mere perception of danger is enough to transform the pedestrian experience pretty radically. To be comfortable, there needs to be some physical barrier between those on feet and those on wheels.

I know that the city of Minneapolis realizes this and is talking about whether they should devote funds for pedestrian upgrades, but in my view this is not optional. The warm ballpark space is chilled severely by the presence of a mini-freeway off its southern doorstep. If the Twins and/or Ballpark Authority aren't lobbying for major changes here, they should be.

There was something of a surprise at the Pro Shop. The grid for the windows has gone up, and it's clear that there will be no pedestrian entrance to the Pro Shop from the Seventh Street side:


Not only that, but there will be no entrances on any of the three sides which stick out from the main structure. Apparently, this will only be accessible from the main concourse.


In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.

It's a surprise because I just assumed that this store would serve as something of a welcoming point for fans -- an element which would draw people into the building. The large expanses of glass are great, but doors would be better. I guess I can understand that there might be security advantages to not having such entrances, but it's still a disappointing loss.

Around on the Fifth Street side, I got a few quick views into the bowels of the structure.



Yes, it's pretty tempting to just walk right in...

The steel has gone up very quickly over at Gate 6 "Oliva".


This will be a bar/restaurant.


This is the actual entrance for Gate 6. Notice how close the seating will be. The back row of the lower deck will be mere inches beyond that inner support post.

And very nearby is a very impressive -- almost Metrodome-esque -- array of air conditioners.


A few more pix follow at the end of this entry.

Score. Bored.

There was a minor frenzy last week over the announcement of a few scoreboard specifics. The KSTP news coverage was typical, and typically vapid (partial transcript below):

Leah McLean: Today the team announced plans to put up the fourth largest scoreboard in major league at the Target Field.

I have to pause right there to note the awkwardness of the language. Is it "the Target Field" or just "Target Field"? Let's continue...

McLean: It'll be 57 feet tall, 101 feet wide. That is nine times bigger than the scoreboard at the Metrodome. It can run one big picture or it can be split up into eight sections for pictures, replays or animations.

Tony Mulder (Daktronics): It will actually be better than the displays that you can buy at, uh, y'know in the stores or the ones you watch on TV. So you're gonna get a much better fan experience.

McLean: The scoreboard will also allow fans to keep tabs on all other major league games and even fantasy stats.

Whoever wrote this copy isn't much of a baseball fan, and I'm forgiving Tony because he's probably a little bit nervous, but most of the content here is straight off the scoreboard fact sheet released by the team.

But let's boil it down. It will be bigger than the Metrodome, but smaller than three other scoreboards already out there in major league baseball. OK, size isn't the most important thing. It will, no doubt, be big enough.

The story doesn't mention that it will be HD (1080 lines of resolution), but that's understandable. Most people don't understand what HD really means anyway. It's a buzz word which does sounds cool, but when all is said and done, it just means the picture will be more crisp. Joe Nathan will look good, but I doubt you'll be able to pick out individual beard hairs from across the stadium. (Do I have to point out that within a couple of years there will be a new video standard that will make 1080 lines of resolution look positively 2005?)


It will be more modern than this.

And can it be possible that we'll actually be able to keep tabs on all other major league games? Gee, whiz. What'll they think of next -- having lights so the team can play some base ball after dark?

Plus, how is it that this gigantic board can only be divided into eight sections? This has to be an arbitrary software limitation. If accurate, this seems a strange thing to publicize. I know that if I were buying a great big monitor, I'd expect to be able to put whatever the hell I wanted to on it, and split it in any damn way that I wanted to.

The fact sheet reveals a couple of additional interesting details, but the whole thing amounts to saying that they will be putting in a state-of-the-art scoreboard. What else would you expect? Pardon me for not getting up to dance. I am, as you can tell, generally undazzled by these types of specifications. They are usually out of date within about five minutes.

What would have dazzled me, in case you're wondering, would have been if the team announced that they'd signed a thirty-year deal for continual upgrades to the video board technology. I bet that a company like Daktronics might have jumped at such a thing, and it would have been a lot cheaper in the long run. (Plus there would be no chance that, 20 years from now, we'd still be suffering with the modern equivalent of the clapping hands graphic -- charming though it may be to some.)

An Obvious Question

Now, I don't consider myself to be a reporter, but I did ask the one obvious question which appears to have not been asked by anyone else who covered the story: What about the folks who can't see that great big HD scoreboard?

The left field stands turn their backs on it, and the 3D seat locator makes it pretty clear that plenty of people down the third base line will either not see it at all or only get a very skewed angle. My best guess is that about 20% of the total seating capacity will not be able to get anything from the big board.


Lower deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.

The answer I got from the team referenced the out-of-town scoreboard built into the right field wall as a replacement. As with all the rest, that will be an HD board capable of showing full-motion video. But its location makes it a little problematic for the folks in left field, especially the upper deck. It appears that, as it stands now, the left field stands may be video clip free. Some will probably consider this a benefit. Others may not be so charitable.

Long ago I suggested a second, matching scoreboard over the plaza entrance. That might intrude too much on the skyline view, but they could certainly put something up on top of the restaurant, or just replace part of the big banner behind the center field stands. That now looks like an upgrade which will only come somewhere down the road, if at all.


Upper deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.

But I also wondered about the wisdom of building an HD video board into an outfield wall. Won't Michael Cuddyer crash into that thing someday? Video boards generally don't do well when crashed into. The team hasn't solved this one yet, but they're looking into it. (It made me wonder about MLB rules concerning outfield walls. Haven't had time to look into that yet.)

And just in case you're wondering, it looks like it will take six people to control all of those fancy video boards on game day.

Food and Beverage and More

The Downtown Journal is reporting that two restaurants have just opened in anticipation of the ballpark. One is just off the edge of the plaza, while the other is a bit of a walk up on Washington.

There's a big psychological distance to Washington Avenue which will have to be dealt with before it feels like an intimate part of the ballpark experience. But there are many possibilities as to how that may be done.

It has also been reported that the Twins braintrust is going to a Madonna concert to figure out if they want to host such performances. What can they learn from Madonna? I don't know...but who cares?

(As we all know, almost 25 years later she's still pretty much exactly as hot. Perhaps the scouts are simply seeking tips on extending player careers... You may not know this little tidbit, but Madonna was born in the same month as Julio Franco -- August 1958. Seriously. Look it up.)

More Pix

As I said at the top, it was a beautiful, crisp evening tonight. Would have been a perfect night in Minneapolis for outdoor World Series baseball.


Do you think somebody's already cooking hot dogs out there?


Here's a curious little room at the end of the circulation ramp. What could they be selling there?


The windows have started going in.




I don't think this will remain a knothole, but the view is pretty cool.



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Once again, thank you for the update!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 02:15 AM by Adam Highlight this comment 1

Thanks rick!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 06:35 AM by mazaratirick Highlight this comment 2

Great pics Rick. Thanks for all you do!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 07:23 AM by luckylager Highlight this comment 3

great update rick!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 07:34 AM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 4

Im pretty sure i know the answer to this already but am i correct to assume that the only bar/rest. will be the Met. club? so season ticket holder only resturant?... or will there be some smaller bars set up around...or just the concourse kiosk style bars?

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 07:47 AM by Mazaratirick Highlight this comment 5

the scoreboard will actually be 1080 resolution; the question is if it will be interlaced (1080i) or progressive (1080p)...

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 08:17 AM by annoying customer Highlight this comment 6

Good catch, annoying. It was pretty late when I was proof-reading...

I could have sworn that I saw 1080p in some of the materials that I received, but I can't find it right now.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 09:12 AM by Rick 7


According to the early drawings, there will be four total bars/restaurants. It is not clear how many of these will be open to the general public.

In addition, there are quite a few exclusive "lounges" scattered throughout the various levels. Access to these appears to be limited to certain types of ticket-holders.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 09:19 AM by Rick 8

Thanks Rick!

Hey i have season tickets either way so im covered!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 09:26 AM by mazaratirick Highlight this comment 9

Excellent post, Rick. Great topics to discuss. Here's my reaction/opinion on some of the items:

1. No exterior entrance to the Pro Shop

The Twins need to explain the thinking here. My opinio is that this is a TERRIBLE move. I've visited 2/3 of MLB stadiums, and almost all of them have a Pro Shop that can be entered "via the street". Accessibility makes for more sales and better traffic flow. Tours start and begin at most shops (and people purchase items at the end). The Pro Shop is the "face" of the team on non-game days or when they're out of town. I'm extremely confused by this. Why wouldn't the Twins want walk-up traffic!?

