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Going Ninja

August 11, 2009 3:25 AM

When tour opportunities arise, you know I'll jump at the chance. Today's opportunity wasn't on my radar for long, and it was essentially a tag-along situation, so I could be somewhat incognito. The no-photo policy was still in effect, and I dutifully left my fancy camera in the trunk.

But as the tour progressed the policy was relaxed a little bit to something akin to "cell phone photos for personal use only". So I decided to show some restraint, but at least get a couple of souvenirs.

What I got won't spoil any a-ha moments, but it was pure ballpark magic:


Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)

At first, this may look pretty generic. But that's head groundskeeper Larry DiVito out there, and he has just completed laying out the infield! Better yet, as we made our way around the place, he was watering down his newly-flattened dirt!

It's not the final surface, of course. But he has spent his day measuring out 90 feet on a line from a stake where home plate will be toward the yellow foul pole already in place.

What did you do today?

Actually, in terms of process, it looked like there were spokes emanating from a mark at what would be the center of the square represented by the base lines. Only Larry knows which came first and which was just double-checking, but there are now two-by-fours staked into place along the transition from base path dirt to infield grass. (Looking at the webcam, I can see that he actually started the process about a week ago. And I heard that lasers were involved.)

There were a couple of piles of dirt around where second base will be which looked like they could be ready to be spread out as the playing surface (just based on their color). I have no idea how many layers are involved there, so I can't say for sure.

Here's another view from the left field pavilion:


Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)

That picture was taken while sitting in a seat out in section 231 (Home Run Porch Terrace), after I recovered from my initial reaction. I'll come back to that in a minute.

Obstructed? Well...

In walking to the front of the section, I leaned over the railing to see if I could get a glimpse of the left field wall. But there was nothing doing there, and I discovered that the front of that section is actually over the playing surface by maybe a few inches. The ribbon board attached to the front of the section is entirely over the playing field.

This is very cool in one way, and a potential PR problem in another.

On the good side, it means that it's not hard to imagine homers actually landing up there in the so-called "Home Run Porch."

On the bad side, well, there were a few things I couldn't see. (The railing, by the way, was a non-issue. I'm 5' 8".)

I've mentioned before that I've been trying to determine just where there might be some obstructed views in this ballpark, and here is clearly one. Fans in the outfield may not expect to see the wall directly beneath them, but this configuration may make it impossible to see a left fielder who is playing a little deep.

This is, of course, a direct result of squeezing a ballpark onto such a small site, so I don't think there was any way to avoid it. But I would hope that season ticket holders know what they might be missing before they get there in April. The worst thing that could happen would be a surprise like some fans got in the Bronx this year.


Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)

There is a definite coziness to these sections. It may be called a "split upper deck" but it's really two very separate seating areas. Once you get over what you cannot see from here, you're gonna love it.

Restraint Now. Grumpiness Later.


Quote wall

I mentioned that I decided to show some restraint in taking pictures, though I would not have had to. I saw a lot of things that made me think, "Ooh, I should get a shot of that."

Basically, I decided to take the team at its word. They want to save some things until opening day, and I understand that. In fact, they should have complete control over all the revelations which are to come, and make the absolute most of them along the way.

So imagine my shock when I got home and saw one of the coolest details I've seen yet -- something I consciously decided not to photograph out of respect for the team's wishes -- in the middle of a routine construction update on the Twins web site.

Sure, it's a small thing. But it is a detail which shows just how much the team is trying to strike the right note in every aspect of the park. It's the team history in broadcast quote form, and each quote will likely solicit a story from the person looking at it. If not a story, at least a very vivid memory and probably a smile.


Legends Club fireplace (there are two)

It kind of came out of nowhere as the tour wound through the main grandstand. The quote wall is located just outside the 573 Club doors on the Club level, which also happens to be the rear wall of the press box (a nice tie-in). As I came around that corner, it literally took my breath away for a moment. I immediately thought, "Oh, I understand," and decided it was not my place to spoil it.

The real question is, why would the team, on the one hand, give away such a thing in a toss-off construction slideshow while, on the other hand, trying to prevent the true ballpark geeks from seeing it? I just plain don't get it.

Same goes for this image of a fireplace, which is from the same slideshow, and represents another of the small-but-cool personalizing details being built into the park.

I guess I shouldn't really care how the cool stuff comes out. But I feel like a chump for respecting the team's wishes only to have some really cool stuff basically dumped unceremoniously to the barely-casual fan. If that policy is truly to allow the team to make something out of those moments, they're doing a pretty lousy job of it.


