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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
One of the many supports being built over the tracks.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
At the other end of the bridge, the configuration of the tracks has become clear.
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
The Hrbek gate is directly below. It's a lively place after a game.
The east wall of the building looks like it will be the first part completed. These are probably supports for the plaza, and they hug the very edge of the site.
After the rain. (We were in the wrong spot to see the rainbow...)
Click to see the full-size image.
Branding on the plaza
Some people will go to work here every day.
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.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
The pink thing is a mascot. (Actually, with a damn fine mascot actor underneath.)
Double plays will be turned here.
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Signature elements. (And they wonder why we think the real trees look so small...)
Door to the visitor's clubhouse.
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Hit gap, win suit!
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
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:
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities
With the engine behind us, we got a real sense of how fast we were going by looking out the front (back) window
The first passengers are about to arrive, but the switch is set for the wrong track (those guys walked all the way out to correct it)