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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
On this day, George was handling fruits and veggies right inside gate 34.
The seating bowl of Citizens Bank Park overlaid on the Target Field site
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
Seventh Street circulation
The stunning curtains, which skillfully evoke the architecture, keep the atrium from getting too hot in the late afternoon sun, simultaneously hiding the HERC.
Flagpole historian Ben McEvers at far right (click for the full photo set, graciously loaned to this site by Pat Backen)
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
Before the team came out to warm up, Kirby Puckett, Jr. was playing Frisbee out in center.
Click to enlarge. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
Jose Alvalade XXI Stadium in Lisbon, Portugal has towers much like I'm imagining to hold up our canopy while also making a bold statement on the horizon
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
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.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
There's the opening through which the groundskeeping equipment will emerge (and disappear).
A close-up of the rooftop party deck.
Here's another look at the Oliva gate.
Looking back toward the doorway into the club
"I've never seen them do that before," said a Metropolitan Club waiter as I snapped this picture.
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
The plate marker is just to the left.
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
Here's a curious little room at the end of the circulation ramp. What could they be selling there?
Section 101, Row 34
A scene repeated about a BILLION times each game
Photo by Jeff Ewer
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...
All that's left is to add wood! (Seventh Street circulation ramp.)
Upper deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.
Looking up Seventh Street (click to see what it looked like from the same spot in 1950)
At the corner of the Pro Shop.
Look at all those flag poles! But wouldn't the one from Met Stadium look great just inside the gates in the middle of that entrance plaza?