One benefit of riding the Northstar train is getting a look inside the circulation building. Even though this part isn't connected to the rest of the ballpark, it's still Twins Territory.
The entry from the platform to the ballpark.
A mural featuring the names of a bunch of Minnesota towns.
Up inside the circulation building. (That's the LRT platform visible through the windows.)
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
Riding the Rails
If you are a Facebook fan or Twitter follower, you know that Noah and I got on the Northstar train and rode to Big Lake last Saturday. Us and about a billion other people.
It was standing room only until we got about halfway home. What were all these people doing? Same thing we were: checking out the route and amenities and everything.
Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).
I'll probably never have a reason to ride that train again, but there's something very engaging about seeing your city from a completely different vantage point. You have moments when you recognize the back of a landmark, and you discover that places you know actually have different place names from a train.
You also get to see a lost history of the city documented in metal awnings, loading platforms and abandoned track spurs which used to serve all of these ancient warehouses. For some, this would be boring. For me, it was fascinating almost every moment. (Hmm, maybe there is a reason for me to ride that train again...)
I used to live adjacent to these tracks in northeast Minneapolis, and always wondered what it might be like to ride a train on them. Turns out, it made me seasick.
This probably wasn't a very common reaction among riders, but it nabbed two of us in our party (my brother and his family also joined us). It's easy to understand when you realize that those tracks move through some pretty serious freight yards on their way to Fridley. They have to go slowly, and there are trains moving at different speeds on each side, and the cars have a bouncy ride that is common for commuter rail, but quite different from LRT.
Add to that the fact that, since we were standing, we had to fold in half to look out the windows. A deadly combination.
Once we hit 50 MPH, in the stretch past Anoka, and had a few of Noah's crackers in us, everybody recovered just fine. I wouldn't let it deter me from riding, because the solution is simple: don't look out the window!
Here are a couple of sights from the trip.
Our conductor in Big Lake
With the engine behind us, we got a real sense of how fast we were going by looking out the front (back) window
Arrival back at Target Field
Not only is there a new look here, but there are new features -- including details on two new services which will be available in the next couple of months.
You may also notice that the front page of this web site no longer has any Google ads -- at least not for the next few weeks. That's my way of saying thanks to the folks who donated so generously and unexpectedly.
There's a donate button in the upper right of this page if you feel so inclined. I will use any donations to extend the ad-free period, with the goal simply being that donations replace the (somewhat measly) ad earnings, which go to cover the direct expenses of the site.
One final thing is that the old domain name, though it will still be recognized, is now the former name of the site. So RIP, TwinsBallpark2010. You done good. Hello, BallparkMagic. (Update your bookmarks!)
Thanks for your patience while I got all this ready. Now we can get back to talking more frequently about baseball and our new ballpark.
"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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.
Red is old Yankee Stadium. This diagram comes from FieldOfSchemes.com
Shh. Don't tell those people working behind the ticket windows about these automated ticketing machines (underneath the plaza stairs)
An ice cream salad cone -- er, Walk-a-Taco
Love the red flowers -- just like the original concept drawings. That NEVER happens.
Legends Club fireplace (there are two)
(Click to enlarge)
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.
Here is a close-up of those funny little islands of seats (HRP View).
A scene repeated about a million times each game
The Northstar stop has a name.
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
OK, just how many servings per container?
Discovered on the upper concourse!
Ballark Authority members listen to the LEED introduction
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
Look beyond the gigantic hand (a hounds tooth jacket? really?) and you'll get a glimpse of the main grandstand configuration. The two (or is it three?) levels of suites are visible, as is the design of the so-called "split upper deck," and the extensive use of limestone for decorative accents. Let's hope these little touches don't get cut as costs increase, because they make a nice tie-in from the outside of the park to the inside. Of most interest to me is the way that the very best seats are physically separated from all the rest of the seats by that limestone. There will be virtually no way to sneak into these seats. On one level, that's a somewhat sad design feature...
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
This is the area above the pro shop, with some new support structure
Hit gap, win suit!
Clyde Doeppner proudly displays colored bricks he scavenged from the Met during its demolition. These are the colors in question!
I think this promenade over the railroad tracks needs a name. How about the Halsey Hall Promenade? (Please do not throw cigar butts onto the tracks!)
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right