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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The reverse angle shows that the signage will only partially obscure views from the top of the ramp. The wall is pretty high up there, so you'll need something to stand on, but it appears that this is one of the so-called "knotholes".
Lots of people are doing it.
Entrance to the Champions Club
Two plazas in Spain. (Brad and I were pretending to steal coins from the fountain. We were all just so darn funny back in high school, eh?)
Supports for the little sections in the outfield.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)
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?
Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.
The tracks on the right will be moved to the newly-cleared area on the left. The edge of the ballpark will be about where the rocks and dirt meet.
The Lincoln Saltdogs (and a promotional Nerd)
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
They can put a camera just about anywhere. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
A mini-freeway! (Police action in progress...)
Double plays will be turned here.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.
I took this because of the view reflected in the store windows. (The store is cool too.)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
The HERC side, viewed from Fifth Street.
Mystery door on Seventh Street...
Saints between innings
Rally Hanky (2002 ALCS)
I know you've seen this, but I can't get enough of it.