Looking back at yesterday's entry, it occurred to me that I left the most important aspect of a great ballpark to just a brief mention at the end. The truth is that the most important part of a great baseball place is what happened there.
But you can't build history into a park, you can only evoke it. To a certain extent, I suppose, you can also transfer history as they did by moving home plate from the original Busch Stadium to Busch II in St. Louis. (I don't know if the same thing happened between Busch II and the new park. Anybody know?)
Moving the Metrodome home plate may make some sense since two World Series were won there. The pitching rubber has some significance, too. But beyond those, there's not much about the Metrodome that we might want to retain. In fact, I can't think of a darn thing.
Thinking back on Met Stadium, I suspect that home plate is long gone (Update: This is now confirmed). And so many people have seats tucked away in their garages (they write to tell me about it all the time) that it might be interesting to put together a Met section (a la Midway Stadium), but those seats weren't especially comfortable. Doesn't seem worth the work.
There is one interesting piece of the Met which may be available. The original flag pole was given to and still stands outside the Richfield American Legion located on Portland Avenue just south of the crosstown. B.W. McEvers, a visitor to my other site, told me the story of how they got the original flag pole from the Met:
Basically, the club manager and a couple of officers prevailed upon the person in charge of salvage to donate the pole to the club. The story goes that the guy already had a buyer but was persuaded that the pole should remain in the area and what better place than a local Vet's club. The pole was dragged (they waited for a lousy, snowy day) over to the post and set on blocks. One of the guys (Dan Mulroy of Mulroy's Body Shop) had an employee of his sandblast and paint the pole. Everything was donated as far as time and material. Another guy worked for L.H. Sowles Construction and arranged for the necessary crane, survey person to shoot the angle, etc. Everyone was pretty much astonished that these guy's were able to not only get the pole but get it properly installed. I suppose the salient point is that active and concerned members managed to get the old pole installed on Post property essentially for free.
(It's at) 6501 Portland. Flagpole is not hard to spot. It's a bit shorter than original because it had to be cut off at ground level and re-installed. I do not know if there is a plaque, there may well be.
This might make a nice connection to the past if the Twins could buy back the pole by replacing it with a new one free of charge (and maybe some tickets). I don't know the logistics of such a process, but it seems like something worth investigating.
A lot of the Met was made up of chain link fence and temporary seating (now resting quietly in a landfill in Eagan). The most distinctive portions were the colored panels on the outside of the grandstand and the gigantic light standards which hovered over the infield. Obviously, none of this need be located, but it does suggest some architectural elements which might evoke the past.
A footnote to the new location is that Minnesota's first professional teams played very nearby. Athletic Park was located on the block now occupied by Butler Square, just across I-394 from the new park. It might be nice to acknowledge this somehow.
As far as I know, there's simply nothing left anywhere of Griffith Stadium or American League Park (the original home of the Senators). Anything done to remember these places would probably have to be in the form of plaques or monuments. For example, did you know that there are three additional Hall-of-Famers who wear Washington Senators caps but are not recognized anywhere at the Metrodome? And did you know that those Senators - the forerunners of our Twins -- won the AL pennant three times, and the World Series once?
These seem like things which need to be remembered in the new park. I'll try to work up more information on them some other day.
"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.
A peek through a tiny gate.
One of the many supports being built over the tracks.
Detail enclosing the main ticket window area
The rough outlines of our urban trench. (North is up.)
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...
This little pathway snakes between the LRT tracks and the Environmental Services Building, emptying into the parking area surrounding the HERC. It could be for maintenance, but it looks more like it's for convenience.
Love the LC!
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
Path of quick escape.
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Just some of the lumiaries who turned out for the unveiling (Terry is clearly thinking about Sidney Ponson).
This is the area above the pro shop, with some new support structure
Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.
Detail of view to the northeast (Source: LP)
The knothole (sans view of anything interesting)
Inside the Metropolitan Club. Classic photo of a youthful Bob Casey at far right. (Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Memorabilia on display in the Metropolitan Club
Footings for the Seventh Street walkway from the A ramp.
A sign that your mall is all but dead: roped off escalators. (This is at about 4:00 PM on a weekday.)
Some baseball legends (and Ron Coomer)
I still counted 11 flag poles...
An ice cream salad cone -- er, Walk-a-Taco
Open concourses do mean that you can glimpse the field no matter where you are, but not really the game.