There has been so much to see and do and read and watch and experience and follow and document and consider and review and note and dismiss and absorb and digest and taste and learn and test and discover and... I'm living in perpetual overload right now.
In truth, the media has been so thick with Target Field stories that it's felt a little like anything I might have to say (which isn't much beyond "wow" with a side of "hmm") would be basically redundant. I've tried to keep up with my various feeds and searches and I've still got no less than 184 articles yet to sift through.
After "seeing" three of the nine games, and hanging out on the plaza for the night game, I've got 805 photos and video clips to sort through, and about a million little notes either stuck in my head or scribbled on my various (regrettably incomplete) scorecards. (I'm 1-2 so far, envious of those of you at 6-3. How about a little fantasy league for games attended? We can find out just who is the best good luck charm for the team. Anybody at 6-0?)
I set up my late inning "office" at the drink rail behind section 206
In the middle of this happy maelstrom, I had a wonderful opportunity drop -- almost literally -- into my lap. I simply could not say no to the opportunity to see a game, the second game at TF, no less, from the Champions Club. I am only now beginning to digest everything I experienced, and the strange other world I sampled for an afternoon.
World Series trophies on display at left
Delmon Young getting warmed up
By the way, I stayed in my seat while it rained until several elements converged: a soaked scorecard, a full bladder, and the ready accessibility of some amazing free food. Some people were gone at the first drop. The woman in front of me had the right idea (staying in her seat) but the wrong execution (opening a gigantic umbrella which blocked everybody's view).
Once back in the dry club, a familiar face was sitting nearby.
When the rain let up a bit, a staffer ran out and dried off my seat for me.
I certainly wouldn't want to see every game this way (estimated weight gain: 81 pounds per season), but it was quite a treat (fresh fruit, smoked salmon, chocolate covered waffles, sliders, endless hot dog bar, free beer and soda, ice cream, candy, peanuts, pastries, salads). I also learned a lot from my host on what we might expect from the secondary ticket market this season. In short, there will be deals to be had, but you're going to have to know where to look.
This would be easy to miss, but I found it on a cart located directly behind the Batter's Eye seating on the upper concourse in center field.
Contrast the Champions Club experience with a $13 seat purchased at Ticket King:
That's the last row of section 324, right at the top of the aisle. The distance to home plate is a little daunting, and the shade, which will be a blessing more days than not, was a disadvantage on this particular day (with a steady wind at my back). Later I snuck down into the sun, and made friends with a railing:
The best part is that within half an inning, I was getting hot in the sun!
I also bumped into a hot dog vendor and tasted yet another variety of TF dog. He called it a "Big Dog" but it was most definitely not. (I think it's actually called the "Dugout Dog".) It was a natural casing wiener with a much better flavor and texture than either the Big Dog or the Dinger Dog. Best TF dog yet.
Later I met up with a friend in 318, who was sitting in her STH seats for the first time. It wasn't pretty:
Those railings, along with the constant flow of people in and out of the section, perfectly block home plate. She was trying to conceal her disappointment, but it didn't work. I think there are some critical things to be said on this subject, but we'll have time to get to those after the honeymoon buzz has worn off a bit.
Right now it seems like, for every bad seat in the bowl, there are a dozen better standing positions.
I have a couple of items on my "punch list" for the ballpark. One of them is to add drink rails to every single possible spot. This turns out to be one of the greatest unexpected amenities in the place (see the picture of my "office" above). And it's to the point where I've found myself walking up to a spot where I would expect to find one, only there's none there (mainly at the back of the main concourse).
Another item is to check the sound. There are reports of spots where it's far too loud, and there are some surprising places (such as the concourse right above the bullpens) where you can't hear anything. Also, the mix of radio, TV, and PA announcer is positively schizophrenic. I'm holding out hope that they're still tweaking.
(Just Like) Starting Over
Along the way, this old John Lennon song kept popping into my head. (Be sure to insert mental images of outdoor baseball in place of Japanese performance artists.)
It's been too long since we took the time
No one's to blame, I know time flies so quickly
But when I see you darling
It's like we both are falling in love again
It'll be just like starting over.
Every few minutes I think of another direction I want to go on this site: reviews of each seating section, food item, parking option, restaurant, bar, ticket purchase option. I want to be able to host your photo collections, hear your stories, gather information on the secondary ticket market. I want to be able to help everybody make connections with one another.
We'll do it all. Eventually.
Right now, I know we're tired, but it's a good kinda tired, right?
Rest now, because another homestand is right around the corner. I'll see plenty of you there!
"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.
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
Mound from the other side
The french fry lights were on!
Click to enlarge greatly.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
From the revised site plan, this is the configuration of Gate 34 Puckett.
Reverse view, now looking down Sixth toward the park. The Met Stadium flag pole will be right there!
A scene repeated about a million times each game
Secret entrance exposed!
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
Glare from the IDS never looked this sweet. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
This is the HERC Premonade with railroad tracks snaking beneath. (I think this should be named the Halsey Hall Premonade. Seriously.)
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
This is the upper deck in Anaheim
The same section seen from Target Center. Yep, looks like bridge supports.
The green is a composite of the topmost seating areas in the new ballpark. The gray is a scale diagram of the Metrodome.
Night (about the 7th inning)
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
These outfield stands will likely remain visible to passersby.
Detail showing clubhouse and home dugout (click to see the entire drawing)
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
Emergency access viewed in context
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
Very interesting detail starting to appear here.
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.
Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Shh. Don't tell those people working behind the ticket windows about these automated ticketing machines (underneath the plaza stairs)