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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
Freight trains run in very close proximity (Jerry Bell was standing at my left elbow when I took this picture)
Here's the view as you step to the front of the outer moat beyond first base.
Reasonable (if not overly generous) leg room
Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge.)
This is the Suite Level. There are multiple suites between each pillar, and there will be seating on the area in front of the suites which currently looks like it could be a walkway.
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
A closer look at the louvers
It looks like the Target-themed signage has spilled out to the surrounding area (this was taken from the entryway to the B ramp from Third -- the 394 entrance ramp tunnel)
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?)
Just so you have a reference, this is an LD ("low def") scoreboard (inset is what the controller probably looks like).
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
This is where the main ticket office will be.
Larry DiVito, mowing
The former Ford manufacturing plant (now Ford Centre).
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Work in progress.
Click to enlarge.
The New as viewed from The Old.
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
The Pro Shop
Bronze glove delivered (awaiting installation) with Met flag pole horizontal behind the gate
A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.
Air conditioning condensation on the floor.
Red is old Yankee Stadium. This diagram comes from FieldOfSchemes.com
From about two blocks away you can finally get an idea of what it looks like. Just to my left (but out of view) was a valet parking stand where a limo was idling.
Someone please get those poor people a drink of water. (Gate 34, after the game had started)
Through the windows of the Metropolitan Club you can see one of the displays of Met Stadium memorabilia.