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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
Purple flowers above Second Avenue
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
A path for workers -- don't touch the plaza! -- in front of three giant Chia pets
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)
The Ballpark Authority at work (Source: RP)
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Thome steps in.
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)
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
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.
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
Work going on under the steel.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)
This design has a rather generic quality to it, but they appear to have considered the B garage. Though it isn't part of the model, they've clearly left room for it.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...