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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The start of the VIP entrance and loading dock.
In the top of the 9th, the sun hit our backs and summer took one last long look.
Seat logos in place
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
Click to see the full-size image.
The Ron Coomer corner features a bar.
I saw it at another park...
This is where chain link is being replaced with fencing which matches the plaza
Photo by Jared Wieseler
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
The same section seen from Target Center. Yep, looks like bridge supports.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
A great view from the balcony outside the Metropolitan Club
The glare problem.
This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.
Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.
The parking bay structure is now clearly visible
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
Ticket window at Gate 29/Carew
Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.
Dugout Box and Champion's Club sections are sequestered by separate moats
Circulation ramps: Wrigley (classic, integrated) and Kauffman (modern, external)
An overview of the model display.
Legends Club seats feature in-seat service
Write your own caption. (Photo by Jeff Ewer)
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)
A sidewalk has sprouted between the HERC and the LRT tracks!
Stairs wrap around the skyway escape tower. A very nice finishing touch.
A cross section of the field construction. (Click to enlarge.)
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.