July Poking Around #3
July 15, 2009 11:41 PM
No question that one of the greatest parts of ballpark-building to watch is seat installation. That's the point where acres of empty cement steps suddenly become actual places to sit and watch a game. Finally it's possible to understand the scale of everything, and eventually point to some seat and say, "That one's mine!"
So I took some time to capture the flavor of the seating bowl as it takes shape. When I was there, I would estimate seat installation at maybe 10 or 15% complete, but progressing steadily.
Before beginning, I should mention that it's pretty hard to keep the names of these sections straight. On the current pricing chart (which contains season ticket prices only), there are 22 sections listed. Each has a color which allegedly corresponds to a section on the seating chart.
There are two problems with this. First, some of the colors are so close together as to be virtually indistinguishable without a color probe tool. Second, there are some colors which just plain don't match anything on the seating chart, and vice versa. (On second viewing today, and with the use of a color probe tool, I discovered that none of the colors match exactly, but most are close enough for the eye to make the connection. If you want to see a comparison, or get the chart with the matching colors, click here.)
With some care, I put together this handy chart with actual text labels to keep everything straight.
For reference, in the captions for each image below, I will include the actual section of the park being shown.
Let's start in the B ramp elevator lobbies, where it appears that views into the ballpark will continue to be available even after the park opens. You won't be able to watch a game from there, but you may be able to get a reflected sense of when things are going well -- or not.
A familiar view through the top floor elevator lobby window in ramp B (HRP View and Terrace).
Here is a close-up of those funny little islands of seats (HRP View).
Home Run Porch Terrace
Lots of work has gone into detailing the fronts of these decks. That is a little thing, but a NICE little thing. (HRP View)
The back row of seats in straight-away center. Note that, beyond those seats, you can see the planters (for flowers) on the front of the Left Field Bleachers.(Batters Eye)
Here is where the signature art (original Twins logo) will be placed.
Home Run Porch Terrace (bottom) and View (top) as seen from the top of the B ramp
No matter how you try to disguise it, the B ramp will be a pretty significant presence at Target Field. For example, the back row of the outfield seats (Grandstand, or, "the trapezoid") is virtually up against the ramp. You will, for example, be able to see from the elevator lobby the people sitting there. And, if you want, you'll be able to talk to them from the top of the ramp.
That is pretty close... (Grandstand)
Lunch break at the top spot. (Grandstand)
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
Installing seats requires drilling bolt holes, placing the arm rests, then attaching backs and bottoms to connect the arm rests. Everything comes in boxes. Seems like a lot of needless cardboard to me...
Installation in action (Home Plate Box)
The finished product. Note that, at the very bottom of this image, you can just barely see the tops of the windows which look into the Champion's Club. (Home Plate Box)
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
I've learned that there is a company whose sole job is to go around inspecting every part of the Target Field construction to make sure that it meets the architect's specifications and all safety requirements. They are independent, and whatever they say goes.
They look for problems, then approve remedies, then reinspect. When things crop up that need to be redone, they are redone. In fact, there were times during cement pours when things actually had to be jack-hammered out and re-poured because of what inspections found. That's actually pretty comforting.
As far as I know, there have been no major problems while installing the seats, despite whatever rumors you may have heard.
But if there were problems with, oh, say, bolts, one can imagine that, in a big project like this, it could easily turn into a blame game between architects, engineers, suppliers, installers, etc. There are a lot of separate entities working together to build this park, and blame would be a pretty typical reaction in any large organization or project with so many people involved.
But I'm told that no such culture exists among the construction teams building Target Field. In the rare event when problems have been discovered, everyone is focused solely on fixing things and staying on schedule. There is no time for blame. Problems are inevitable, and blame solves nothing.
It's a great lesson which many large organizations never learn, but a great example of what it means to build a Major League facility with Major League contractors and workers.
Here are some upper deck shots.
Preparations underway (Field View)
Finished product (Field Terrace)
I heard in interesting story about the height of the railings.
There's a very real problem with sight lines if the railings get too high. But there is an even more distressing problem with fans falling over if the railings are too low.
Well, original designs called for railings of a certain height, but when principle members of the design and construction team went out to see what they were like, the general consensus was that they were dangerously low.
They had been designed with sight lines in mind, but simply had to be modified for safety. Even so, the conclusion was that views were not overly disrupted, and the park was much safer. Thus, the design was changed throughout the park.
A seating bowl comes into focus. Note that the netting has been installed on the foul pole. (Field Box)
No admittance -- yet! Note that you can see the seating bolts which are in place already.
Here is one of my favorite views, in large measure because you will actually be able to see fans in the seats through that little opening. The skyway will be alive with the games.
Today I made a deal for some seats out in the trapezoid (er, Grandstand), buying some leftover games from a STH group (which does not, unfortunately, make me a STH). But at least I know for sure that I'll get in to see a few games next year.
To that I can only say: Woo hoo!
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This page was last modified on January 16, 2010.
"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.
From last week, you can see the piers taking shape. I believe that the front row, visible here as just forms and reinforcing rods, is the front edge of the plaza.
Dan Kenney, my tour guide
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...
Looking north (toward Fifth Street and the LRT station).
This is the staircase (ramp?) leading up to the trapezoid. Nice flagpole too. You'll be able to find me and Ben McEvers at the base of that flagpole on opening day in 2010!
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
Another view of the escalator, which apparently comes preassembled!
You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.
Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.
Here's a detail from the above image, showing the LED strips up close.
Main concourse, looking south toward the area behind home plate.
Directly above gate 6 "Oliva" on the Club level.
Heaters over standing room (the backs of the retired number circles visible above)
Go get 'em, boys!
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
The view down Sixth Street toward the ballpark site. A pedestrian bridge will extend this street right into the main entrance of the park. The regrettable facade of Target Center is on the left. Butler Square is on the right. Click on the image to see what it looked like on this very spot about 100 years ago.
The Metrodome hot dog vendor. (Source: RP)
Love the red flowers -- just like the original concept drawings. That NEVER happens.
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)
Click to see the whole page from this 1971 program.
Gate 29 Carew (note the walkway above open to the street where you can shout down at your lost friends to tell them where to meet you)
The start of the VIP entrance and loading dock.
(Click to enlarge.)
Now from the inside looking at the same area.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
The finished product.
Best view available from the "B" ramp.
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.
Future home of the Met Stadium flag pole
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures