While smarter people are doing some serious number-crunching, all I've got to offer are a few views of Target Field, and a few notes from my brief tour last week. You won't get any smarter here, but maybe you can keep that pre-ballpark adrenalin pumping as we head into the doldrums.
(But before we get into that, you should seriously check out that link up there. For 10 bucks you can get all the information you need to understand where the Twins payroll stands heading into this off-season. I haven't read it yet -- I'm going to wait for the $17.95 hard copy version -- but I've seen some mighty cool excerpts over on the TwinsGeek site, and this can't help but be a winner. Click now!)
My trip down on this day was to check out the delivery of the old Met Stadium flag pole. But there was a lot going on.
Bronze glove delivered (awaiting installation) with Met flag pole horizontal behind the gate
Wind veil framing
Better them than me
Wind veil framing (from the inside)
Glove from above
Speakers spaced evenly among the lights
Frost on the pumpkins, snow on the plaza
Wind veil install from across Seventh
The following day, I headed down to get some footage of the pole being installed and meet up with my original flag pole contact at the Legion in Richfield, Ben McEvers. (I'll tell that whole story another day very soon -- with LOTS of pictures.)
Ben and I arrived separately, each with a guide from the Twins, and each too late to see the pole actually put up (though some of you may have seen footage of the install on various FSN broadcasts). Ben's grumpy rhetorical question summed up the disappointment, "How many pictures can you take of a damn flag pole?" (You'd be surprised, Ben.)
But we did get a walk around the main concourse, including the outfield area, and saw some sights.
Poles through the gap
Much of the signage is in place, and seems at first glance to be sufficient. All of the lettering is in Target red, a thread of branding which now runs throughout the place despite the general lack of bull's-eye logos. It's livable, but red signs over green seats does come perilously close to, um, jolly.
With seats in place throughout the seating bowl, it's obvious now that folks at the back of this level will be seated beneath the Legend's Club seats, which seem to loom surprisingly close overhead.
It's not as bad as the equivalent area at Wrigley, and I'm sure that some fans will be perfectly happy there. But I hope that STHs know just where that overhang starts, because it will block the sky and the big scoreboard for some.
We stepped into Hrbek's. The big Twins logo on the floor was covered to prevent damage during construction, but the ceiling is made up of metallic tiles, each about two feet square and containing one of the various Twins logos from throughout the years. There were so many variations that I had no hope of counting them all. It gave the place quite a saloon feel. Most welcome.
Ben took this picture of me (carrying my mostly useless camera) and Twins rep Chris Iles down by the admin building
At the admin building corner there is a spacious standing-room area which will have drink rails, and is fitted with radiant heaters above, just like the rest of the concourse. I'll admit that I'm just not sure what to think of radiant heating. I mean, I like it, but it sure is a weird ballpark amenity. Do any other MLB parks have that? (I don't know.)
We stepped to where the bullpen area is below the concourse. From the concourse side, it's not possible to see into the bullpens over the ribbon boards. This was a surprise, because I believe this had been touted as an amenity earlier.
It is possible to see into them from the bench seating in left, and also from a little portion of the concourse which juts out at the opposite end (directly beneath the Celebration sign). I know this is minutia, but I have to believe the Twins will take the upper bullpen because it clearly will have a better view and be more comfortable.
Next we threaded our way through construction materials to get a close look at the wood-backed seats in straight-away center. We also got to give them a try.
The look is amazing, and they were plenty comfortable. This little collection of seats will really be great, though I remain concerned about obstructed views in all of the outfield sections. For example, I don't think it's possible to see a play at either the center field or right field walls from any of these sections. While not untypical of ballparks, the cramped nature of things -- which is generally a very good thing -- does seem to do bad things to sightlines.
It was too brief a tour, but they always are. Ben caught me gazing over the green for a moment before turning to head out:
"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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
A look at Gate 34.
You write the caption...
The media all turned out!
Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
New Year's Eve, 2008
Standing, standing, standing.
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
This opportunity is half a block up Third Avenue and thousands of people walk right by before and after games.
Fencing is going up all along the plaza
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
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.
The back gates at Comerica park, like everything else, a bit overwrought.
At one point, we thought these windows might represent one of the so-called knotholes. But nope. Nothing to see here. (Nearest I can tell, there will be no view of the playing field whatsoever from the Seventh Street sidewalk.)
Click to see the full-size image.
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
You are forgiven for wondering whether architect Tom Oslund is, in fact, a visitor from the future.
North Loop Deli
Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!
Nuts on Clark (a couple blocks north of Wrigley Field)
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
Home plate mount from Met Stadium (Source: LP, courtesy Clyde Doepner)
This view, through a B ramp window, won't last forever.
Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.
Skinny dugouts at TF
Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.
A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??
Target Plaza looking toward the grandstand
Clyde Doeppner proudly displays colored bricks he scavenged from the Met during its demolition. These are the colors in question!
A spot that's always full!
The beautiful Promenade has become a sea of temporary barricades. (Smoker's Row outside the unnumbered gate)