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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)
The LRT station, sitting in a brand new urban canyon, takes shape.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
Integrating the administration building was really a great idea. Actually, there will be more things inside than just offices, but that will probably be some sweet space.
A great view from the balcony outside the Metropolitan Club
From the revised site plan, this is the configuration of Gate 34 Puckett.
The knothole (sans view of anything interesting)
Best view available from the "B" ramp.
What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.
Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.
A place to sit (does it look like a pitcher's mound to you?)
Secret entrance exposed!
4th inning in the thinning crowd of the Grandstand.
Skywalk over Seventh, looking back toward the parking ramp
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Click to see the full-size image.
Signage for the concession stand which is available from the plaza (plaques are up on the fencing)
What a great sight!
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
I love views like this. They show just how much Target Field shimmers. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
In the foreground you can see the supports for the plaza as it will meet the corner of North Seventh Street and Third Avenue North.
The moat walkway viewed from across the park.
Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.
I'm not sure why there's a wreath on Gate 3. (I quickly checked the headlines for any dreaded Killebrew news. Whew.) It looks to be in celebration, maybe of the move.
The HERC promenade side.
Seville's certainly will benefit from 81 games a year played about a block away! (When I walked by on this day, the place looked deserted, but I stand corrected!)
Another look at the outfield stands (Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune)
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
I think this promenade over the railroad tracks needs a name. How about the Halsey Hall Promenade? (Please do not throw cigar butts onto the tracks!)