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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Oh no! Beach ball! But click to enlarge so you can see the wide range of expressions on people's faces. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
Limestone will cover this pretty soon, but for now you can see where the escalator is.
Giant screened images! (573 Club, my back to Seventh Ave windows)
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Now we know what the English phone booths were for...
Some brick work out in the centerfield pavilion.
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Looking through the transit hub
The big glove will go on that circle. Note the gap between the plaza and the ramp. That's 394 you can see through there.
This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.
The outfield stands as viewed through the unnumbered gate
Special guests in the trees!
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
Mound from the other side
The outfield stands taking shape.
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
I took this picture just moments before Morneau's homer landed almost exactly where I had been standing. If only I hadn't wanted to watch the game...
Parking ramp knothole
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
Staircase entrance. You cannot miss them.
Work on the pavilion in center.
Looking toward the Farmer's Market site from the balcony of the 573 Club at TF
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
Puckett atrium menu part 1
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
The ballpark development area expanded by 1000 feet in each direction
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.
Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
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