A Tale of Two Outfields
November 3, 2007 2:49 AM
Here, for your perusal, is a detail from the new renderings of the outfield seating as compared to the original design:
Revised outfield configuration (courtesy HOK Sport)
Original outfield configuration
The improvements are numerous, starting with getting rid of the restaurant. The new seating is very welcome because these will probably be cheap seats.
But the expansion of flowers along the outfield fence is great (they can be seen on portions of the wall in the first design, but have clearly been expanded). I like this so much better than the Horrible Yellow Line favored in so many places. I have to believe that the flowers will make their way into discussions of the ground rules at home plate before games. How cool is that?!?
I'm not a gardener. In fact, I wish I had the aptitude. But whoever lived in my house before I bought it was a great gardener, and planted a spectacular variety of plants which bloomed at various times of the season. There always seemed to be something new in bloom, with the colors shifting throughout the summer. If that is the type of thing the Twins have in mind, it takes a great idea and nearly perfects it. Imagine a certain color of flower which only blooms in October!
Evidence of a food court behind the seating above the batter's eye
The renderings are ambiguous, but the new animation makes it clear that there is no hand-operated scoreboard out there. I know that some will grumble about this, but for me, building a hand-operated scoreboard into a new park is kind of like installing rotary phones in telephone booths on the concourses.
For parks that were built during that era, keeping those elements of the past is essential. I can't imagine Wrigley or Fenway without them. But adding such anachronisms to new parks seems silly and gimmicky. It is best avoided.
If you've been to Miller Park you know that somebody runs around behind the outfield scoreboards changing numbers throughout the game. Well, through the first few innings at least. Then they get tired. Very, very sleepy. Maybe they get free beer back there.
When I was last there the Twins were in a pennant race, but the scoreboard updates got less and less frequent as the game progressed. By the ninth inning of the game I was watching, the "classic manual scoreboard" had been stalled on the fifth inning of the Twins game for about an hour. In one spot there was a little window where there should have been a score.
Maybe they just have bad help. But really, it's kind of stupid. Technology isn't always a bad thing. On the other hand, gimmickry is always a bad thing.
For those concerned about it, there is clearly a TC logo on the front of the scoreboard. Of course, the scoreboard design will probably be one of the last things finalized, but at least it's clear that the team intends to keep this iconic symbol around. (The newer logos are fine, but for those of us who became fans as kids in the 60s, the TC logo is and always will be the team's official logo.)
Limestone facing and flowers on the right field overhang
This was in the original design and has been retained: the front of the right field overhang will be faced with limestone. It's a great way to connect the interior to the exterior (it also appears behind home plate), but could certainly be a game changer. Balls hitting limestone will probably take a hard bounce back toward the infield and still be in play. A visiting right fielder who thought he was going to make a great catch at the wall may find himself making a desperate throw to the plate to prevent an inside-the-park homer.
To me, that's not a gimmick, nor is it disrespectful of the game. It's a reasonably small quirk, that comes about -- at least in part -- because of the shallowness of the ballpark site in that direction. That's the very best reason to build in something like that.
It looks like the standing room above the bullpens and batter's eye have survived. I'm a little unclear on this, but I think they are just concourse walkways, rather than seating areas or food court or something.
The flag poles have been sited, and a flag has appeared on top of the foul pole!
OK, this is starting to feel like one of those "find 10 differences between the photos" puzzles...
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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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
(Click to enlarge.)
Here's what they do in April at Comerica Park
Look at all that blank space. Canvas! (What should go on those walls? A giant schedule perhaps?)
Work beneath the scoreboard
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
You can't get there from here.
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
This is very early in the day.
7:52 PM It's nearing peak, and covering the stands behind third base.
OK, people are definitely riding their bikes to games! (Photo by Tim Davis, courtesy MBA)
Life in the shadows
This is the Metropolitan Club as viewed from the future Ballpark Authority office space.
Lots of work has gone into detailing the fronts of these decks. That is a little thing, but a NICE little thing. (HRP View)
Wow! Looking good.
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
Memorabilia on display in the Metropolitan Club
An arch under construction.
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
At lower left are the seats I'm not going to use any time soon.
Some people will go to work here every day.
The old flour Gold Medal Flour Mill, located next to the new Guthrie theater (Source: RP)
Items promoting the Twins 2014 All-Star Game bid. I got to bring one of these buckets home, and Noah got his first-ever taste of Cracker Jacks.
I see an opportunity in this view for an Abbey Road-style promotional photo! Mauer, Morneau, Nathan and Cuddyer walking toward the ballpark. The only question: which one takes off his cleats?
Notice that the wooden-backed club seats are now covered by a green tarp for protection from the elements.
A look at Gate 34.
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).
Note reflected sunset (7:30 PM). Could be a worry...
The view through a construction "knothole".
Loading dock -- already in use!
A familiar view through the top floor elevator lobby window in ramp B (HRP View and Terrace).
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
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures