Rule of Life #573: At some point, you WILL need a hard hat.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
Work in progress.
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).
Another deck to come...
A peak inside what will become the main concourse.
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.
"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.
It was in and then quickly out of his glove. You gotta make that play.
Preparations underway (Field View)
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
I don't think this will remain a knothole, but the view is pretty cool.
Auxiliary scoreboard (note to TF principles: this is a very good idea)
Dude, this is NOT a multi-use facility.
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
Two train stations
A portrait of the 573 Club.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
An arch under construction.
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
Poles through the gap
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
Shh. Don't tell those people working behind the ticket windows about these automated ticketing machines (underneath the plaza stairs)
Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)
A distinct misstep, ostensibly to guard against missteps. But methinks I smell a lawyer...
Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)
Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)
A trailer village has sprung up to the south.
Location for automated ticket machines
The brown grass was left over from the first attempt at groundbreaking (canceled after the 35W bridge collapse)
Open house skeptics
I set up my late inning "office" at the drink rail behind section 206
The green in question (click for very large version)
"text-align: left; font-size: .6em;">The suite mock-up
Also viewed from the B ramp, that's the upper deck in left field.