It is rainy in the Twins Cities today. The sky is as grey as it gets, and the chances of actual sunshine are around zero percent. There is more cold, and more snow, in the forecast.
My yard is still partially covered with snow, the top of which now sports a crust thick enough that my kids can walk across it without leaving footprints or, thankfully, getting their socks and shoes wet. The remaining cover is thickest out in the middle of the yard, about where home plate generally gets placed, right in front of the garden bed that my mom will fill with hostas in a few weeks. Those plants will be mined over and over all summer long for balls which got by someone's bat, but my mom doesn't seem to care. She's a fan.
On the boulevards, the gigantic snow piles I created with my own muscle power have been steadily shrinking away from the sunshine of the past week. Their edges, once plump and tall and foreboding, are now scalloped and dirty and oddly crystalline. If I do have to shovel later this week, there will be a place to put it all. That wasn't true a couple of weeks ago.
But the disappearing snow is revealing something that I always forget about: The yard beneath it is still just as scruffy as it was when the first snow covered it so beautifully last fall. If there is a gift to winter, it's that all the sins of summer are shrouded for a time -- not exactly forgiven, but at least put away. Dormancy has its virtues.
Now those memories emerge, and the hidden things look once again like they need tending: The pitching got better, but the hitting got worse. The base running is an open question, as is the defense.
Wait, what just happened? Let's see, I was talking about the grass and leaves and general muck of my yard, and then...
On Opening Day, everything is about baseball.
As I write this, the sun is defying the odds and peaking out through a small break in the overcast. It reminds me that today all teams are 0-0 and, regardless of the forecast, anything is possible.
Reports in the media have been generally favorable toward this year's TwinsFest reboot. I didn't get to go, but here are some highlights as reported by BPMers who did.
First, from CSG Mike:
The crowds were not bad on Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm, considering it was "sold out." I think they probably limited it to the right number of tickets. I would compare it to a full game scenario in the LC. Make sense? Overall the spaces seemed rather disjointed. Unlike previous TF where it was all held in one giant space... They used the Suite level, LC, and service level (-2)...
Steve Maki, the Metrodome’s head of operations...said that long time staff from the MSFA and Mortenson went to the controls of the fans that hold up the building this morning, and one by one took turns shutting them off. "It wasn’t three-two-one, but still symbolic of taking down the building," Maki said.
Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. In that circumstance, the crew chief is not obligated to invoke instant replay if requested by the manager.
Well, it's finally all over. Are we sad? Even a little? Really?
What is there left to say about one of the most maligned sports venues in the history of professional sports? That it served its purpose? That it was cost effective? That it was sufficiently warm/cool/dry on those too cold/hot/wet days? That some interesting things happened there? That some of our teams won? That a lot of people shouted, or roller-bladed, or even worshiped there? That the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney and U2 played there? That it could be converted from one sport to another in just a few hours?
"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.
Scoreboard installation in progress
This will be a great sight on game nights.
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
Pile driving in progress
One half of those windows are well-used.
(Click to enlarge.)
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
Where you are, and where you can go.
Detail of the Puckett wall hanging
The green is a composite of the topmost seating areas in the new ballpark. The gray is a scale diagram of the Metrodome.
The electronic sign has been corrected (and never forget that ballpark is one word, not two)
All that's left is to add wood! (Seventh Street circulation ramp.)
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
The shade of the canopy gives way to a brief shaft of light. It would do the same again a short while later when the sun passed through that tiny open sliver between the View and Terrace levels.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
The Hrbek gate is directly below. It's a lively place after a game.
Glove from above
Here are some less intrusive things things you can actually get at the ballpark.
(Click to enlarge.)
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
At Comerica Park, some aisles have railings and some do not.
These outfield stands will likely remain visible to passersby.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
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:
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)