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Ballparkus Tourus Interruptus

May 9, 2008 12:13 AM

Rule of Life #573: At some point, you WILL need a hard hat.

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Only I don't have one (at least not one with genuinely protective qualities). And today it actually mattered.

Following a great lead from J2K, I signed up for a tour of the ballpark and Northstar station site this afternoon with an organization called the "ASCE Younger Members Group" (ASCE turns out to stand for American Society of Civil Engineers). Realizing that I'd probably have some trouble passing for a young civil engineer, I identified myself right away as a blogger, but they welcomed me with open arms.

The requirements which came with the confirmation clearly stated that a hard hat, safety glasses, and safety vest (as well as long pants, long-sleeve shirt, hard-toe boots, indemnity waiver, etc.) were required in order to get into the site. Makes sense.

It further stated that there would be some borrowable vests, safety glasses, and hard hats available for anyone who didn't have their own -- 20 sets for a group of 80 people. Not feeling completely comfortable with those odds, I made a few phone calls and sent a few messages trying to guarantee that I would have one.

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The rules were clearly posted next to this new entry point on the Seventh Street side. I have no problem with the rules!

When not a single one of my calls or emails was returned (I probably should have taken that as a sign), I decided simply to arrive early and make sure I was one of the first 20 people. That much I accomplished rather easily.

Only there were no loaners. None. Not one. And it was clear from the first face I met as I stepped through the door to the Mortenson construction office trailer: no hard hat, no tour. There I was. Hatless. S. O. L.

Just to add insult to injury, when I asked a construction worker where I might find the trailer containing the "Mauer Room", he referred me to what turned out to be a fancy tool shed about half a block in the wrong direction. Yeah, I'm a ballpark geek, and I guess it shows. (The Mauer Room is the big conference room in the main office trailer. The other two conference rooms are the Morneau Room and the Cuddyer Room. I'm not sure which of the latter two is bigger.)

So, sorry for hyping that to you all. I was pretty sure I could make it work.

I still want to take such a tour, and I'm open to any leads you may have. Unfortunately, the only hard hat I own or I'm likely to own in the near future has Winnie-the-Pooh on it (see above). So I'll need a little help with that...

Anyway, not wanting to waste the trip, and with a good hour of now-uncommitted time, I scoured the site. And I found at least one pretty cool thing that I didn't expect. Over the next few days I'll show you about 30 of the 100 pictures I took.

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This little item stands just to the south of the site, where the volleyball courts used to be. It has to be related to exterior finishing elements, which means this is the first glimpse of the actual stone to be used. Very buttery.


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I don't know if the back side is also a test for materials, but it could be a hint of how the exposed steel supports will be finished. Or it could just be to hold up the stone.

I was lucky enough to nab the very last brochure in one of the skyway promo displays. Here are scans of the three new renderings.

brochure1.jpg


brochure2.jpg


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It's hard to put too much stock in these. I can spot a few minor changes, but these are far from detailed.

The poster certainly raises the issue of bench seating in the outfield. I took this close-up:

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Bench seating? (Click to see hi-res version.)

Is this a rendering of what it will actually be like? I'm a little skeptical. As you can see, it looks like a series of steps without seats or backs. Well, the steps are both seat AND back.

It could work, but my hunch is that this may be a cartoon version for promotional purposes -- not intended for the scrutiny people like you and I might want to give it. But I'll check.

On to the ballpark:

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This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.


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Work in progress.


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The connection from the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue. You can now see where the little grassy area and franchise history board will be (the triangular area in the foreground).


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Another deck to come...


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A peak inside what will become the main concourse.


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A very busy place, as viewed from Target Center.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that as I drove away from the site today, I saw a homeless man tightly cradling a bright yellow hard hat. Non-Pooh variety.

*Sigh*

More tomorrow...

Comments


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Great stuff! Not a big fan of the bench seating though.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 01:54 AM by Josh's Thoughts Highlight this comment 1

Rick,

Thanks for doing a great job keeping us updated on the ballpark construction. I found pictures that someone who actually did manage to get into yesterday's tour at the following website. They have lots of construction pics.

enjoy.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 07:15 AM by Mo Highlight this comment 2

Nice pics Rick. Thanks for the update.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 07:58 AM by Lafferty Highlight this comment 3

please tell me they will cut the "TC" logo in the center field grsss... it would look awsome!

