What's Ballpark Magic?
August 22, 2008 1:47 AM
With the State Fair starting, I'm remembering how last year there was a completely new rendering of the ballpark on the walls of the Twins booth (located at the north end of Machinery Hill near the dog building).
Some people will go to work here every day.
I discovered it by accident, and took a few quick pictures with my phone, then asked the guys manning the booth if they knew anything about it. They looked at me like I was a little crazy (which, well, who knows?).
In yesterday's comments, someone noted that sometimes the fans seem more excited about the new ballpark than the front-line Twins employees. I've experienced this first-hand.
It's not hard to understand. If you work for a company, and the company is building a new corporate headquarters, all you really know is that someday you're going to have to move everything from one office to another. Sure, the new office will be newer, and maybe nicer, but the real perks are going to go to the higher-ups. Selling jerseys is pretty much the same from one Pro Shop to the next, all the way to one with limestone outside of it...
That exaggerates it a little, but you can still see how it's maybe not as magical for some of them as it is for us -- we who will probably never go to work there.
It made me wonder just what the magic is in a ballpark versus just any other type of building. I'm not sure I can exactly quantify it, but it leads back to impressions that were formed pretty deeply at an early age.
That's Bert back at the Met on Photo Day, September 15, 1974.
For me, it was that first time I ever walked into Met Stadium. I remember most the uniforms so white that you almost had to look away, and the grass that was so perfect and so vast.
The place was just packed with people moving in synchronized harmony with the game, breathing with each pitch much as the players did.
It was Herb Carneal's clear channel radio words sprung to life.
It was a crumpled baseball card transforming into a breathing slugger just like some sort of Cinderella miracle.
Having a glove on my hand had never felt quite so . . . essential.
It was familiar, and in some important ways just like the place where I played baseball at home. But it was more pure and more complete -- and a whole lot bigger.
Our front yard was green but tiny. Our sidewalk sometimes had chalk bases, but usually not. My dad pitched to me from the front steps, and I swung with all my might. He flinched with each swing, but kept on pitching until it got dark.
Noah got his first bat and ball for his birthday. The bat, it turns out, is hollow and eminently fillable with water, which is at least as fun as swinging it. But after he'd swung it a few times, and made a little contact, he wanted to keep on swinging it, and now he won't let me do anything else while we're in the back yard together.
He won't hit right-handed. He won't throw right-handed. He's a natural lefty in just about everything he does. It's rather strange, but I'm not complaining.
Occasionally he pitches to me from the top of the hill, and giggles each time I make contact (it's a little like trying to hit, say, Tim Wakefield, or maybe I should say R. A. Dickey). The other day I launched one toward the roof of the house, and he laughed and laughed. "Do it again, my dad."
But mostly he likes to hit. And he makes contact with everything I toss directly at his bat. Of course, I flinch with each swing, but keep on pitching until it gets dark.
I'm prepared for him not to care much about the new ballpark. But he will at least remember that first experience. I'm determined about that.
There's the magic right there.
More Photo Dump
Somebody asked for concourse photos. Here are a few, with an escalator thrown in for fun.
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
Most of the main concourse is filled with construction materials...
...but you can get a feel for what it will be like.
The field will feel very close.
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
You may have noticed the announcement at the top of the page, but you'll be able to get your very own 2009 calendar which features large (9" x 12") images of the construction that I have taken over the past couple of years. It's an exclusive to this site for now, but I'm willing to talk if you want to sell some yourself.
It's the best way I could think of (beyond keeping up this site) to stay excited about the prospect of outdoor baseball as we follow the final year of construction.
Can you believe it? The final year of new ballpark construction!
Anyway, I hope you know someone who would like such a thing. I know I do!
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"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.
From last week, you can see the piers taking shape. I believe that the front row, visible here as just forms and reinforcing rods, is the front edge of the plaza.
Dan Kenney, my tour guide
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...
Looking north (toward Fifth Street and the LRT station).
This is the staircase (ramp?) leading up to the trapezoid. Nice flagpole too. You'll be able to find me and Ben McEvers at the base of that flagpole on opening day in 2010!
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.
Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.
Here's a detail from the above image, showing the LED strips up close.
Main concourse, looking south toward the area behind home plate.
Directly above gate 6 "Oliva" on the Club level.
Heaters over standing room (the backs of the retired number circles visible above)
Go get 'em, boys!
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
The view down Sixth Street toward the ballpark site. A pedestrian bridge will extend this street right into the main entrance of the park. The regrettable facade of Target Center is on the left. Butler Square is on the right. Click on the image to see what it looked like on this very spot about 100 years ago.
The Metrodome hot dog vendor. (Source: RP)
Love the red flowers -- just like the original concept drawings. That NEVER happens.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)
Click to see the whole page from this 1971 program.
Gate 29 Carew (note the walkway above open to the street where you can shout down at your lost friends to tell them where to meet you)
The start of the VIP entrance and loading dock.
(Click to enlarge.)
Now from the inside looking at the same area.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
The finished product.
Best view available from the "B" ramp.
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.
Future home of the Met Stadium flag pole
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