Piles to Rails to Cranes
September 28, 2007 2:31 AM
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.
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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.
Bird's-eye view of the trees
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.
Larry DiVito, mowing
I know these are giants bats with hops growing inside, but... Hmm...
One of those funny little sections above the entrance stairs
As mentioned earlier, one of the best climate-controlled views of construction is from the 7th floor elevator lobby in the A ramp. (That's Noah getting his first glimpse of the new ballpark.)
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
Larry DiVito, mowing
Still some work to be done on the canopy.
Nuts on Clark (a couple blocks north of Wrigley Field)
This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.
Hit gap, win suit!
Midway Stadium (seen from our tailgating spot across the parking lot)
Bronze glove delivered (awaiting installation) with Met flag pole horizontal behind the gate
Two concepts here remain in the final design. First is the oddly-shaped pavilion in center. Second is the section just above the right field fence. In the current design this section will hang over the field by a few feet. The original doesn't do that, but you can see that the concept goes way back in the planning.
Close-up on the diagram of the Club Level with finishing materials (click to enlarge)
Click to see the full-size image.
This is the Suite Level. There are multiple suites between each pillar, and there will be seating on the area in front of the suites which currently looks like it could be a walkway.
Ballpark elevation viewed from Seventh Street. (Click to enlarge.)
A mysterious smile from within a very deep planter!
From an earlier visit: Don't bother with those escalators either. They were also roped off. And how about a bench? Or a planter? Or even a trash can? That woman is doing the only thing she can: leaning up against a post to do her texting.
Path of quick escape.
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).
Did you notice the flowers?
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
The entrances are all the way around on the other side.
A great view from the balcony outside the Metropolitan Club
A recent view of the Bud deck in progress
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
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