As the front steps of the house, the plaza has proven to be even more welcoming than we all imagined. It draws you right into the place on game days, and provides a strong whiff of baseball even when there are no brat carts out there.
It's also surprisingly adaptive to the weather. What they did with plantings seemed to embrace the fall (very noticeable during the playoff games), and then even turned out to make winter statements.
That last picture is notable mostly for what I cropped out. Look at the entire image:
Suddenly it's possible to understand a little better why everyone was so upset about that damn sign.
You may remember that I was sort of indifferent to it when it first appeared. But I may have had a change of heart, at least from this vantage point. Beyond Twins/Target branding, it's the only piece of advertising visible from the plaza (the sign on Butler Square says "Go Twins!"), and it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. In addition to being gigantic, its background looks like the painters couldn't find the right color to match the rest of the building. It's big and ugly.
But it also highlights a big difference between the two facilities/owners/teams. Target Center has always had gigantic ads plastered all over its facade. Target Field has not a one (beyond the branding). Walk all the way around Target Field and you will not find a single video board or ad space for rent on the outside. Instead, you'll actually find public art on the Fifth Street side filling salable ad space, and the wind veil on the side of the B ramp (where gigantic banners could easily have been sold).
I know that branding is advertising. But there's a big difference between hanging banners for your own company on the outside of your building and selling that space to someone else (even the Target branding is decidedly muted on TF compared to the bullseye which hovers over Target Center's main entrance on First Ave).
From the beginning, everyone involved with the plaza design wanted to create a civic amenity which doubled as an entrance to the ballpark (or, alternately, an entrance which doubled as an amenity). That big-ass sign, whose true audience is the TV cameras of course, nonetheless diminishes the plaza space measurably.
Let's turn to a couple of other things I saw, not all of which are technically new.
First, the additional wall of names is done (not sure exactly when they got it finished), and it includes the lyrics to the Twins song at one end, and "Take Me Out..." at the other.
The statues have started to show their inevitable colors.
Will they clean these? Should they clean these? Turning green gives them a sense of permanence and age. I kind of like it.
A close personal friend will be waiting to greet you as you enter the plaza from First Avenue. (I haven't seen Sid in person lately, but he should probably also be checked for signs of greening.)
And the sunny side of Target Field is a great place to take a break.
One thing I almost forgot: I've started to wish that the plaza were bigger -- that it filled that whole area over the freeway. Not that it isn't nice as is, but this is a case where I think that more would actually be better. I hope somebody somewhere has that on their wish list.
Anyway, if you haven't walked the plaza lately, do yourself a favor and don't wait for opening day. Think of it as a "happy place" always there waiting for you. (Just ignore the big sign.)
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
5:45 PM, section 327, row 9, sitting: shade.
Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.
An escalator was going in the day I was there.
Work has begun on the plaza, and the activity has started to impact I-394 traffic.
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)
The Northstar stop has a name.
Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!
Serious home dugout work in progress.
Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.
Very nice Admin glass.
Not much facade left to be finished at this point.
Train. (What is it about baseball and trains?)
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.
Cross section diagram of the field structure. (Click to enlarge.)
Building the canopy is a spectacular sight.
Click to enlarge greatly.
Section 331, Row 9
Here's the current overview from the south side of the B ramp (from which the banner at the top of this page was culled).
The plaza as seen from the B ramp.
The seating bowl of Citizens Bank Park overlaid on the Target Field site
A peak inside what will become the main concourse.
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
This isn't a very good picture, but it is the current view of the inside of a suite.
A classic profile on the horizon
New section labels, but some curious choices.
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.
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?