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 08:10 AM by MAZARATIRICK Highlight this comment 4

Mazaratirick, I was thinking the same thing, that would look really awesome!

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 11:30 AM by Robert Highlight this comment 5

Thanks for the link, Mo.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 11:43 AM by Dave T Highlight this comment 6

Good link, Mo. Things are really starting to take shape.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 12:39 PM by Jeff Highlight this comment 7

great pics, mo. thx for sharing.

rick, nicely done (as always). i'll add your life rule to my list right after my most recent entry ("garlic salt does not taste as good as cinnamon/sugar does on toast").

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 7:24 PM by yeahklye Highlight this comment 8

Are you people nuts? Building an unenclosed stadium in Minnesota for BASEBALL? I guess so . . .

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 7:46 PM by Joe in SC Highlight this comment 9

That structure is amazing. After looking at the webcam for so long, its amazing how large that structure is right now and the progress they are making on it. Those "ground level" shots of the concourse are incredible! It is just amazing to think how much work goes into building a stadium.

Thanks for the great pics everyone! It's definitely nice to get a change of perspective aside from that webcam.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 8:57 PM by Luke H. Highlight this comment 10

Joe in SC, We're about as crazy as Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland to name a few.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 9:02 PM by JohnF Highlight this comment 11

We are colder then those cities, and the Twins had a game frozen out in Chicago last year, but I am all for no roof its going to be sweet.

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 9:38 PM by AAA Highlight this comment 12

Get over it people, seriously! Baseball has survived in the northern cities (Boston, Baltimore, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Denver) in previous years, it will survive in the future as well.

We don't have retractable roofs for college or high school teams. It's the nature of an OUTDOOR game in Minnesota, so get over it.

We don't put roofs on our parks and playgrounds...We don't have roofs on our amusement parks or golf courses or race tracks (unless you go to an indoor park such as MOA or another type of indoor park). When there is inclement weather, we simply change our plans accordingly. If you are going to be driving long distances to Twins games, be prepared for postponements and delays, its that simple. If you don't like the idea of a possible postponement, than spend your weekend elsewhere doing other things.

Why spend $150 million on a roof (which would make your stadium unattractive and feel "enclosed") when a $5 umbrella or $2 poncho will do the job..."Real" ballparks are open-air ballparks.

Open-Air ballpark also means more Saturday DAY games and more DAY games during the early part of the season. It also means the return of DOUBLEHEADERS and FIREWORKS nights!

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 10:06 PM by Luke H. Highlight this comment 13

well said luke h.

i love how these "randoms" (most likely anti-stadium types or outstate mn people) come on here every once in a while and spew off some stupid crap about no retractable roof. no roof is going to be frickin' awesome! and in my world that includes early april games. hell yeah. love it!

Posted on May 9, 2008 at 11:30 PM by Betaband Highlight this comment 14

I dont understand why the vikings cant just save 200million with no roof and keep the team from going to LA

Posted on May 10, 2008 at 12:48 AM by AAA Highlight this comment 15

AAA- while I think it would be awesome to have the Vikings back outdoors again, it's not gonna happen, imo.

To build a facility for the Vikings using public money that will only be used a dozen times maximum a year would be too hard to get through the MN legislature -again, this is just my opinion.

Even though it's going to be expensive to build a new stadium for the Vikes with a roof, it will be an easier pill to swallow for the legislature if they could guarantee a Super Bowl, Final Four, and the use of the building for concerts, events, etc. - which is what building an enclosed stadium would bring.

and the point is moot because they ain't gonna go to LA anyways.

Posted on May 10, 2008 at 3:15 PM by Don T Highlight this comment 16

I have heard that pepsi will be in target field does anyone know this for sure ? very intersted GO TWINS see you all at the game

Posted on February 26, 2009 at 07:17 AM by david Highlight this comment 17

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