An alternative to the a-ha explanation that I've heard is that the Twins don't want people to feel like they've seen everything before they even get there.

Well, if my compatriots on this tour are typical of the general public (which I believe they are -- they were definitely not ballpark geeks), everything is going to seem like a revelation when the park opens. The vast majority of the 40,000 fans who show up on opening day will have never visited this web site, and have never seen more than a couple of pictures of the place on TV or in a newspaper.

Many will need directions on how to get there and where to park. (Watch for an announcement coming soon about just such a resource...)

Once again I heard people ask the same old questions about the fence distances and the number of seats and suites, why the number 573 is significant, and, if you can believe this, what the name "Metropolitan Club" means.


The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)

This was a very casual, sort of unofficial tour, so I wouldn't have expected these folks to know such details. And that's the point. Most people will have given the new ballpark barely a thought beyond either general enthusiasm or general dread (yes, there are almost as many of those out there because of baseless weather and garbage fume concerns).

But I follow this project closely, as you know, and I've been down there plenty of times, both inside and outside. I'm not into memorizing details like the fence distances, but there are a lot of details that I do carry around with me. I could probably give such tours, though I'd get bored by having to answer the same questions over and over.

So by the Twins' logic, I should be completely jaded about the whole thing by this point, right? Well frankly, I kind of thought the same thing as I headed out to tour once again.

But then I sat down in that outfield seat.

The sun was out in full strength. There was a very slight breeze. The sky was mostly blue, and a now-recognizable baseball field was stretching out in front of me. There was even a blimp, for God's sake!

It was a surprisingly emotional moment. I think I could have sat there until April.

You see, when I actually got to ballgames as a kid (a once per season type of thing) we always sat out in the left field bleachers at Met Stadium. I'd inadvertently picked a seat at Target Field which brought all of that back instantly. And it simultaneously threw me forward to what it will be like to share something that I love with my spouse and sons. It was a very weirdly great time-travel soup.


Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)

My point is that nothing the fans see or read anywhere could possibly detract from that moment. And knowing what that moment was like for me today, I would simply never do or say anything that might diminish it for someone else. In fact, I doubt that I or anyone else could even do that.

Here's what I can say from today's tour: Each fan is in for a personal treat when he or she steps into that place. And that's the essence of ballpark magic.


Come back tomorrow when I hope to get into some of the new details I either heard or discovered, once I have them properly confirmed. And thanks for stopping by today. Please tell your friends where you get your ballpark fix!


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Well stated Rick and a great job, again, of doing the Twins PR job for them. I am sooooo excited for this ballpark and it is because of you and this site.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 05:53 AM by Jim Highlight this comment 1

I absolutely love the colors they have on the wall of the Metropolitan Club. What a great way to honor the old Met. Are they going to do that over the whole wall or just in patches? Awesome report, as always!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 06:47 AM by Andrew Highlight this comment 2

Did people really not know what Metropolitan Club name meant?! wow who were these people you toured with? Otherwise great report sir!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 07:04 AM by The Sooj Highlight this comment 3

I bet those people don't remember Dan Dobbek either.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 07:27 AM by B.W. McEvers Highlight this comment 4

Wow, this is a great update.

I've been coming to this site a LOT lately. Thank you very much Rick for so eloquently putting all this together. I am a self proclaimed ballpark geek too. Prior to all this new stadium talk, I forever held Met Stadium as the best we'll ever get...

While TF is a lot more polished, it's appearing that the magic is coming back, just in a different way.

Fantastic site, can't say it enough, I just never posted before.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 08:31 AM by markw Highlight this comment 5

Kudos, Rick. Great update.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 08:52 AM by OG Jeff Highlight this comment 6

Please don't be too hard on folks who don't know much about or have a soft spot for Metropolitain Stadium.

