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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Secret entrance exposed!
A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)
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.)
A cross section of the field construction. (Click to enlarge.)
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
Work has begun on the plaza, and the activity has started to impact I-394 traffic.
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
This is the HERC Premonade with railroad tracks snaking beneath. (I think this should be named the Halsey Hall Premonade. Seriously.)
The canopy as viewed through the outfield stands. The lighting approach, despite what you may have heard, is actually very traditional.
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
No griping here.
The Puckett Atrium
Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens
Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.
Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.
(Click to enlarge)
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
OK, just how many servings per container?
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.