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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
I will take a picture of just about anything.
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
Three weeks ago this was a patch of scruffy trees. Now it's a patio. In case you were wondering, that's where I've been...
The Overlook, as seen by outfielders
Steel going up fast.
Double plays will be turned here.
Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.
Branding on the plaza
Which way to the skyway? Really??
Puckett atrium menu part 2 (Those prices match elsewhere in the ballpark.)
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
Town Ball Tavern balcony
Now, why is there horse shit on the street next to Target Field? (I saw it in two places. Mounted police maybe?)
This is amazingly close to completed. It's a short tunnel entrance ramp to 394 underneath the outfield stands.
The HERC promenade side.
The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
Also from the same lobby, other window, a view which will clearly disappear before too long...
Looking south (toward Seventh Street).
Chef stand and menu in the Carew atrium
For those who have never seen it up close, that's what it looks like when steam comes out of the HERC plant.
The service entrance area in left-center, now with bench seating
Guthrie Theater (original design colors)
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
I could gaze at this streetscape all day. It isn't perfect, but as a model for Minneapolis, I love it. (Except the Biff, of course. Click to enlarge.)