27 years is a long time. Many people have moved here or been born since the beginning of the Metrodome era.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 09:06 AM by Dale Highlight this comment 7

What kind of cell phone do you have Rick? I could never come close to a picture like that with my phone

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 09:08 AM by Eric Highlight this comment 8

It looks like they are finally putting up the flashing on the bottom of the crown on cam 2.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 09:19 AM by DeePee Highlight this comment 9

Picasa won't let me upload all of the photos (software bug?), so here they are on Flickr. Flickr won't let me upload everything due to account limits, but most of it is there.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:32 AM by David (aka David) Highlight this comment 10

i think this site author, (future asst. to the traveling secretary Rick) :P had a part to play in not only the old met stadium flagpole being relocated to TF, but also the "celebration sign". from the pics it will be quite prominent. that signage was not part of the original concepts for the park. it was discussed here and i think in some way that led the team to re-think what they wanted to put out there. maybe it played no role, but i think it got the powers at be to think after the idea of a restaurant in centerfield was dropped. at any rate, it was a great decision for the overall "twins" branding of this beautiful ballpark.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:39 AM by tim Highlight this comment 11

The preferred route for the Light Rail line to Eden Prairie now likely to come past the ballpark.

Click my name for a link to the StarTribune article.

See also

The preferred route is 3A.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 06:18 AM by David_Mpls Highlight this comment 12

Really like seeing the small stuff like the Legends Club fireplace. The materials used throughout the park don't seem cheap from the pics. Also like the attention to detail. Thanks for a great update!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:51 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 13

Are the various clubs in the park going to be open on non game days? ANd which clubs can the aveage non season ticket holder access?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:04 AM by firedog Highlight this comment 14

oh man, the quotes wall is stunning! while playing backyard baseball as kids, we repeatedly said "and for the first time the Minnesota Twins are world champions" and, of course, jack buck's "and we'll see ya tomorrow night!"

honestly it gave me chills to see that. awesome.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:32 AM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 15

the more i ponder this no-photo policy, rick, the more i think it was and is directly aimed at you and your site. this site is tops when googling 'new twins ballpark.' my guess is the twins had an intern go on a fact-finding mission to get info on your site and it irritated the front office w/ all the 'ballpark ninja geeks' comments. that just seems to be the only reason they would cut you off but then leak some 'aha' moments liberally elsewhere.

i'm just sayin...

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:37 AM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 16

Lafferty, that tile that in on the fireplaces is by no means not cheap cheap material. It is imported porcelain tile from Italy. There is a lot of nice tile and other finishes throughout the project. A lot of the tile in the suite levels and club levels are imported high quality materials. The floor tile in the suites is all natural limestone tile. There are also some standard tiles in the main and upper concourse restroom walls and food prep areas.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:40 AM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 17

When is the canopy supposed to be finished?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:46 AM by bob Highlight this comment 18

Last I heard is that there is no huge rush to get the skin on the underside of the canopy to get done. As of right now it is not holding up any other items on the schedule, as this area is most likely the last sections for seat installation. There were some delays on this part of the canopies due to some questions that needed to be answered by engineers/architects as well as a few weather delays. Web cam 2, you can see the skin on the bottom is visible now. I am guessing 3-4 more weeks and it should be complete, based on the rate that they have been going.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 19

mowing my lawn just now got me thinking about see the nice mowed grass in pattern at the ballpark! Only 2 weeks till sod comes!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:06 PM by The Sooj Highlight this comment 20

Will there be wheelchair seating in the moat like Kauffman Stadium?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM by michael (aka bob) Highlight this comment 21

Bob, There is wheelchair seating in the Dugout box Sections 1,2,16 and 17. They are right at field level, and a couple sections past the dugouts.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 22

Eric, my phone is the LG Voyager. It gets good reviews, but it's a pretty clunky phone. The camera is very, very slow. Forget about capturing anything spontaneously. But in a situation like the tour yesterday (where the subject is stationary), it worked well.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM by Rick 23

That sure is good news about route 3A on the Southwest LRT line. That seemed obvious from the beginning, but sometimes "obvious" doesn't get to meet "funding" without some help along the way.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:40 PM by Rick 24

trosy29 makes a good point about finishing materials. I saw lots of things finished quite beautifully with everything from marble to metal to even a laminate (wood?) designed to mimic the limestone exterior.

It boggles the mind to consider how many millions of small decisions go into building a ballpark like this.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:42 PM by Rick 25

I have been visiting the Twins web site and web cams daily since they started the project, and visiting this one daily for about the last 6 months. Your "Going Ninja" posting today is the most eloquent and informative writing regarding Target Field I have seen so far. You nailed the Twins PR attempts. They were doing a good job until the beginning of June and then it is like a door slammed shut. I hope they can appreciate the great job you are doing and that holding out photos and information to the fans can only be negative. Keep up the great work!!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM by Tommy Highlight this comment 26

Rick, Did the Quotes wall have Jack Bucks... "The Twins are going to win the World Series" !! "The Twins Have Won it"!! (Two of the most magical sentences in Twins History), (besides 1987's that is)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM by Hans Highlight this comment 27

Forgot the ?? LOL!!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 12:54 PM by Hans Highlight this comment 28

Now that the 3A line looks like it's going to happen...they need to look at a LRT line coming in from the NW suburbs, maybe starting/finishing at the Maple Grove Transit Hug right off I-94. Also, they need to look at a LRT line coming into St. Paul from the NE (White Bear Lake?) and SE (Cottage Grove?) suburbs as well.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 29

Thanks for the once again great update Rick, well done. Looking at webcam 2 in the Dugout Boxes, it appears that a few rows of seats appear to be missing in the first two dugout boxes. The seating chart shows this too...what's the reasoning for that?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:26 PM by BB Highlight this comment 30

Fred -

there is a whole series of plans that were drawn up by El Tinklenberg when he was at MNDoT

Northstar line (northwest metro from the ballpark to st. cloud, is now going to big lake)
Southwest line (similar to the 3A siting)
Red Rock line (st. paul to red wing)
Rush line (wyoming to st. paul along us 61)
minneapolis to buffalo along 55
minneapolis to monticello near 94
st. paul to hudson along 94

a lot of this stuff was delayed in the early 2000's

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:50 PM by CJ Highlight this comment 31

The Red Rock Corridor would cover the SE transit, but that is supposed to be commuter rail like Northstar. The Rush Line transitway would come from the NE into St Paul. Last I checked, Red Rock was further along than Rush line. We do need more transit to replace our murdered streetcar system.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM by John C Highlight this comment 32


Thanks. After I submitted that post, I thought to myself "Gee, I bet there are some prelims already drawn up for those areas"...I did a few Google searches and SURE ENOUGH!!! Thanks for the info, anyways... :)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:57 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 33

Don't forget the Dan Patch corridor. Oh, wait a minute. Forget I said that. Don't ever mention it again.

(Could have run due south to Northfield if the legislators from that area not only killed it, but managed to pass a law which forbade anyone from ever even mentioning it again. Shhh.)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:57 PM by Rick 34

I know there has been some discussion about this already, but I really, really, really hope that the Northstar Commuter line has some "special" runs before/after Twins games on evenings and w-ends....It sure would make my life MUCH simpler!!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 1:59 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 35


when I worked with Tinklenberg that was a running joke in our office "you'll be banished to the dan patch corridor"... any dank hallway was also called the "dan patch corridor"

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 2:06 PM by CJ Highlight this comment 36

firedog - regarding the clubs

- The Metropolitian Club will be open to anyone with a season ticket or a tickets for a Metropolitian Club only event (e.g. buffet/outside seating
- The Champions Club and Legends club will be open to those with respective tickets. Both areas will be available to rent for special occasions on non-game days.

In any event, you will not be able to buy a single game ticket from the ticket window and get into any of the clubs on game day, except for any single game tickets for the Champions Club ($175) that haven't been sold to season ticket holders.

I presume all would be on a ballpark tour, assuming the Twins have them, but as of last month details had not been finalized.

(Another great update Rick - thanks!)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 2:25 PM by jfh Highlight this comment 37

What about a train to the North Burbs like Roseville, Shoreview and Maybe go north enough to meet with the Northstar, there is not enough public transportation in the north burbs unless you live near Rosedale. The buses that do come are not frequent and even stop fairly early

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM by The Sooj Highlight this comment 38

I am really looking forward to stadium tours that will (hopefully) be given once the TF is fully up and running. I have only been on one tour and it was at Coors Field and it was really interesting to see all of the behind the scenes stuff that they had. I would've prefered to see a game but there the Rocks were out of town, yet I found the tour of the stadium to be a this-is-going-to-have-to-be-sufficient replacement for my on-going national stadium tour.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 39

I'm wondering if the Red Rock Corridor will be extended to Rochester if (as planned), the high-speed rail route from Chicago will go through La Crosse...

Regardless, it's great to see multi-modal transit incorporated into such a big project.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 2:40 PM by Andy G Highlight this comment 40

Okay I know this is pickey, but the stone at the legends club level behind home plate... I wish it wasn't skewed to the left. I don't know, I guess I like things like that to be symmetrical.

Anyone else feel me there?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:09 PM by BrandonT Highlight this comment 41

sorry, but i noticed something kind of ironic going on with some of these posts asking for more train service to different parts of the metro.

for all of you out in the suburbs asking for train service, i have one piece of advice for you: THEN STOP ELECTING YOUR SUBURBAN REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS INTO OFFICE!!!

otherwise, you will have to wait quite a while before you see anything. most republicans (but not all) fight anything related to expanding mass transit options.

if you want train service into the core cities sooner rather than later (which i think is a smart and noble goal) then tell your republican officials this. IT IS YOUR MONEY AFTER ALL.

and if they don't listen to you.....then tell them the next time at the polls.


Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 42


That's the press box. It's been mentioned before, but I don't get the problem. The ballpark is subtly asymmetrical throughout, and not the phony, made-up kind either.

Almost everything in Target Field is placed due to the requirements of the site, and the site is an odd shape with somewhat extreme requirements. In that way, it's a more direct descendant of Fenway Park than any other.

Symmetry is overrated -- unless your site allows for/demands it. New Comiskey was symmetrical until it became unfashionable. Then they introduced all sorts of made up quirks.

I say, be true to your site. It's good advice in everything: Just be who you are and let the rest of the world deal with it!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM by Rick 43

Betaband makes the point that counts: It matters who you elect to government. And if you don't like what's happening, talk directly to the people who are making the decisions.

I've had personal interactions with plenty of lawmakers, and I'll say this: you can pretty easily tell the good ones from the bad ones when you interact with them directly. The media is a horrible filter because it distorts everything. Don't trust it.

I'm not talking about whether a legislator agrees or disagrees with you. I'm talking about being able to tell which ones listen and consider what they hear. I'm talking about knowing immediately who reasons well and really is trying to do what is right. I'm also talking about detecting instantly which ones think for themselves, and which do whatever they are told by their party. (Each party has a little of both.)

There are politicians out there that I disagree with but would vote for just because they know how to think. And there are people out there with whom I generally agree, but would never vote for because they are either idiots or too committed to some ideology to make prudent decisions. When I look at the current field of candidates for governor, it runs the whole gamut. (I've got no dog in that fight yet.)

At the risk of ranting, deciding who to vote for is a pretty complex thing, a skill that's been somewhat neglected for a while. If you make snap decisions, you're not doing it right. Most snap decisions can be easily manipulated by the media. And using a single issue (like, for example, transit) isn't sufficient either.

Legislators are people, and the best ones can be convinced to change their minds about issues like transit, especially issues where time has a way of making things clearer. Seeing a train filled to standing room capacity has a chance at changing the mind of all but the hardest anti-train zealots (I'm looking at you, Krinkie).

The people down south will one day regret sending those rubes to St. Paul to torpedo LRT in favor of maintenance on I-35.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM by Rick 44


Exactly. If you really want 5 more lines at about 1.3 billion a piece, then by all means, please tell your legislator. You might also give him a list of schools and hospitals you would like to close in order to pay for the new, snappy, rail lines.

I'm in favor of some expanded rail but the prices on these things are getting out of hand. Tough to justify $1 billion plus for the amount of ridership these will get. A decent article on the worth of buses is linked if you click my name.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:53 PM by turfguy Highlight this comment 45

LOL...Rick you crack me up! Phil Krinkie would have all of us on gravel roads with horse drawn carriages if he had his way. I swear he and Michele Bachmann would make a great pair - think of the batshit crazy kids those two would have!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 3:58 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 46

" --- deciding who to vote for is a pretty complex thing, a skill that's been somewhat neglected for a while."

Unfortunately, the deciding factor is more and more becoming "Who is the most likely to use other people's money to make life easy and trouble free for me" --- and that is killing the country as we know it.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM by B.W. McEvers Highlight this comment 47

turfguy...the day we start looking up to Bogota for transportation is the day we start looking up to Mongolia for Healthca...oops, wait a minute.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 48

yeah, i don't like the political stuff getting into this site, but sometimes it's too juicy. the saying "IT'S YOUR MONEY" is a great one...people use it on both sides of the aisle. As in "It's your money they shouldn't have" or "It's your money, so we should spend it only on the things I want to spend it on".

Maybe some of you repubs and libs could explain to me why we have such a large deficit then. (That's sarcasm. Please don't.)

