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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
The closed concession stand.
Final pieces arrive
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Hops! (conceptual only)
View level as seen through the Seventh Street circulation ramp
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
A sharp-eyed reader caught me trying to make the best of a bad situation with my SP-570UZ on Sunday afternoon
Door to the visitor's clubhouse.
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.
Detail of view to the northeast (Source: LP)
The main concourse is a very busy place at all times.
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
(Click to enlarge.)
The view through a construction "knothole".
Concrete molds are being removed!
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
Larry DiVito, mowing
From an earlier visit: Don't bother with those escalators either. They were also roped off. And how about a bench? Or a planter? Or even a trash can? That woman is doing the only thing she can: leaning up against a post to do her texting.
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
New Concept Drawing - No Roof
At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)
JohnW provides this shot of a construction barricade on First Avenue
The plate marker is just to the left.
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
This view, through a B ramp window, won't last forever.
Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.