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.
A look at Gate 34.
A beautiful, glowing sunset after the rain.
Home Plate Terrace -- really great seats; maybe my personal, budget-based favorite
For some inexplicable reason, a lot of the new parks being built these days feature grand staircases like this one.
8:22 PM The sun has caused glare in the webcam, but you can still see the reflection affecting the upper deck behind home plate.
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
The first completed mural
Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)
Bench seating? (Click to see hi-res version.)
Just one lane of traffic and a couple of feet between the fence in right-center and the wall of the parking ramp!
Do you think somebody's already cooking hot dogs out there?
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
Those little oval additions are positively laughable!
Looking up toward Sixth Street.
Press box, hallway to the print room
Opening day, 2010
Desolate. Dirty. Mysterious. Expensive. Unlikely.
Limestone still dominates the Seventh Street walkway from a pedestrian point of view. But brick take over as you move upward -- a concession to cost, no doubt.
Final Metrodome baseball sight
Such promise. (Click to enlarge.)
Glass going in over the Oliva gate.
At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad
Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.
Fun with section counting!
The action drew everybody to the top step. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Chef stand and menu in the Carew atrium
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!