Please keep this crap off the ballpark site.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 4:16 PM by OG Jeff Highlight this comment 49

I just hope all of those politicians opposed to this ballpark project do not show their faces at Target Field next year.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 4:29 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 50

chill out og jeff. there were multiple posts over the last couple days focused on mass transit options and where people would like to see additional train lines (lrt or commuter rail) added around the metro. in order for stuff like mass transit to happen it inherently involves the political process, so it is impossible to discuss mass transit without also in some way discussing politics. no one was getting out of hand.

while i agree that this site should not become a political board, i have absolutely no problem if it comes up from time to time and is discussed in a CIVIL MANNER - which is unlike what we see by some of these gun carrying, wingnut, blowhards at the healthcare town halls around the country.

sorry couldn't help myself on that one! the door was wide open. ;-)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 51

p.s. one last thing about lrt.

i have to say that the upcoming southwest lrt line option should really be 3C (through uptown/nicollet ave/mpls convention center) and not option 3A (kenilworth) which seems to have private development lobbyists written all over it. figure out a way for route 3C to wrap northwest-ward and still terminate at target field/multi-modal hub and it is golden.

the density of people on route 3C (uptown/lake/lyn-lake/nicollet) compared to 3A (kenilworth) is not even close. sounds like some planner is "fudging" some numbers when claiming the riderships estimates for 3C & 3A would be almost the exact same. just doesn't seem possible.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 5:13 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 52

Betaband, I completely agree. IMO years from now we'll be looking back at this and wondering how in the hell Uptown got bypassed altogether. I haven't been through all of the numbers thoroughly, but on the surface they have me scratching my head.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 6:33 PM by ace Highlight this comment 53

Its to bad the plaza area is so small. It would be nice if someday they expand it over the interstate, you could have a huge gathering area for pre and post game festivities.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 6:40 PM by firedog Highlight this comment 54


The problem with route 3C was that it would not be any faster to take a train than it would be to drive. That and the additional $500 million cost to dig tunnels. It had about the same ridership, with a much higher cost.

Minneapolis needs a streetcar up Hennepin Ave from Uptown to Downtown, and a 2nd down Lake from Uptown to Hiawatha...

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:03 PM by David_Mpls Highlight this comment 55

From the StarTribune article:

Although the two routes have identical 2030 ridership estimates, the forecast range of capital costs for building Route 3A -- $69 million to $78 million a mile -- is far lower than the estimate for Route 3C, $94 million to $106 million a mile.

The 3C Uptown route is more expensive largely because it would require a tunnel to keep train speeds up and trip times competitive with the 3A Cedar Lake route.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:22 PM by David_Mpls Highlight this comment 56

AGAIN !!! 4-0 Royals after the top of the first. My god. Maybe the Twins should check out if the Saints have any decent starters. Could it get any worse?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:26 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 57

Twins are done our pitching sucks, our best pitcher is the one we pick up on waivers.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:44 PM by firedog Highlight this comment 58

50 or so games left in the season right? I predict the Twins will go 15 and 35. Seriously. May finish in 4th too.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:55 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 59

Oh, I forgot to ask this question. Has anybody noticed that The Twins are packing 'em in too. It's a beautiful Tuesday night against the lowly Royals. They are not a team I'd pay to watch right now. Too painful.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:57 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 60

Beta and Ace: I agree totally with the 3C route choice (so long as the terminal is the Intermodal Station Site). But the FTA's cost effectiveness index is what kills most projects, or severely nueters them. Luckily, the Hiawatha project was so well designed (and future-proofed as evidenced by building new stations cheaply on pre-laid foundations) as that is would exceed ridership goals 20 years in advance. As pessimistic as we can be about our lawmakers and planners, I believe that the best ideas WILL make it into the plans for each line. We Minnesotans may take awhile to get our transit and stadiums built, but we get the best due to our smart and inventive engineers and planners.

Fred: That is the NW line that is being analyzed. Start lobbying.

Sooj: I live in North Oaks (when at home), and I understand your pain. The buses that run out of the Shoreview community center/Rosedale reflect the demand of the area, and as such run solely as commuter buses. Also, the lack of high-profile business campuses/districts and an almost stagnant population growth, the future of the area for increased transit simply does not exist, unless the land of the Arden Hills ammo plant is developed.

Beta: Paul Gardner is awesome. Some of us suburbanites vote for collaborators, not puppets.