2. The scoreboard issue is a problem in many parks. The fact of the matter is that not everyone is going to be able to see the video board. I know that many parks have installed HD flat screen TV's in the lower decks, so that fans could see some replays. It will be interesting to see if they implement this in and around the park in areas that don't have visual access to the scoreboard.

3. I'm still trying to decide which of the local TV news stations is the worst. They're all bad, but some are worse than others...KSTP has to be in the bottom 2...which is ironic, since KSTP is the radio home of the Twins. :)

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 09:35 AM by OG Jeff Highlight this comment 10

Thanks Rick!

I couldn't agree more about the traffic on 7th!! As a frequent up-close viewer of the ballpark, I have noticed that cars fly down that road at sometimes 50 - 60 mph. I'm sure the solution will have to be adding more controlled intersections with stop lights, especially at 7th and 3rd. The problem is that there is a large curve in the road and you can't see the cars coming until they are right on top of you while crossing the street.

Therefore, until the City figures out some solutions on this street to slow cars down, my advice is to be very carefull down there when going to view the ballpark. The area is very raw around the ballpark, but has some great potential if this lame economy would ever turn around and get back on track.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 09:40 AM by Jon Highlight this comment 11

Great post, I can't wait to step foot in that ballpark!

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 10:24 AM by Matt Highlight this comment 12

So what color are those windows on the facade?

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 10:30 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 13

Wednesday, October 29th (9am to 12pm), and Monday, November 3rd (7:30 am to 12pm), a ballpark contractor will close the north lane (the one closest to the ballpark) of the 7th Street Bridge and the sidewalk by the ballpark to unload railings for the ballpark.

I wonder if it it railings for the seating bowl...? That would be sweet

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 10:32 AM by Erik Highlight this comment 14

Another question guys...the term "Stadia" am i assuming correctly that is the steal structure that the seats are installed onto? liek what we see in cf now and upper 1st base line?

thanks im learning here...

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 10:43 AM by mazaratirick Highlight this comment 15

Maz, I think "stadia" refers to the actual concrete that forms the rows in each section. (What the seats are connected to.) What we're seeing now is technically the steel supports for the stadia.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 11:56 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 16

got it! thanks Lafferty

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 12:09 PM by mazaratirick Highlight this comment 17

Rick, about the LF seats not being able to see the scoreboard. Most other ballparks that have upper levels cantelevered over the lower level have TV's in the rafters so the people sitting in the lower level can see replays, etc. I would hope the Twins braintrust will follow suit. As far as the people sitting down the LF line close to the LF bldg, they're probably SOL as far as replays are concerned. They'll most certainly have to rely on ribbon board line scores/RF display for game info.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 18

I found this in the October meeting minutes on the Ballpark Authority website, "Along 7th Street there is a gap in the limestone placement where a wood louver system is to be located. The project is currently exploring the use of Ipe (“Ironwood”) for this installation..." Are they talking about the circulation ramps!?! Pretty interesting.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 2:36 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 19

ooh, Ironwood. just like Roland's guns in the Dark Tower books. gunslinger grips.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 4:04 PM by Don T Highlight this comment 20

Click my name to see the Iron Wood Ipe site. The wood has a dark red/brown color. It would look really great against the lighter limestone.

Also...I see that they started installing glass on the 7th Street side of the Pro Shop.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 5:49 PM by David_Mpls Highlight this comment 21

I just wanted to point out that Baltimore and The Royals already have LED boards built into the outfield walls. They cover them with Chain-Link fence to protect them.

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 7:44 PM by Andrew Highlight this comment 22

As I watched the 2008 Baseball Season come to an end my mind move to the final season for the Dome. Sure the Dome may be easy to let go of, but let us not forget that we will be leaving the sight of the Greates World Series of All Time. (Click My Name)

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 9:25 PM by Andrew Highlight this comment 23

Kelly Thesier (Twins beat writer)wrote a little article about her tour of Target Field this week and also featured 2 photo galleries with some good pictures including our first looks at the terrace level and some good looks of the concourse taking shape as well.

