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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
And another angle looking at the overhang area of the right field pavilion. This looks to me like a great area to watch a game.
The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.
A final glimpse from the street of stadia installation along the left field line
At the other end of the bridge, the configuration of the tracks has become clear.
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.
Detail of the Puckett wall hanging
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Love the red flowers -- just like the original concept drawings. That NEVER happens.
Perhaps these very bold, Hitchcockian birds picking at left-over popcorn and peanuts were portents of what was to come.
Click to enlarge
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
Did I mention that the cheerleaders looked pretty sharp?
Griffith Stadium (notch visible in lower photo at far left)
One half of those windows are well-used.
Dancing for the cameras
Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.
Target Plaza in model form
Press box, hallway to the print room
Gate 3 "Killebrew"
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.
Not much facade left to be finished at this point.
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
Also from the same lobby, other window, a view which will clearly disappear before too long...