Thanks to everyone for keeping the discussion interesting. Let me take a moment to highlight some things that really deserve to be extracted from the comments.
First, in case you missed it, there is a short review linked to a simply marvelous primer on the new park over at MinnPost. In case you're unfamiliar with it, MinnPost was created by some former Stribbers who thought there just might be a better way to do local journalism on the web. They were right. It's a very worthwhile endeavor.
The author of that article mentions a gone-but-not-forgotten group of baseball-lovers who tried (but, alas, failed) to save outdoor baseball in Minnesota a generation ago. Here's a favorite photo I snapped back at the groundbreaking:
These guys seriously have the right to say, "I told you so."
In the feature is this very interesting slide:
To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time any specific pricing information had been leaked. No source is quoted, but it hardly seems made up. Until now, I've heard only generalities about keeping things "affordable."
I can't say that anything there is a surprise. My first reaction is to say that things look pretty expensive. But there's some inflation there, and without knowing the details it's hard to praise or condemn. It looks like you'll be paying about what you're used to for the quality of seat you're used to. That it isn't a gigantic increase is a relief. But these are preliminary.
On the other hand, there is some disappointing news in that article: some of the seats at the new park will actually be smaller than those in the Metrodome, and that the standard seat width will be identical. The standard leg room will increase by two measly inches. The real improvements are only for the "rattle your jewelry" crowd.
Of course, if you pay more money, you'll get a wider seat. Pay more money and you'll get more leg room. But for the rabble (among which I count myself), it'll be the same old same old. That's disappointing, to say the least.
That profile also accomplishes something I'd been working on: profile comparisons. It's been tough to come up with architectural information on the Metrodome, but I did confirm that the profile of the new park bears a rather striking similarity to the Metrodome in some key aspects. Most notably, the rake (steepness) of the upper deck is nearly identical. And the worst upper deck seats in the main grandstand of the new park are almost identical in distance to their equivalents in the Metrodome. This cannot be said of many new parks, who push upper decks even farther up than their predecessors. So, in a way, the Twins can be complemented for not making things that much worse for the cheap seat fans.
I had previously published an overlay of the seating configurations, showing that most of the truly reprehensible Metrodome views will not be duplicated in the new park. The outfield seating, specifically, will be much better. Of course, those seats will be one inch narrower than the Metrodome seats, so there's a trade-off. As far as I can tell, there will be no bench seating in the new park. Another disappointment.
Also from the comments, I want to refer you to some nifty construction photos over at minnescraper. I've been out to the site several times during my recent hiatus, and actually have a large stash of construction photos to be seen here in the coming days. But, truth be told, construction photos all start to look alike after a while. Let me offer this one from my most recent trip:
Remind you of anything...? (click the image to see what it reminds me of)
OK, I'm feeling a bit cranky tonight, but happy to be back at it. Thanks for your patience. These hiatus times are going to happen and they're beyond my control. But, I'll always be back as soon as I can. This is what I'd rather be doing!
"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.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
Flowers. Real flowers.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
A look at Gate 34.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
From the roof of the Minnekahda building (courtesy Bruce Lambrecht).
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.
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.
The entrance at Gate 3.
Workers against green
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
This is the entrance behind home plate (not visible in the renderings which have been released). It shows that the upper deck is set back from the facade -- a very good thing if it remains in the final design.
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
People! (In the Legends Club)
Some people will go to work here every day.
Home Plate Terrace -- really great seats; maybe my personal, budget-based favorite
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
This was from January 19, 2007, when it looked like wonderful things might never happen here.
I took this because of the view reflected in the store windows. (The store is cool too.)
Eleven flag poles
Glove from above
Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
Dave St. Peter introducing the first physical models of the ballpark in June 2007