As we walked, his handler dropped back and it was just him and me. I tried to put a few words together to thank him for what he'd given me as a kid. But, as you can imagine, my words were sloppy and stuttered. I was about as articulate as I might have been as a 10-year-old. I bet he gets that a lot.
But he put an arm around my shoulder and talked about how much he'd enjoyed playing, how much he loved the game and the fans.
The greatest part was that he actually meant it. He seemed humbled by my offer of thanks, somewhat reluctant to accept any sort of "hero" status (I didn't use that word), and fully comprehending the impact he'd had on me (and by extension, many, many others -- again, I'm sure he gets this a lot).
The next day, when he was signing autographs in the concourse, I got in the already-long line just as his signing time began, and I was still about 15 people back when his allotted time ended. But the line behind me stretched off into the distance. And so Harmon just plain kept on signing.
I got my picture signed, and a bunch of people who had been behind me in the line also got their stuff signed.
Even after however many hours (years) he'd been doing it, he was cheerful and gracious.
One of the perks of working on this site is that I get to talk to a lot of people about behind-the-scenes baseball stuff. I can tell you that the admiration for Harmon is genuine and widespread. He is considered one of the all-time great players, one of the all-time great ambassadors for the game, and one of the all-time great teammates and team leaders. He's someone who recognizes that fame was a byproduct of doing what he loved, and that it came with responsibility.
He's lived up to that responsibility many times over.
I have much more from this amazing weekend coming, of course. But if you ever wonder about the name of this site, it's also another name for my favorite player.
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
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...
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.
Click to see the full-size image.
Shh. Don't tell those people working behind the ticket windows about these automated ticketing machines (underneath the plaza stairs)
These two sections are within a few feet of one another.
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
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.
There must be millions of details needing tending
Uh oh. A code of conduct. Clearly posted. I'm not gonna mention any names, but you know who you are... (Click to enlarge.)
Here is a close-up of those funny little islands of seats (HRP View).
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
Viewed from the A ramp.
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)
This is during halftime.
Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.
Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?
(Click to enlarge.)
Lunch break at the top spot. (Grandstand)
Bassett Creek's original path (Source: Metropolitan Design Center)
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
Working on the connecting LRT tracks (this view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown.)
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
Did you know that the out-of-town scoreboard is covered by a black chain 1ink fence?
Franchise history before Minnesota. (Click to enlarge.)