My walking tour, which took a total of about 90 minutes, continued around the HERC property and up Fifth Street. This is where the project suddenly seems like it's all about trains.
End of the line.
As you probably already know, the LRT tracks wrap around the HERC, coming to the end of the line seen above. It's pretty easy to imagine these tracks extended again along Olson Memorial Highway (Highway 55), maybe all the way out to Plymouth. That would be simply grand.
Storage tracks in the foreground.
Overview of the storage tracks.
These are storage tracks only, stretching roughly 900 feet past the end of the ballpark station, and Metro Transit will be pre-staging trains here during games. This will allow very fast response at the end of games, something which is much more difficult at the Metrodome. I'll cover this in more detail tomorrow.
The maintenance building seen in the foreground of this photo is being considered for removal so that a separate platform can be built for the Central Corridor LRT. (This is the line which will run from the ballpark to Union Station in downtown St. Paul beginning in 2014.)
Central will use the same tracks as Hiawatha and then branch off after passing the Metrodome. The potential for confusion and loading problems makes it desirable to have a separate spot for loading Central trains, and that's just about the only place it could go.
Crosswalk taking shape.
The crosswalk at the northwest corner of the ballpark will be a pretty busy place, and it's getting a lot of signs and markings which are starting to appear.
I forgot to mention, from an earlier tour, that there is actually a sidewalk on the opposite side of the LRT tracks. It begins at a HERC parking lot and continues all the way to the ballpark station. Here's an image from May 20:
A sidewalk has sprouted between the HERC and the LRT tracks!
Up at the station, signage has started to appear.
The LRT station, sitting in a brand new urban canyon, takes shape.
The design of this station is actually pretty disappointing. It's by far the least imaginative along the line. This may have been intentional, either to save money or just not to upstage the ballpark. But here's hoping they upgrade this someday.
The other major rail project is also moving along rapidly. The station now has signage and kiosks.
Where you are, and where you can go.
The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.
I find it curious that, in all the train-related signage, these stations are always referred to as the "Ballpark" stations, rather than the "Target Field" stations (which is found on the ballpark itself). That seems like something Target might have wanted as part of their naming deal, though I suppose it's not really something the Twins can give.
Let's take a quick detour and dig into the discussion which started in the comments yesterday about future locations for the All-Star game. It's an interesting subject, and since it's that time of year again, I thought it would be appropriate to do a little forecasting.
Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.
Looking back, since 1961 (when there were two All-Star games), the game has alternated between National and American League parks religiously except for 2006/2007, which were both in NL parks. (This article provides a lot of useful information on the subject.)
Technically, this means that the AL is down one. But I think you can make an good argument that, since there are two more teams in the NL, they get one extra ASG every 15 years. This is what I'll assume.
Closest to all of our hearts, of course, is the question of how likely the Twins are to get the nod in 2014. Well, the competition falls into a couple of categories.
Dodger Stadium, waiting since 1980
Wrigley Field, waiting since 1990
Of these two, keep in mind that Los Angeles will have just hosted one across town in 2010.
Washington Nationals, waiting since 1969 (or 2005, if you prefer)
Minnesota Twins, waiting since 1985
Cincinnati Reds, waiting since 1988
San Diego Padres, waiting since 1992
Philadelphia Phillies, waiting since 1996
New York Yankees, waiting since 2008
The Nationals are sort of a special case because there was an ASG in Montreal in 1982. But this is more about the hosting city than it is about the hosting ballclub. The 1969 game was at RFK, with the Senators (Rangers) as host. Still, Washington has to be near the top of any list.
But if you assume that 2014 has to be an AL team, the Twins are easily at the top of the list.
A final category is those teams who will probably need a new ballpark before they see another ASG:
Oakland Athletics, waiting since 1987
Toronto Blue Jays, waiting since 1991
Florida Marlins, waiting since 1993 (have never hosted)
Tampa Bay Rays, waiting since 1998 (have never hosted)
The Marlins have the edge here because their park will open in 2012. The Blue Jays may have to settle for (and may even prefer) renovation. The A's and Rays are probably looking at 2014 for ballpark openings at the earliest.
2014 Twins ASG promo bat.
So, putting this all together, I come up with a schedule through 2026 that looks like this:
2009 (NL) St. Louis
2010 (AL) Los Angeles (Angel Stadium)
2011 (NL) Arizona
2012 (AL) Kansas City
2013 (NL) New York (Citi Field)
2014 (AL) Minnesota
2015 (NL) Washington
2016 (AL) Toronto (assumes renovation circa 2012)
2017 (NL) Los Angeles (Dodger Stadium)
2018 (AL) Tampa Bay (assumes new ballpark circa 2014)
2019 (NL) Cincinnati
2020 (AL) Oakland (assumes new ballpark circa 2014)
2021 (NL) Chicago (Wrigley Field, post-renovation or rebuild)
2022 (NL) San Diego
2023 (AL) Baltimore
2024 (NL) Miami
2025 (AL) Texas
2026 (NL) Philadelphia
There is a bit of a glut of new ballparks which need to be accommodated. 2014 rightfully belongs to the Twins, but some other clubs will have to wait a decade or more before their new ballparks are seen in the mid-summer classic. We can be glad that it looks like we won't have to wait that long.
After this batch, I'm roughly one third of the way through the pictures I took yesterday. There's much more to come, with relevant discussion along the way.
Two signs visible from beyond the confines of the ballpark.
Still some work to be done on the canopy.
That's some scary-ass scaffolding, if you ask me.
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)
Not much facade left to be finished at this point.
This is one complicated streetscape.
Ahh. Lunch in the admin building...
See you tomorrow for a break in the tour for some serious train talk.
"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.
Awesome seat. Awesome sun. Awesome hitter. (Photo by Tony Voda, courtesy Jared Wieseler)
Click to enlarge.
Grid for the ironwood louvres is in place
The connection from the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue. You can now see where the little grassy area and franchise history board will be (the triangular area in the foreground).
From behind the wind veil
The Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage seating
This would be easy to miss, but I found it on a cart located directly behind the Batter's Eye seating on the upper concourse in center field.
Beams connecting the plaza to the Target Center walkway
Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)
8:02 PM It's at peak, affecting mostly the upper deck.
The finished product.
Lots of people are doing it.
An early concept for St. Paul.
They could not help the Twins on this night.
The view from my seats in Section 237 (The Trap), Row 1 (can't see much of center field without standing up...)
Close-up on the diagram of the Club Level with finishing materials (click to enlarge)
Touring the Rapid Park site (L-R: Commissioners Wade, Vekich, Sykora, Cramer, and tour guide Chuck Ballentine, source: RP)
Wood-backed seats viewed through gate 6
CBP: retro in facade only
Do you think somebody's already cooking hot dogs out there?
Roped off for the LRT crowd
Lower deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.