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.
Legends Club seats in context (above the main concourse, below the suite level)
Hot dawgs! Getcher hot dawgs!
The steel cage expands.
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
The completed promenade
I see an opportunity in this view for an Abbey Road-style promotional photo! Mauer, Morneau, Nathan and Cuddyer walking toward the ballpark. The only question: which one takes off his cleats?
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
Name that band. Please. (Mick Sterling)
Pile driving in progress
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
A sampling of seats at Fenway Park
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
Up there is where I plan to buy a lot of hot dogs. You can see the vending areas developing rather quickly around the completed portion of the upper concourse.
Work in progress.
The pink thing is a mascot. (Actually, with a damn fine mascot actor underneath.)
The Puckett Atrium
Wrigley Field viewed while approaching on foot from the northwest
You can't get there from here.
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
Wow! Looking good.
The media all turned out!
The limestone theme is apparently carried to the area behind home plate. This will look great -- and distinctive -- on TV. But watch out for those foul balls!
All three seating mounds
Here is one of the concept drawings referenced (but not shown) in the MPR story (conceptual ballpark at left, LRT tracks switched to the north half of the Fifth Street bridge, which is actually in all of the long-range plans).
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
For those not wishing to suffer through my media rant, please enjoy this picture of my lilacs in full bloom.
This will be a bar/restaurant.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
Franchise history before Minnesota. (Click to enlarge.)
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