Turfguy: Yes, Bogota is recognized with making BRT sexy and relevant, but this is a different animal than the regular buses that serve the Downtown areas. The BRT you offer as an example is cheaper than LRT or HRT (subway or El), but requires the same segregated right of way that trains would require. That means that they don't dabble with ordinary automobile lanes. Ridership is lower, speed is generally slightly slower than trains, and only so many buses can operate until the line is full. The same could be said about trains, but as we can see, more cars can be added to trains, which immensely increases the capacity of each train, unlike the moderate increases by the articulated or "accordian" buses. The highest year-to-year cost for transit agencies is employee salaries/benefits. If you are to run more buses, that increases those costs dramatically, which effectively makes the BRT a year-to-year cost nightmare. BRT also does not inspire the kind of economical development that LRT/HRT lines do.

The $1 billion+ price tag is the direct result of delay, and increasing land acquisition prices. But if you think about it, with 28,000 more cars off the road, that opens up the bottlenecks for faster goods movement throughout the previously clogged roadways, and inspires development along the lines. Think about the annual billions added to the area's total economic activity because of such a line.

Rick: Great post again, you are magic.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 7:12 PM by Reckoner Highlight this comment 61

I agree that 3C makes much more sense than 3A. How can it possibly make sense to exclude the Uptown area from the mass transit option? Sure, it might cost a bit more now....but my feeling is that if we don't do it now, by the time we realize the folly of bypassing this high density urban area the cost of rectifying that mistake will be MUCH higher. Get it done and get it done right the first time.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 8:55 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 62

John F - I was wondering that myself. Why do we torture ourselves so? 38,000 people tonight forking over their hard earned cash to watch the worst team in baseball (you could even say "teams" the way ours is playing tonight).

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:03 PM by luke Highlight this comment 63

I don't think anybody disagrees about getting rail to Uptown, but 3C just isn't the right solution. The Greenway would be disrupted, the businesses on Nicollet would be hugely disrupted and then all but bypassed, and the expense of tunneling kind of seals its fate.

There is a better solution for Uptown and Eat Street (probably two separate solutions). Rybak has suggested trolleys, and that has some real potential but would require study.

In my dream world they would extend that Como-Harriet line back up along Calhoun, into Uptown, and then on to downtown where it could bring tourists out on weekends and serve neighborhood commuters during the week. (Before you start typing, you don't have to tell me just how unlikely that is.)

We took the kids and rode that line with friends a couple of weeks ago:

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:16 PM by Rick 64

Something needs to happen this offseason...I don't care what it is, but something needs to happen. Billy better make a splash in free agency or the throng of fans this team is drawing right now will be home grilling out and doing yard work instead attending games.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:19 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 65

I'm sorry but Billy Boy needs to be fired NOW! I Blame him for having his head up his ass the last few years and completely relying on the ballpark to keep a fanbase instead of doing his job. The fans at the Dome need to start chanting FIRE BILLY! As kevin in az stated, fans are starting to get pissed.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:33 PM by Jim Highlight this comment 66

It's not just Republican legislators that oppose transit. Too many Democrats are scared to advocate for more transit funding. Those folks need to hear from you too. And that includes us in the middle of the city.

We have a quarter cent sales tax now for transitways. That means we can do Central, Souhtwest and *maybe* Bottineau. And that's it. The money's all bonded out after that.

We need at least another quarter cent sales tax to build out the complete transitway system and that doesn't even count expanding the bus system.

Go talk to your legislators and demand increased transit funding!

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:34 PM by David (aka David) Highlight this comment 67

Kevin in AZ, I don't know. The way I see it is the Twins are in a free fall right now and still attracting a large crowd every night. Judging by this, you gotta figure they'd probably sell out every game next year outdoors, even if they never won a single game. But 2011 might be a different story. This has been discussed before, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:40 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 68

The 3A route serves significant density in Minneapolis; on the north side. The connection to the Royalston bus depot is key. It handles as much bus traffic as the Uptown station. And those are the people lacking a current transit connection to the jobs in the SW suburbs. It's good for Minneapolis to open up transportation to North Minneapolis and provide access to opportunity for the people there.

Uptown is not going to be bypassed by transit. It already has the best transit service in the entire state and that will only increase as buses get rerouted to serve the West Lake station.

And Rick, the streetcar idea is not so far-fetched. Minneapolis is in the middle of studying streetcars on all sorts of routes, including one in the Greenway to connect Hiawatha to a Kenilworth-routed Southwest. That would truly be beautiful. I don't think most people quite understand the implications of LRT in the Greenway -- like a completely altered bikeway around Nicolet including a giant bridge to bring bikes up and over Nicollet Avenue. A Greenway streetcar avoids that problem and all the others you've mentioned.

