To Care and Not To Care
July 16, 2012 1:34 AM
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.
(More pictures yet to come!)
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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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This may look like just some guy (perhaps a spy) headed for the train. But it's actually the Northstar engineer!
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
Stairs and escalator down to the platform
Glass going in over the Oliva gate.
Section 125, Row 1
Write your own caption. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
This mural is behind the staircase. The window looks onto the promenade, and the door goes to a kitchen.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
TC gets ready to release the hounds. (Kids get to run the bases after Sunday games.)
More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
The pink thing is a mascot. (Actually, with a damn fine mascot actor underneath.)
Also warming things up are these planters.
Here's the entrance from the seating bowl. It's down the outer moat, just beyond the last of the Dugout Box sections.
Look familiar? Unfortunately, just adding little balconies with cool angles will not offset the pervading ugliness.
Gate 34 Puckett
Dancing for the cameras
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities
Poles through the gap
Chef stand and menu in the Carew atrium
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
The Fun Zone/Rescue Area in Oakland during the second inning
The Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage seating
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Integrating the administration building was really a great idea. Actually, there will be more things inside than just offices, but that will probably be some sweet space.
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?
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
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures