Find Your Happy Place
March 18, 2011 12:52 AM
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.)
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This page was last modified on May 29, 2011.
"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Target Plaza in model form
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Marquette looking south
Click to enlarge greatly
Waiting for a train. Reading on the promenade. How urbane.
5:45 PM, section 327, row 9, standing: sunshine.
A very unique space
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
Gate 6 is quite large
At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad
Mauer steps in for the first time.
Entrance to the Champions Club
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
Killebrew taught, "Always make your autograph legible, boys."
From the roof of the B ramp, you can see just how futile it will be to get a glimpse of the action.
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.
...but you can get a feel for what it will be like.
Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?
Large staircases, a staple of recent Populous (nee HOK) projects, are all over the place.
Supports viewed from beneath. These seats will be just a few feet from the outside edge of the building!
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
Artist at work
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
No griping here.
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.
Working on the main concourse right about directly behind the plate.
World Series trophies on display at left
This is the revised version of the center field pavilion (without the restaurant). It looks like there are no seats, just some ledges for people to sit on. It reminds me of the seating on the "bridge" which sticks out of the new Guthrie Theater. Anything which lands in the trees will presumably be a home run, so the "411" sign is apparently just for fun.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures