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 3004 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
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.
This is very early in the day.
A whole bunch of guys working on something.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
Another piece of the neighborhood puzzle: the Northstar platform.
One of those funny little sections above the entrance stairs
The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street
I love views like this. They show just how much Target Field shimmers. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
These tracks actually travel beneath the admin building and come out on the other side
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.)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
Party deck down the right field line
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
I had to hold the camera as far over my head as I could to get this shot, in which the infield is finally visible. It's a spot made for your average Timberwolves player.
Dedicated closed-captioning ribbon board
The bases for the player statues have been recently upgraded.
Since pictures of the ballpark are forbidden, perhaps you'll enjoy this shot of the lovely apple tree in my front yard.
Home plate mount from Met Stadium (Source: LP, courtesy Clyde Doepner)
Name that ballpark
Stairs and escalator down to the platform
A distinct misstep, ostensibly to guard against missteps. But methinks I smell a lawyer...
Section 125, Row 1
Twins in HD on the big board
Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.
More flowers, more pennants.
The first completed mural
Yep, that's real grass down there, son.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
A truck is leaving the HERC plant. Here you can see the proximity to the promenade. For the record, the truck drove right by me and I smelled nothing...