August 12, 2009 3:00 AM
Prior to my little tour yesterday, I took a walk around the Fifth Street side to get a look at the recently-installed wooden louvers.
The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street
A closer look at the louvers
They are in contrast with the other materials on the facade, and have a look that is somewhat arresting -- in a good way. Because they shield the circulation ramp without hiding it, they serve rather nicely in the role of connecting the inside and outside of the ballpark.
I think it's fair to say that this type of facade element would work only on a select few types of buildings. In short, they make it look more like a ballpark. It's definitely a new signature element which is going to take a little time to grow into your eyes.
I can't wait to see what it looks like in larger form on the Seventh Street side.
Fifth Street louvers way up close
The wood looked fragile to me from a distance, but I've been assured that they were specially treated somewhere in Wisconsin to withstand the extremes of cheese and beer -- er, I mean, Minnesota winters.
Viewed from within, you can see that the wood is attached to metal plates which are in turn attached to the spikes we've seen there for a while now. Also, the effect from within is likewise very airy and open. Together with the wide ramps, they help quell any feelings of claustrophobia which might otherwise crop up (though this is hard to imagine in a building as open as this one is).
Showing more of the context for the louvers.
While on the tour I noticed that the emergency vehicle access was wide open. So after touring, I swung around and got some shots from the outside (can't believe I never thought of this before).
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
Emergency access viewed in context
That clearance (13' 6") is with the seating area not in place. Obviously, that's high enough for just about anything they'd need to bring in there. I haven't been able to find out the clearance with the seats in place.
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.)
Here are some little things I heard or saw yesterday:
- The playing surface is 35 feet below the plaza level.
- The triangular grassy area on Seventh Street outside the Metropolitan Club will feature a history of Minnesota ballparks etched in glass. (Originally this was said to be a history of the franchise.)
- Microphones are already in place inside the ticket offices on the plaza. Looks like you could buy a ticket there now if it were staffed.
- 3 ticket vending machines will be installed beneath the staircase which leads to the skyway from the plaza. They will be right where the plaza connects directly to the B ramp.
- Just behind the Pavilion seats in center is a fence through which you can almost touch the B ramp's outer wall. That's how close the park is to the ramp.
- There is a small retail area on the main concourse in the admin building area (right inside Gate 14 Hrbek) which is ringed by a standing room area on the field side. I've heard this mentioned before, but I couldn't quite picture it. Unfortunately, I have no picture to show, but it looks like a cool area from which to watch a game with beer in hand (when it isn't packed with SRO ticket holders, that is).
- The landscaping changes have begun at the HERC.
- The bar in the 573 Club features a gigantic facsimile of Killebrew's autograph on its front. His signature is so classic.
- I saw many surfaces covered with what feels like a wood laminate, but looks like the spitting image of the limestone. How they did this is a mystery, but it's amazingly cool.
Ready for action.
- Some areas already are locked and marked with signs which indicated that they were finished and accepted. In other words, parts of this ballpark are already done and ready to roll.
- The drink rails in the Metropolitan Club are made of metal, which is nice. But to properly recall the Met, that metal really should be covered with rust. And I think they may need to install some chain link fencing, and maybe a facsimile of those gigantic lighting towers which jutted out from the main grandstand and felt like they could come down at any moment. Then they should offer faux tetanus shots as you enter.
- I saw a patch of concrete on the main concourse which had recently been repoured. Apparently this was due to a problem discovered by the quality control team, and it had to be fixed for drainage or something like that.
Early in the tour I sat down in a seat in section 106 just to see how it felt. I noticed two things:
1. The leg room was better than the Metrodome, but not exactly spacious. I was able to cross my legs comfortably, but there wasn't much room at that point between my knee and the seat in front of me. Yes, it's an improvement, but I wouldn't make too big a deal of this if I were marketing the place. People might be a little disappointed.
At Comerica, I remember stretching out my legs in front of me with lots of room to spare. People could easily pass in front of me to go to the bathroom without my getting up. That will not be the case -- at least in this section -- at Target Field.
2. When I faced straight forward in the seat, I was looking at a point about 30 feet into the outfield grass behind second base. So I had to turn my head about 40 to 45 degrees to the left to see home plate. Needless to say, this was not what I expected.
As you progress down the line, the sections themselves angle further toward the infield, but I couldn't tell if the seats have any additional angle to compensate further. That will have to wait for another tour.
Finally, this from DeadSpin.com:
Next year, the Twins move into Populous-designed Target Field. It is everything the Metrodome is not. Open-air. Clean sight lines. Unimposing. Pretty. The word that gets thrown around by the Twins and their architects is "intimate," which, as we've noted before, is really just a new-age con whereby owners pump up ticket prices by slashing seating capacity and then pretend they just did fans a favor. One early review describes Target Field as a "family-oriented entertainment destination," which suggests that the Twins will now be playing in a Chuck E. Cheese. Get wealthy fans in, let 'em do everything but watch a game, and let 'em go home only after buying a bunch of officially licensed merchandise.
There's some truth in there, you know.
Do you know anything about post tensioning? I read that page twice and still have no idea what they're talking about, though it sounds like a good thing, I guess. (It's just a reminder that no matter how much you think you know, there's always something out there about which you know nothing.)
I'll leave you with this question: What in the hell are the Twins going to do with eleven flag poles? Thirteen I could understand (other teams in the AL), but eleven?!?
Eleven flag poles
The model shows them as just solid colors, decoration only. But there's gotta be something more, don't you think? (I could not help but notice that the Twins have had exactly 11 managers prior to Gardy... A-ha!)
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This page was last modified on August 12, 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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Legends Club seats in context (above the main concourse, below the suite level)
Hot dawgs! Getcher hot dawgs!
The steel cage expands.
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
The completed promenade
I see an opportunity in this view for an Abbey Road-style promotional photo! Mauer, Morneau, Nathan and Cuddyer walking toward the ballpark. The only question: which one takes off his cleats?
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
Name that band. Please. (Mick Sterling)
Pile driving in progress
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
A sampling of seats at Fenway Park
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
Up there is where I plan to buy a lot of hot dogs. You can see the vending areas developing rather quickly around the completed portion of the upper concourse.
Work in progress.
The pink thing is a mascot. (Actually, with a damn fine mascot actor underneath.)
The Puckett Atrium
Wrigley Field viewed while approaching on foot from the northwest
You can't get there from here.
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
Wow! Looking good.
The media all turned out!
The limestone theme is apparently carried to the area behind home plate. This will look great -- and distinctive -- on TV. But watch out for those foul balls!
All three seating mounds
Here is one of the concept drawings referenced (but not shown) in the MPR story (conceptual ballpark at left, LRT tracks switched to the north half of the Fifth Street bridge, which is actually in all of the long-range plans).
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
For those not wishing to suffer through my media rant, please enjoy this picture of my lilacs in full bloom.
This will be a bar/restaurant.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
Franchise history before Minnesota. (Click to enlarge.)
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