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
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.
Louver samples on display.
Outside, lots of window space
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.
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
A very busy place, as viewed from Target Center.
Here you can see the real beauty of the Seventh Street side, and get a solid sense of why the overall design really works. The building's purpose is clearly visible, there are numerous connections from inside to outside, scale is nicely mitigated, the stone is attractively used, materials are pleasantly mixed and truly complementary. It's just a winner in so many ways.
A trailer village has sprung up to the south.
This is during halftime.
Looking the other direction, again from Ford Centre, you can see what's going on over the tracks. This will be a public promenade.
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
For $19.95 you can load up your plate (one trip only)
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Work in progress.
Here's the barricade in context at the end of the walkway
Two signs visible from beyond the confines of the ballpark.
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Inspecting the delivery
The reverse angle shows that the signage will only partially obscure views from the top of the ramp. The wall is pretty high up there, so you'll need something to stand on, but it appears that this is one of the so-called "knotholes".
The proposed wooden screen covering the circulation ramp on Fifth Street (at left is the equivalent screen on Seventh Street).
The Northstar station at night
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
A truck is leaving the HERC plant. Here you can see the proximity to the promenade. For the record, the truck drove right by me and I smelled nothing...
That's Bert back at the Met on Photo Day, September 15, 1974.
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