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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).
Nine spots for hops bats.
Left field bench seating
Installation in action (Home Plate Box)
(Click to enlarge.)
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
Here's the Northstar platform.
I set up my late inning "office" at the drink rail behind section 206
Note the gigantic -- and very permanent -- M's on the gates at the base of these stairs.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
Another B ramp glimpse (don't loiter here!)
Memorabilia on display in the Metropolitan Club
You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
Chef stand and menu in the Carew atrium
The transit corner entrance (Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune)
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
The model still shows the Batters Eye Club, which is no longer part of the design.
Just up the foul line, it looks like the base of the wall in foul territory on the right side.
Crosswalk taking shape.
The lone light standard and one of those "entry beacons."
Polo Grounds facade, obscured
Center field seating
Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?
A slightly different elevation drawing, again viewed from Fifth Street, with some labels. (Click to enlarge.)
The process of building the canopy is really amazing to watch.
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
Guthrie Theater (original design colors)
5:45 PM, section 327, row 9, standing: sunshine.
I saw it at another park...
Flowers and Hall-of-Fame plaques. Very nice.
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.
The rules were clearly posted next to this new entry point on the Seventh Street side. I have no problem with the rules!