Great ideas have started appearing here, and there have been many calls here and elsewhere to make history a very important element at the new ballpark.
It's certainly the perfect opportunity for the Twins to embrace the franchise history prior to 1961. They did, after all, win a World Series (1924) and two AL Pennants as the Washington Senators (1925 and 1933) which are not memorialized anywhere. And Walter Johnson, one of the greatest pitchers ever, doesn't have his statue in any ballpark. That's a crime. (Did you know that there are quite a few hall-of-famers linked to the franchise beyond those on the big curtain? Some even wear Senators caps -- Johnson, Goose Goslin, Sam Rice -- while several others spent substantial time on the team.)
Sometimes big gestures are in order:
On May 8, 1966, the Cardinals played the last game at what was once called Sportsman's Park: 17,503 spectators saw them lose to the San Francisco Giants, 10-5. At the game's end, a helicopter carried home plate downtown to the new 50,000-seat Busch Memorial Stadium.
As far as I can tell, no similar move was made for the new Busch Stadium (if anyone knows otherwise, please post it in the comments).
Home plate mount from Met Stadium (Source: LP, courtesy Clyde Doepner)
It's natural to look back and see if there's anything similar the Twins might do. Someone suggested not too long ago that the Twins track down home plate from Met Stadium and install it in the new ballpark. The romantic in me agrees with this notion, but pure practicality will most certainly prevent it. (Someone also claimed that the old home plate is encased in bronze at the Mall of America. Not true.)
The story of Met Stadium's home plate is a sad and sordid one, with almost no particulars, and I'll give you the ending first: no one knows where it is.
I heard the whole story from Clyde Doepner while looking at his extensive collection of Met Stadium memorabilia at the Mall of America a couple of weeks ago. I was there (as were many fans) for the reunion of the Twins and Dodgers players from the 1965 World Series.
There was Clyde, with his elaborate and very cool display, set up on the edge of the rotunda near where the autographs were being signed. If you missed it, you'll have another chance. Clyde is anticipating that much of his memorabilia will be on display in a Minnesota baseball museum at the new ballpark. In fact, Clyde had already signed a deal with the Twins had a ballpark been built over by the river several years ago.
Clyde Doepner's Met Stadium Memorabilia (Source: LP)
One of his greatest (and largest, and heaviest) pieces is pictured here: it's the mount for home plate from Met Stadium. Clyde said that he arrived at the remains of the Met while demolition was taking placed and simply asked the foreman if he could have it. He was told that it was his if he was willing to dig it up himself and haul it away. So he did, along with one of the bullpen pitching rubbers (not displayed because its base was a chunk of cement weighing somewhere around 50 pounds).
But as you can see, the plate itself is gone. "They were going to give it away after the last game," Clyde explains, "but it was stolen after the second-to-last game. They had to put on a new one for the last game, and they gave that one away in a raffle." Did you win this raffle? If so, we want to hear from you!
So if there is to be a transplant, it'll be from the Metrodome. But a helicopter move seems unlikely, what with the roof and all. A train move, on the other hand, might just be the thing. Despipte what many feel about the Metrodome, there is some history which really should be transplanted. The Twins did, after all, win two World Series there...
But I'm happy to report that at least one idea first mentioned here has already made it onto the Twins' radar! (This 12 second clip is an excerpt from tonight's channel 9 news.)
"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.
Our cantilever friends will be happy to learn that there will be sections with views like this in the new stadium.
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Even today, throw a fastball to that guy at your own risk.
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
New Year's Eve, 2008
This is the Carew gate covered in plastic.
(Click to enlarge.)
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...
Site of the proposed new Atlanta Braves ballpark. Look familiar?
If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.
What are they hanging over there?
The french fry lights were on!
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
It looks like the Target-themed signage has spilled out to the surrounding area (this was taken from the entryway to the B ramp from Third -- the 394 entrance ramp tunnel)
The county of my birth!
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)