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May 17, 2007 1:50 AM

So many pictures, so little time. Here's one that says it all.

Jerry Bell smiling

Yesterday's introduction of the ballpark site for the media contained very little in the way of new information, but it was a nice opportunity to see Jerry Bell smile about as wide as I've ever seen. If you saw any of the TV coverage, you heard him say that he was a little disbelieving that there wasn't a critical vote scheduled for this meeting -- that the project was actually getting underway!

KSTP thinks there will be a roof!

It was a pretty small crowd -- much smaller than I expected. And the resulting coverage was understandably muted given the almost total lack of anything interesting to report. By the way, someone really needs to tell KSTP-TV that there won't be a roof.

So we learned that there will be dust for a while. There will be occasional street and bridge closings. There will be trucks going in and out. This is all pretty standard stuff when it comes to building a new building of any type.

We did learn that the playing surface will be about two to three feet below the existing parking surface, and that about 130,000 cubic yards of dirt and asphalt will be hauled away to a landfill in Burnsville. It's hoped that some of the asphalt will be ground up and recycled.

They expect to find railroad debris beneath the asphalt, but are not expecting to find anything which will slow down the project. When he talked about timetables, he made it sound like everything is scheduled pretty tightly, but there is time to make their scheduled opening date if nothing goes too terribly wrong. Clearing and preparing the site will cost about $3 to 4 million.

The media gathers for a glimpse.

I also heard Dan Mehls, the construction manager for Mortenson Construction, say that it would not have been possible to build much other than a ballpark on the site because of the soil condition below. He said that you couldn't put a high rise building there because such buildings have all their weight concentrated in one area, versus a ballpark which has its weight distributed evenly over a much larger area.

Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction

Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction

This should be interesting information for those who are doing the determination of the condemnation price. Looks like putting condos there might not have actually been a possibility -- and may not be on other nearby land (assuming the information is accurate). Frankly, I'm hoping a bunch of tall buildings get built in the corridor, with retail at street level to create a sense of neighborhood. As it stands now, the ballpark will be built between two freeway-style bridges to the north and south, a real busy freeway to the east, and a great big public works complex to the west.

And, speaking of the HERC plant (garbage burner), it sure does make a lot of noise. Though I did not smell anything unusual, there were times when I wondered if a noisy plane was going overhead. There was at least one TV helicopter, but it wasn't that kind of sound. It was more like the roar of a hundred giant exhaust fans. I'm assuming this will get addressed somewhere along the way, because it could be terribly disruptive to enjoying a game (although maybe not as disruptive as an overly-loud PA system).

There was some minor concern expressed about high levels of mercury, and seven spots had been marked for special attention. I'm not sure how this gets determined. Without cars parked there it was possible to see that the asphalt is pretty much a patchwork job. Maybe this is due to soil testing. Hard to tell.

I asked Mehls about Bassett Creek. He said that its top is about 15 feet below the current surface (thus about 13 feet below the playing surface), and that it's about 10 feet deep. They have to do some special work to protect it, and do not intend to disturb it or change its flow in any way. While that's a little disappointing, it seems like doing anything more creative would have been just about impossible given that depth.

All of the important locations were clearly marked, and seeing the right field foul pole was something of a shock.

Fence and foul pole

Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!

Though I was wrong the other day when I wrote about the fence markings on the pavement, the sample foul pole was attached to an existing chain link fence (covered with lovely greenery) separating Third Avenue North from the entrance ramp to I-394. That means that the outfield fence will actually be beyond the markings I saw the other day (which turned out to indicate the location of construction fencing). It's not out of the question that a Justin Morneau home run could hit the parking ramp, or even land out on the freeway!

Right field foul pole

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)

Mehls was a little hesitant when asked about the heating plan for the playing field. He said that the details were still being worked out, and sounded maybe just a little bit skeptical that this was possible. Of course, modern playing fields are usually installed by special subcontractors, so maybe HOK knows something he doesn't.

Getting the railroad tracks moved a few feet to the west means that there will be only one railroad tunnel underneath the stands, and it will be only a storage tunnel for the Northstar line -- not an active track. All of the active tracks will be outside the ballpark, and that resolves all the questions about liability in case there's an accident. Mehls said that some tracks will run underneath the promenade which will be built on the west side facing the garbage burner, the Star Tribune reported the other day that trains will have no reason to blow their whistles as they pass by the ballpark.

