Having a beautiful ballpark is at least something of a consolation when the team is, um, swooning. Given the level of focus on the game that I witnessed, I think it's fair to say that not everyone knows or cares where the Twins are in the standings right now.
That picture was taken from the Bud Deck, a place where it's quite easy to feel sort of above all the noise.
On busy nights, there will be a clump of people hovering on the corner of the deck closest to the field. On this particular night, it would have been possible to stand immediately behind the seated patrons and still get a reasonably good view of the action -- at least the infield portion.
On many nights toward the beginning and end of the season, the fire pit is lit, and there's a crowd of people hovering around it, with no view of the game, enjoying drinks and having a party.
Behind the elevated rows of seating is a rather large bar area which always seems sort of under-utilized. I have seen people hanging out at these tables, but it's much more common to see them vacant. This may actually represent an opportunity for some repurposing, perhaps even another private club.
As it is, the Bud Deck is sort of the ultimate spot where attention to the game is kind of optional.
They really did a great job on the design, it's just that there's no denying that it's built for having a party and not for focusing on baseball. I'm completely OK with that, especially since so much of the stadium really does focus the fans like a laser on what's happening on the field.
The thing that I noticed most on this particular night was the pleasant quiet which can be enjoyed up on the rooftop. If you've ever tried to talk on a cell phone anywhere inside the ballpark, you know that the overall volume level inside Target Field -- every public part of it -- is off the charts.
Not so on the roof. In fact, I think the Bud Deck features one of the great zen spots within Target Field:
That's the thing about baseball facilities: there are amazing little zen moments to be had throughout, and sometimes where you might not expect them...
This groundskeeper is assigned to clean up Gardy's sunflower seed shells (literally; I'm not making that up).
The game is long over. The home team lost. But who wants to go home?
Who would have guessed you could park walkers beneath the stairs?
As the warm evening wore on and the level of hope for a comeback continued to sink, I started looking for a sweet treat I had not tried yet. Sweet treats can certainly have their own zen quality, though I did not set out with such a thing in mind.
I simply set out looking for something cold and affordable, vaguely feeling the urge for one of those frozen Butterfinger ice cream bars they used to sell at a cart up behind the center field stands. Alas, the cart was gone. Moved? Maybe, but I never did find it.
Instead I stumbled onto the Talenti gelato cart located on the main concourse between gates 29 and 34.
For $5.50 you get two scoops and can mix and match among the flavors. It's hard to believe you could go wrong here. I went with Caramel Cookie Crunch and Double Dark Chocolate, and I have to say that it most certainly was its own zen moment.
The portion isn't overly generous, but generous enough. I consider the value to be pretty high because the quality of the product is off the charts. Creamy, delicious, smooth consistency, not too rich, really very good. Next time for me will be Sea Salt Caramel and Tahitian Vanilla Bean.
There was no line, so either I'm in the minority on this, or it hasn't been discovered yet. Perhaps the word "gelato" sounds too foreign for the average ballgame-goer. Whatever it is, use it to your advantage and be sure to try this out next time you get a chance. (There is another cart located near section 302.)
No Trees (yet). Garden (sort of).
Here's a shot I took a couple of weeks ago showing what has become of the former tree space in center. It's not the zen forest it once was, but it's a calm moment all the same:
I'm not sure TV cameras pick this up very well, but they've planted flowers in the shape of baseballs at each end, grass in the middle, and painted a Twins logo dead center. It's just too bad that there's absolutely no way for a fan to get down there and collect the occasional home run ball (such as during batting practice, when I took this).
T. S. Eliot wrote a wonderful poem about, among other things, the need to let go when the moment comes. He had much bigger things in mind than a baseball season, but these words came to mind as I watched the Twins "beat the air" in what continues to look like a trough year:
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.
About the sixth inning I found an empty seat, pulled up with my cup of yummy gelato, and truly enjoyed the end of this game. Yes, the Twins were getting pounded, but they weren't really playing that badly.
And they were definitely playing the Great Game with dignity, which will always make me sit still.
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This page was last modified on July 16, 2012.
"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 3004 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
Fifth Street louvers way up close
Twins president Dave St. Peter presents his list of fan suggestions to the Ballpark Authority
The Ballpark Authority at work (Source: RP)
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.
Click to enlarge
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
(Click to enlarge)
Did I mention that the cheerleaders looked pretty sharp?
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
The Puckett Atrium
Wind veil framing (from the inside)
Complicated pedestrian crossing
This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
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.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)
The former Ford manufacturing plant (now Ford Centre).
(Click to enlarge.)
Target Plaza looking toward the grandstand
This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.
Did you know that the out-of-town scoreboard is covered by a black chain 1ink fence?
Notice the temporary railing extensions
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Walkway entrance from ramp
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.