Our very own Moose97 (who also partly belongs to KBUN-AM in Bemidji) had the opportunity to take a tour of Target Field today. Sounds like he had a blast and got lots of information. Here's his report.
First things first - I purposely drove in from the west (394) even though I usually come in from the north (94). This was to see the "Twins" sign and the ballpark as I drove in. I must say, I really like to see a city skyline as I drive into town, and the way Target Field just emerges is great. I can imagine driving in on game day from the western burbs and seeing that sign all lit up and really getting excited about watching ball...
Getting to my actual tour - Kevin Smith again was my tour guide. I was part of a group of "high rollers" who asked a lot of questions about suite sales and group rentals - i.e. renting out the party suites and using the park for meetings when the Twins were out of town. Certainly presented an interesting perspective.
Now, walking out onto the concourse and seeing the field - the park looks great. Great sight lines all around. I LOVE the outfield concourse. That has the steel supports, and looks more "traditional" than the main concourse (which is concrete). Also, the LF corner is my favorite part. It's SO open. The entrance where folks come in from LRT and exit the vertical circulation building - it's just a large open area with so much potential. Kevin Smith said this was the area that FSN would likely set up the pre and post game shows. That kind of surprised me since I figured that would happen on Target Plaza.
The Metropolitan Club is really nice. All the little details are just right. I never went to a game at Met Stadium, but all the folks with me on the tour just raved about it.
I personally loved the upper deck. I don't think there's a bad seat up there. For a park that's technically four levels (main deck, club level, suites then ud), the seats still feel very close to the field.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
We also got to go up on the Bud Party Deck. This has lots of potential. I can see a lot of folks having a lot of fun up there. At the same time, you look up there from the rest of the ballpark, and it looks so far away. Yet, you get up there, and the field seems so close. Once they get bleachers up there, it should be great.
As I've said, I've been to 21 MLB parks, and will visit 4 new ones later this week and next (new Yankee, Citi, Nationals and Citizens Bank). I think it's still too early to judge a ballpark since it's not complete, but I really liked Target Field. It's not perfect, but it's very nice. I think it has top-5 potential.
On to some of your questions:
The "Shaking Hands" logo/sign in CF - it will be a steel frame structure with LED lighting. They investigated having the players "shake hands" after HR's, but there were "too many zeros" to make it happen, so HR's will be celebrated by a ribbon board display, and some sort of light show with the topiary.
The wind veil is under construction, but when I asked when it would be installed, Kevin Smith said, "Ned Kahn is an artist." That drew a laugh. I didn't get the impression that it was running late, just that artists have their own schedule.
Sod instillation should begin the week of August 24th, pending the weather and the completion of the field prep work.
I did get to sit behind one of the railings in the Field Terrace (I'm going to guess row 1 of section 203), and I didn't have too much problem seeing home plate. Also keep in mind, however, that I'm 6'7"... Also, I sat in a seat in front of someone, and they had no problem up there seeing over me...
I asked about the sun glare issue. Kevin Smith said he'd been out there at all times of the day, and they don't see it as a problem.
The Twins at this time think that if they can get to 16,000 FTE season ticket holders, "they'd be thrilled." Also, it was noted that there are sections that will never be sold as season tickets, and that, "even if we get to 20,000 FTE, they're still 20,000 single game tickets available." On this note, approximately 15% of current Season ticket holders opted to "double up" on season tickets at Target Field.
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
When asked about how many people could fit into the warming shelters, Kevin Smith answered that he didn't know. Also, those catwalks do go over the warming shelters. You will have to enter the Home Plate View sections above the warming shelters THROUGH the shelters, then go to these catwalks to get to your seats.
The sections down the lines (101-103) seem to angle towards 2nd base.
The louvers for the circulation ramps are set to arrive the week of August 13th.
The no photo policy is a Twins policy, not Mortenson, not Ballpark Authority. It was put in place, somewhat, to preserve the "Ah-ha" moment, but a better way to describe it is to say that the Twins want folks to have a memorable first trip to the ballpark, rather than say, "hey, I've seen all this before." Kevin Smith also said the Twins were trying to fight "misinformation" that they felt was out there.
Hope that helps everyone. I really enjoyed the tour, and wish everyone had a chance to get inside. It is a night and day difference between the Dome and TF. I agree with whoever said that the park will have little "neighborhoods," and I also think that those that are concerned about "hanging out" on the plaza will be pleasantly surprised at all the space available to hang out inside Target Field. That's the other thing to remember - besides that the Dome plaza is a different beast than Target Plaza, there are literally TONS of places inside to just socialize. It really is a great ballpark. I can't wait. Is it April yet?
Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
"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.
Looking up toward Sixth Street.
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
The equivalent spot on the model.
The Northstar station at night
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).
The glare problem.
These stairs will go up to the centerfield pavilion.
World Series trophies on display at left
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
A slightly different elevation drawing, again viewed from Fifth Street, with some labels. (Click to enlarge.)
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
Reverse view, now looking down Sixth toward the park. The Met Stadium flag pole will be right there!
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
I took this picture from the Overlook at great personal risk, because everything Thome was hitting was landing out that direction.
Sharing and Caring Hands, as viewed from the ballpark site about a block away. Note transaction in progress in the shadows.
A trailer village has sprung up to the south.
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
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.
Click to see the full-size image.
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
A sign that your mall is all but dead: roped off escalators. (This is at about 4:00 PM on a weekday.)
More flowers, more pennants.
Limestone still dominates the Seventh Street walkway from a pedestrian point of view. But brick take over as you move upward -- a concession to cost, no doubt.
Wind veil install from across Seventh
From about two blocks away you can finally get an idea of what it looks like. Just to my left (but out of view) was a valet parking stand where a limo was idling.