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!
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Bench seating just off the plaza
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).
These two sections are within a few feet of one another.
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
That's Tony Oliva checking out ballpark construction from the roof of Target Center.
Fifth Street louvers way up close
As mentioned earlier, one of the best climate-controlled views of construction is from the 7th floor elevator lobby in the A ramp. (That's Noah getting his first glimpse of the new ballpark.)
Left field bench seating
All three seating mounds
At the corner of the Pro Shop.
The Target Field grass, it turns out, will be green. (This is a photo representing the concept of grass only. The actual Target Field grass apparently will not contain dirt patches, weeds, or dandelions. Imagine that -- if you can!)
Detail of Entry Plaza #4 (north entry from Fifth Street)
A familiar view through the top floor elevator lobby window in ramp B (HRP View and Terrace).
Gate 29 Carew
Also from the same lobby, other window, a view which will clearly disappear before too long...
Someone please get those poor people a drink of water. (Gate 34, after the game had started)
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
Then you turn around to this!
This is where chain link is being replaced with fencing which matches the plaza
Gate 6 is quite large
Visual depiction of current stadium legislation
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
Is it possible to take a bad picture of this building?