It's a muddy mess down in that former ditch that's becoming a ballpark. But if you look closely, you'll see footings and distinct signs of something magical taking place.
Today, as reported by the TV news, the white pile that we all signed finally went into the ground. I don't know if that means they're done with piles, but it's a pretty cool thing. I signed it right on the end (see photo). I'm assuming that the word "top" was scribbled by a construction person and not a fan. That would mean that my initials were probably pounded into oblivion...
Bigger news is that the first crane has gone up, and two more will be coming soon. According to Dan Mehls, the Mortenson guy-on-the-site, the outline of the ballpark should start to emerge over the next couple of months and be visible before winter.
Medium-sized news is that the railroad tracks have been successfully moved and are operational. This happened amazingly fast. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. After all, people have been laying tracks for more than a century. But it seems like such a gigantic task that I fully expected it to take many more months.
Smaller news is that the wrangling over the land price continues. There was an interesting editorial in yesterday's Strib -- interesting mostly for the odd stance taken by the writers. They chose to complain about the Fifth Street bridge, half of which was torn down and is being rebuilt flat to accommodate the light rail line (amid more general fear about urban design principles being abandoned).
This was the first time I've heard anyone mention publicly the desire to flatten the entire bridge -- though it's been mentioned quite a bit privately. In fact, everyone I've talked to has said they'd love it if the whole bridge was flat, but can't find anybody willing to pay for the other half. The editorial points out that with a two-part bridge, pedestrians will have trouble crossing Fifth to get to the park.
It's very weird reasoning, because there's absolutely no way that Metro Transit is going to let fans cross its light rail tracks anywhere but in designated crosswalks -- flat bridge or no. Walk around the Metrodome a bit and you'll see just how carefully controlled pedestrian traffic is when it comes to the trains (as it should be).
The whole motivation for the editorial is mysterious. Who are these people and what's their angle? I can't answer that question -- yet.
I do agree that a flat bridge is better than a split bridge, if only aesthetically. This sounds like work for the city of Minneapolis, which has been something of a silent (and rather passive) partner in this whole project so far. I'm sure that's political, but does the city government appreciate what's being done right there on their behalf? Time to give something back, R. T.
But talking about that bridge is a distraction. The bridge which is of much greater concern is the pedestrian bridge from Sixth Street across the freeway. Signs in the neighborhood of the ballpark say that construction is set to begin soon, but that's just on paper. Insiders say that the thing will likely be built (in other words, it's not really in jeopardy because it's so integral in getting fans in and out), but that it's absolutely unclear how it will be paid for, and by whom. The answer to that question depends on the price for the land.
I've gotta run for now, but I hope to be back to full capacity here soon. As much as I want to spend time writing here, another gigantic project has pretty much taken over my life. I'm producing a 4-CD set which will be added to this list in about a month. I have essentially 10 more days to wrap it up, and then I'm back here for a while. I've got lots of pictures to sort through. Thanks for stopping by, and for your patience.
"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.
"I've never seen them do that before," said a Metropolitan Club waiter as I snapped this picture.
Griffith Stadium (notch visible in lower photo at far left)
Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.
From the TV camera platform -- the view you'll see on TV
In the foreground you can see the supports for the plaza as it will meet the corner of North Seventh Street and Third Avenue North.
No admittance -- yet! Note that you can see the seating bolts which are in place already.
A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)
New Downtown Minneapolis Public Library (Source: RP)
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
Brick work just inside the opening matches the color of the limestone - per Jerry Bell's requirements.
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
Photo by Jared Wieseler
In case you don't know, that's Earl Battey.
Another deck to come...
A spot that's always full!
Carew atrium menu part 1
Viewed from up Sixth Street (that's Target Center on the left), you can get an idea of how the connection is currently planned. As it stands now, the plaza will extend to that support pillar, from which a stairway will empty to the sidewalk below. If they get their wish, additional support structures will provide a walkway along Target Center which will gradually (without stairs) meet the sidewalk somewhere up near First Avenue.
Work on the pavilion in center.
Hey! An unnumbered gate!
I know you've seen these, but is there a better finishing touch anywhere else in baseball? I know not one.
Storage tracks in the foreground.
The view from the corner of Ford Centre. (Feel free to tie up your boats here.)
Steps going up at Gate 29/Carew
Work beneath the scoreboard
Catwalks provide access to the View Level seats (from the Ballpark Authority July update)
This was actually taken from the top floor of the International Market Square.
Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.