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.
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!)
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
Plaza extension reaches toward First Avenue
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
The Carew gate ticket windows have grown a small awning.
The first passengers are about to arrive, but the switch is set for the wrong track (those guys walked all the way out to correct it)
The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
The scoreboard also towers over the LRT tracks, which now are functional (though not open) all the way to the park -- and beyond!
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
The view out Gate 6 "Oliva".
Looking down what was Third Avenue, and will be a freeway entrance ramp beneath the outfield stands.
Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.
Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).
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.
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
The spruced up triangle really doesn't show much connection with the ballpark.
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...
Mound from the other side
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
I never think of Ron Jackson at all.
Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)
The old flour Gold Medal Flour Mill, located next to the new Guthrie theater (Source: RP)
Walkway sneak peek
Town Ball Tavern balcony
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?