If you're like me, you're not very productive these days.
It's baseball pretty much all day on TBS, and despite the wildly varying quality of the announcers (I think all three of the other teams are better than the set we're stuck with) it can be difficult to look away.
But I had two things on my mind today. (If I create a new post today can I feel like I've at least accomplished something?)
(As I write, Torii Hunter has hit a three-run homer for the Angels. It sure looked like a "climb on my back" moment, and he is pumped. Did you know that he hit .299 in the regular season? That's a career high. Do we miss him? Well, yes, but Denard Span hit .311.)
Schedule? Look Closely
On my way out of the Metrodome last Sunday I spied a box of preliminary 2010 pocket schedules and grabbed a handful.
I didn't get a chance to look at one until today, but I saw something sort of unexpected: The gates at Target Field have all been renumbered!
This was kind of implied by the placement of the Hrbek-themed restaurant at what had previously been known as the Oliva gate, but I don't remember hearing any official announcement about the change.
The numbering I've been using all along is what was seen on the model. Basically, they've just reversed the order. The Killebrew gate is now outside center field, and they are numbered counter-clockwise from there. The net is that Hrbek's gate ends up next to his restaurant, and Puckett still gets the main gate area off the plaza.
In addition, each gate is labeled with the area of the park which you are entering. This may seem like a small thing, but first-time visitors (which will include lots of people throughout the life of the park) will find it much easier to know where to enter to get closest to their seats.
The print on this schedule is pretty tiny (uh oh, my eyes are getting old), but you can also make out that the main pro shop on Seventh Street, previously announced as "Twins Town", will actually be called "Majestic Twins Clubhouse Store." That's kind of wordy, and is going to take a little time before it will roll off anybody's tongue. (JohnF points out in the comments that "Majestic" is the brand name of Major League players' uniforms.)
The promenade is labeled simply as "Promenade", alas not yet bearing the hoped-for "Halsey Hall Memorial Promenade" designation. A lot of fans don't realize the gigantic role that Halsey played in selling the Twins to the public when they first arrived. He'd been a broadcaster for the Millers and had covered the Saints as a reporter for the Pioneer Press. A lot of fans, though excited for Major League baseball, were apprehensive about losing their favorite teams (both the Saints and Millers disappeared when the Twins arrived). Halsey smoothed it all over and brought everybody into the fold -- much like the logo seen on the Celebration Sign was designed to do. What he did for the early success of the team here can't be overstated.
(As I write, the first base ump has blown a pretty easy call allowing Howie Kendrick to reach on an errant throw, despite the fact that he was clearly out by more than a step. Instant replay, wherefore art thou?)
Concessions to Mother Nature?
Comparing next year's schedule to this year's reveals some relatively small concessions to the weather, most of which are in April.
April of 2010 will see five fewer home games (9 versus 14 in 2009), and nine fewer night games (3 versus 12 in 2009). The shift is to 12:10 and 3:10 games, of which there will be five (versus 1 in '09).
The games missing from April are found in May and June. This may be due to just how the schedule falls, but it does allow all five games shifted out of the coolest month to be night games in the warmer ones.
At the other end of the season, it's almost the opposite of what you might expect as concessions to the weather. Four games are shifted from balmy August to become night games in September. The average temperature in September (71) is similar to May (70), but those September evenings do tend to cool off a little faster and a little more.
The explanation may come, in part, from something Dave St. Peter has said many times. He expects to get as many complaints about the lack of air conditioning as about the lack of heat.
The scheduling process is pretty mysterious. It's hard to know just how much control the Twins had over these things. But game times are probably the most within their control, and it appears that they've done at least some small things in consideration of fan (and player) comfort.
(As I write, the Angels have completed their shut out of the Red Sox. In terms of former Twins, Papi looked pathetic, and Torii looked pumped.)
A loyal reader found himself with the task of packing up lights which had gone bad out at the ballpark this week. In total, six of these 64-pound monsters had to go back -- in very large boxes.
Four were just bad, and the other two were shattered. Take a look.
(As I finish, Cal Ripken Jr. is demonstrating how to steal a base on the pitcher's first movement. It's, well, a little bit interesting. But it turns out my favorite episode of ST:TNG is on WGN, so I'm moving from one type of distraction to another, for now.)
"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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The Ballpark Wall! (really stunning)
An early concept drawing for the site
Original Concept - With a Retractable Roof
There are no caddies in baseball.
Open house skeptics
The Ceremony (VIP in the crowd)
Looking across the top of the B parking ramp. Notice that signage will block any attempts at seeing the game from up there. Also take note of the glassed in area which is part club and part office space for the Ballpark Authority.
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
Stepping inside the circulation building
These tracks actually travel beneath the admin building and come out on the other side
Reverse stairway view
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.
Because of the scale, it's sometimes hard to realize that there are actual guys down there doing the tough work! Here they are getting ready to pour a footing.
Beams connecting the plaza to the Target Center walkway
Looking up Sixth Street, now barricaded for plaza extension.
The rendering which excited a fan base! (Inset is an enlargement of the pictured neon sculpture.)
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
The glorious Gate 34
Photo by Jeff Ewer
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
One of those funny little sections above the entrance stairs
Lots of self-portraits were taken here after the final out.
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)