Media gathers

Even though it was a gray day, I took the opportunity to snap about a hundred pictures which will become my official "before" collection. Look for some more of these over the next few days.

Comments


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KSTP CH. 5 looks like it is run by Vocational Education Students. Very 3rd rate news journalism. No wonder they are dead last in the ratings.

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 3:08 PM by John Highlight this comment 1

Man, has there been any talk to tearing down the Multifoods Tower? That has to be the ugliest skyscraper in America. Too bad that this is going to be the most predominant representation of the Minneapolis skyline as viewed from the ballpark.

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 5:15 PM by Robert Highlight this comment 2

About the comment above on the Multifoods Tower. It always looked to me like it was built out of underground sewer tunnel/pipes, but in a puke pink. I agree, a horrible eye sore.

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 5:21 PM by John Highlight this comment 3

I don't think the Multifoods Tower would be that bad if they added some light or some color to it. Just think if it was bathed in blue light or perhaps painted red.

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 5:33 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 4

I think the Multifoods tower is one of those "kit" skyscrapers. There seems to be one like it in every major city (for example, there's a shorter version in downtown St. Paul).

It's square. It's boring. It's ugly. I agree that it is a very unfortunate representation of the Minneapolis skyline. From the ballpark site it completely hides the gem of downtown.

The Wells Fargo building will be just barely visible to fans in the upper deck down the left field line, and in the left field upper deck (for those not watching the game). I have a picture to prove it. I'll try to get that posted soon.

I presume that the skyline will look much better from the inevitable blimp shots which will accompany the broadcasts...

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 6:30 PM by Rick 5

Hey guys, I'm a sad building. I would never claim to be sexy, but I am certainly not a "horrible eye sore."

Sure I will be blocking the Stanley Cup building and the big one to the south, but at least I'm not the Target Center, which looks like a coked out Rainbow Foods.

I know we've gotten off to a poor start Twins ballpark fans, but I'm confident that once you get to know me, we'll laugh, cry, and eventually love one another.

With Love,

Multifoods Tower

p.s. I'm not wearing makeup in any of those photos.

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 7:52 PM by Multifoods Tower Highlight this comment 6

You really need to let it go, Multi. It was just one night, and I really did have an early meeting the next morning. (How is Little Block E, by the way?)

Posted on May 17, 2007 at 8:11 PM by Target Center Highlight this comment 7

Hey Rick - now that you've been able to see it and egt some explanation, what is your feeling about the left field wall and where the foul pole is supposedly going to be? Is the site too small? Are we making a mistake??

Posted on May 18, 2007 at 11:09 AM by Excited Highlight this comment 8

RICK!!!

They are starting today!! We need an update!!

Posted on May 21, 2007 at 1:57 PM by ? Highlight this comment 9

I'm headed down there this afternoon! I'll post some more photos tonight!

Posted on May 21, 2007 at 2:02 PM by Rick 10


This page was last modified on January 21, 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.


The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).






I never think of Rod Carew as a first baseman. But he was.






Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.



Gate 29 escalators



A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue






Staircase entrance. You cannot miss them.






Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)



Work has begun on the plaza, and the activity has started to impact I-394 traffic.



New Concept Drawing - No Roof



Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)



Scoreboard as viewed from Fifth Street.



Gate 6 Oliva, with the 573 Club looming large over it (I wonder how Tony feels about that)






Suite Level



Still some work to be done on the canopy.



This is the Seventh Street circulation ramp. Note that the floor is covered with plywood to protect it during construction. Not all construction firms are as careful with this type of protection as Mortenson.



Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)






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?



Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune



I think AP is in there somewhere...



A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).



At lower left are the seats I'm not going to use any time soon.



A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.






If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.



The Overlook






TC meets the Mayor (Photo by Jeff Ewer)









Limestone facing and flowers on the right field overhang



(Click to enlarge)






Wind veil install from across Seventh









Touring the Rapid Park site (L-R: Commissioners Wade, Vekich, Sykora, Cramer, and tour guide Chuck Ballentine, source: RP)



New Year's Eve, 2008






At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad



Discovered on the upper concourse!









This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.



A sharp-eyed reader caught me trying to make the best of a bad situation with my SP-570UZ on Sunday afternoon


Glossary

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

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Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


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Book and six ballpark miniatures
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