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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Mary Larson (left), a music teacher from Maple Grove, was a TwinsFest SSB winner and got to sing the anthem before the game.
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
Here's the view from the main concourse out through Gate 3 "Killebrew".
Secret entrance exposed!
One of the many supports being built over the tracks.
A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.
Future home of the Met Stadium flag pole
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.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
The Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage seating
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
Note the speakers hanging beneath that deck
Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level
Ready for action.
The angle on the main scoreboard from the Batter's Eye is surprisingly good -- acceptable, at least.
I think this promenade over the railroad tracks needs a name. How about the Halsey Hall Promenade? (Please do not throw cigar butts onto the tracks!)
(Click to enlarge.)
Gate 6 Oliva, with the 573 Club looming large over it (I wonder how Tony feels about that)
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
The view down Sixth Street toward the ballpark site. A pedestrian bridge will extend this street right into the main entrance of the park. The regrettable facade of Target Center is on the left. Butler Square is on the right. Click on the image to see what it looked like on this very spot about 100 years ago.
Frost on the pumpkins, snow on the plaza
The field will feel very close.
A collection of support pillars for the left field pavilion.
Section 101, Row 34
A closer look into the park from down the street. How great will this view be during a game??
Directly above gate 6 "Oliva" on the Club level.
Here's where I was when the alarm went off, and though the siren wasn't terribly loud, at least one guy is plugging his ears.
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