Click link to view article and photo galleries

Posted on October 29, 2008 at 10:35 PM by Luke H. Highlight this comment 24

I agree Andrew, im glad this is the last year in the dome but i am looking forward to watching baseball in it next year more than any other year since i was a kid ( we all thought it was cool when we were kids)..i hope the banners and posters are out next year and close to sell outs ....out with the old.....

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 07:33 AM by Mazaratirick Highlight this comment 25

I know in my old college fraternity we covered the bigscreen tv we had downstairs with a piece of shatterproof plastic so it wouldn't be ruined by beer/flying objects. Why don't they just do this to the outfield boards? Seems too obvious to me. Chainlink fence would be ugly.

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 11:22 AM by Robert Highlight this comment 26

Some nuggets of information regarding the Core Building from the Ballpark Authority website.

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 1:28 PM by Mo Highlight this comment 27

A nice watercolor of the 5th street side of Target Field from the Ballpark Authority.

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 1:29 PM by Mo Highlight this comment 28

Kelly Theiser's photos were great. If it wasn't for this wonderful website and the Target Field fans taking pictures I would be going insane down here in Florida. Thank you to everyone! I can't wait for this ballpark to open!

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 3:48 PM by Joe Highlight this comment 29

Mo, thanks for the blueprints. Watch out for Homeland Security!

Somehow I had in my mind that there would be some kind of grand staircase from the Northstar platform up to the main level. Nothing too fancy, but something that brought you up into the middle of the core building. Imagine a circle cut in the floor looking down toward thew platform, railings all around so people can look down and stairs and escalators coming up through the hole. Something not unlike the escalators at Macy's Southdale.

Ah well, another bit of my imagination crushed...

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 5:00 PM by David Highlight this comment 30


No worries regarding Homeland Security. Those blueprints were posted on the Ballpark Authority website, so, if anyone should worry it's the folks at the Ballpark Authority.

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 5:58 PM by Mo Highlight this comment 31

Rick, if you go to the new photo gallery at the twins website. I think it is the 3rd photo in the 1st galley. It looks like there is an entrance to the twins pro shop in the area closest to the building.

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 6:34 PM by design/build guy Highlight this comment 32

by building i mean ballpark

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 7:45 PM by design/build guy Highlight this comment 33

Hey click my name to see some nice new pics of TCF Bank Stadium from the inside!

Posted on October 30, 2008 at 8:22 PM by Freealonzo Highlight this comment 34

Wow, so anyone like me who sometimes loses track of the relativity of time should take a look at what the site looked like a year ago. Checking the webcam everyday makes it feel like the process is going so slowly but looking back one year ago it's amazing! It boggles my mind to see the progress that's been made. Then just thinking about what it'll look like a year from now is really exciting!

Thanks for the new pics, Rick.

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 02:46 AM by chuck in ak Highlight this comment 35

Thanks Free!
I check your site daily hoping for updates!

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 10:54 AM by J2K Highlight this comment 36

I was just checking out camera #2 on the the Twins website. Wow, what a beautiful sunset. For archive of it... October 31, time 18:30.

Posted on October 31, 2008 at 6:47 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 37

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

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

That is pretty close... (Grandstand)

Photo by Tyler Wycoff

Suite Level

Which way to the skyway? Really??

A place to sit (does it look like a pitcher's mound to you?)

Beams connecting the plaza to the Target Center walkway

Night (about the 7th inning)

Through the windows of the Metropolitan Club you can see one of the displays of Met Stadium memorabilia.

This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.

Condiments! (complete with faux limestone on the cart -- nice touch)

Peering through Gate 29 -- lots to see

(Click to enlarge.)

Solution for a hot night, just inside Gate 34 (that's a cool mist, by the way, not hot steam, which would be kind of cruel)

Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)

Wind veil framing (from the inside)

This is NOT Twins Territory anymore

Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)

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

Sky through steel.

Griffith Stadium (notch visible in lower photo at far left)

Stairs and escalator down to the platform

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)

Uh oh. A code of conduct. Clearly posted. I'm not gonna mention any names, but you know who you are... (Click to enlarge.)

The lone light standard and one of those "entry beacons."

Here's what they do in April at Comerica Park

Then you turn around to this!

Gate 34 Puckett

The closed concession stand.

A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue

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

This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.

Walkway connection


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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Second Edition (1987)

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

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(2003, medium coffee table)

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Combines the previous two titles
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Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia


Book and six ballpark miniatures

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