Rain, Homers, Seats, Dogs
April 23, 2009 1:14 AM
So much to talk about, so little time. Let's start with the obvious: Before dropping a double-header to the Red Sox today, there had to be a rainout yesterday. Kevin in AZ nailed it:
Twins rained out tonight in Boston. What the hell were they thinking when they built Fenway without a roof. I'll bet there are riots down Boylston and all throughout the Kenmore about Fenway being open air. How could the Red Sox organization thumb their noses at all of the other New Englanders coming in from Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island. Goodness knows there's nothing else to do in Boston except watch baseball so what on earth are all of those people supposed to do with their time tonight?????
There will be much gnashing of teeth in the Twin Towns next year at this time when the first game is postponed (which, I'm told, would not have happened yet if they'd been playing outside this year).
This may seem a little obvious, but there are 15 MLB teams either in warm parts of the country or with roofs. Why not simply weight the schedule a little bit toward these cities in the most vulnerable months? I know that we wouldn't want the Twins on the road for all of April or September, but why not an extra Texas, California, or Tampa Bay series in each of those months?
There's much to love about the opening of New Yankee Stadium -- if you're into Shadenfreude, that is (and I'm not talking about the blow-out losses).
Balls are jumping out at a rate that, while it's admittedly a small sample size, certainly catches one's attention. Could it be that there were no wind studies done in advance on that ballpark? Here's one that certainly raises eyebrows.
I'm checking to see if anything has been done on Target Field. I'll let you know.
But that isn't the only interesting thing. Seems that the economy has put a bit of a freeze on some ticket sales. Here's an interesting article (with photo) that talks about and illustrates the "empty premium seats" problem.
I don't want to say "I told you so", but I did write about this very subject well over a year ago -- long before my IRA dropped by 45%. It's one very serious potential downside for creating such a rigid distinction between the various tiers of seating.
Just so I'm clear: This is not a lament about ticket prices. Nor is it a lament about the increased difficulty of moving up to better seats later in the game. I do share these objections, but this is strictly about flexibility for the proprietors.
By creating a large and completely sequestered "premium" seating area, you risk seriously impacting your opportunities to change your plan mid-course. A year ago, no one in New York was thinking it might be hard to sell the most expensive seats (though they might have been if they'd noticed that Washington opened a ballpark and immediately experienced similar problems -- though for a different reason). Thus, no one was imagining that you might have the embarrassment of large swaths of empty seats on people's television screens.
But it was entirely predictable. With such a clearly visible line of demarcation between the uber-expensive seats and the only obnoxously-expensive seats, even the best of times would probably yield some empty seats in the best part of the ballpark. In fact, those seats, the "worst of the best", are destined to be the most likely to be empty -- even more than the ultra-cheap and obstructed-view bleacher seats.
Today, we know it's a real problem. Thankfully for the Twins, they have a year to devise a back-up plan (something the Yankees and Mets should have done). They're clever folks, and I have no doubt they'll be ready. But there's something fitting about seeing this problem raise its ugly head in the new baseball Taj Mahal.
I'm sharing this photo with you because this was perhaps the worst hot dog I've ever eaten (April 14, Toronto game). It was free (with the purchase of a seat in the family zone), but that does not redeem it. As you can see, though I didn't measure it before eating it, the hot dog itself is just over half the size of the bun (that's why I took the photo -- at which point I did not yet know just how undelectable it would be).
The bun was dry. The meat was cool (not quite cold, definitely not hot). The whole thing just barely fit for an animal.
It led to a somewhat awkward conversation between me, my friend and his son to determine whose was smallest.
"Is yours smaller than mine? Really?"
"No way. I think mine's the smallest."
"Looks like they're all pretty small."
* Sigh *
And that terrible dog was served by a volunteer who was just learning the cash register.
So let's use this as a springboard for the latest round of Things I Won't Miss About the Metrodome (TIWMATM):
#5 - Centerplate (the food service company)
#6 - Volunteer concession staff (well-meaning, but always a bottleneck)
#7 - Troughs (nothing quite like getting someone else's piss on your knees)
I'm trying to get to 81. I think that's possible.
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This page was last modified on January 16, 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
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Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This is also the promenade, where the first indications of the final texture of the walkway can be seen. This layer of concrete is going on top of gravel (as has been done over on the plaza).
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.
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh
This is some of the signage in place for concession stands.
A seating bowl comes into focus. Note that the netting has been installed on the foul pole. (Field Box)
The first completed mural
Staircase entrance. You cannot miss them.
Here we are waiting for the first train to arrive at the station (Nov 14).
Final Metrodome baseball sight
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
Double plays will be turned here.
A walkway begins to form (this is as close as you can get right now)
Polo Grounds from the south
A desolate Marquette Ave
Looking from the doorway to the south, across Seventh Street
You are forgiven for wondering whether architect Tom Oslund is, in fact, a visitor from the future.
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.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
An early concept for the pedestrial bridge. (Source: Ballpark Authority, RP)
B ramp at left, ballpark at right (and visible far away through the tiny crack)
The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)
This looks up Fifth Street (LRT train visible in the distance). This bridge is also being partially rebuilt (see next photo).
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
Dome, what have you taken from us?
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
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.)
Met Stadium seat colors (click for the complete image)
This is the revised version of the center field pavilion (without the restaurant). It looks like there are no seats, just some ledges for people to sit on. It reminds me of the seating on the "bridge" which sticks out of the new Guthrie Theater. Anything which lands in the trees will presumably be a home run, so the "411" sign is apparently just for fun.
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).
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