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.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
Purple flowers above Second Avenue
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
A path for workers -- don't touch the plaza! -- in front of three giant Chia pets
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)
The Ballpark Authority at work (Source: RP)
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Thome steps in.
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
Work going on under the steel.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)
This design has a rather generic quality to it, but they appear to have considered the B garage. Though it isn't part of the model, they've clearly left room for it.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...