The nice thing about streetcars is that they're relatively cheap. You can convince various private entities to partner with cities and counties to get 'em built.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:45 PM by David (aka David) Highlight this comment 69

JohnF...The novelty will really only be there for the under 35 crowd who either have never seen Met Stadium or ventured outside the state of MN for a Twins game during the past 28 years. For those of us over 35, yeah, we're excited. I'll see a couple of games next year but the novelty won't really be there after that for me. Of course I lived in LA for a number of years going to Dodger Stadium and in Chicago as well so I'm very accustomed to outdoor baseball. But if the Twins suck, it won't matter how nice the weather is in July, most Minnesotans would rather fish than watch lousy baseball.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:48 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 70

kev - fish are slimy and yucky to hold and they smell funny. ;-)

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 9:53 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 71

Is it posible that the crowd at Tuesday's game was so large because fans assumed that the Twins had a better chance of winning against the hapless Royals? I wonder what the walk-up was tonight, and what the drop-off will be tomorrow night. If the Twins can't even beat the Royals, I'll bet we'll see crowds diminish as the season winds down. All except for the last series of the year, when the Twins will see huge crowds (I already know many people that are making the trip to be there for the final series indoors) at the very end of their Dome era.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:12 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 72

couple things on the southwest LRT - 3A is drawing favor because it meets the requirements for federal matching dollars, 3C doesn't.

the idea for streetcars has a lot of quiet support - the city was built for streetcars

I've worked with the guys behind these projects for years... they think there will eventually get a streetcar line through uptown, and down lake street

the 3A line serves a separate purpose in that it provides more of a commuter rail option to the SW burbs - where the lure is for commuters to get off 394, but to do so, the trip has to make time sense for commuters, going through uptown wouldn't achieve that effect.

as for Rick's comment on electeds - spot on. I've worked in MN politics since I was 14 (in both parties - i switched in 2000) and I've found the same thing to be true. Working during the ballpark debate I learned that lesson all over again.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:40 PM by CJ Highlight this comment 73

A poster at put up a pair of stunning photos of TCF Bank Stadium taken from the air. Click my name to follow the link.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:49 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 74

Maybe Michelle Bachman can throw out the first ball next April....haha

and yes the usual twins september swoon has begun already.....any team this far below 500 has no chance....ok a slim chance RE rockies of a couple years ago. But the twins are 9 games better than the triple A oakland A;'s....what does this say?

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 10:56 PM by bw Highlight this comment 75

Tonight after Young's homerun they showed the old shaking hands logo on the jumbotron.

Posted on August 11, 2009 at 11:36 PM by Boof Highlight this comment 76

I said MOST Minnesotans...I don't include myself in that category and now I see you aren't either. I eat fish, I don't catch them, someone else can do that for me.

Posted on August 12, 2009 at 12:18 AM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 77

One of my favorite things about these old posts is looking at where the Twinkies were during the season. I'll admit I was in the same boat about their chances at this point, because who knew they had that run in them? It also appalls me how many fair weather fans we seem to have.

Posted on January 21, 2010 at 3:52 PM by Sass Highlight this comment 78


Posted on April 25, 2010 at 2:32 PM by bulldog Highlight this comment 79

This page was last modified on August 11, 2009.

"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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.

You write the caption...

Photo by Tyler Wycoff

Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.

The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.

This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.

OK, just how many servings per container?

Lunch break at the top spot. (Grandstand)

I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.

Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.

Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.

Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)

Wanda's view!

Very interesting detail starting to appear here.

The media all turned out!

Target HQ main entrance. Ballpark resemblance? (Inset.)

This is the upper deck in Anaheim

Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.

A spectacular golden hour

Night games are much preferred by the players at Target Field. You can see why.

The New as viewed from The Old.

Nicely-cushioned seats, lots of room, great sightlines

Big Dog

Gate 29 Carew

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.

This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.

Looking back toward downtown from the end of the balcony

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.

Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)


BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

Selected Bibliography - Analysis


First Edition (1992)

Second Edition (2006)


Selected Bibliography - Surveys


Second Edition (1987)

Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title

(2000, large coffee table)

Original edition (2000, round)

Revised edition (2006, round)

(2001, medium coffee table)

(2002, small coffee table)

(2003, medium coffee table)

(2004, very large coffee table)

(2006, very large coffee table)

Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)

Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia


Book and six ballpark miniatures

Complete Bibliography

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