Today was a big day with very little fanfare. The final barricades came down from the plaza, the hot dogs were introduced, and the Pro Shop opened. (I've got links to a few other smaller things on the Facebook feed. If you haven't already, be sure to become a fan so you won't miss those.)
I headed down today for a quick tour focusing on the View Level, but spent a lot of time wandering the plaza both before and after my time inside. (Ballparks are very weird buildings, because "inside" isn't really inside at all.)
There's lots to notice out there, and here's just a start.
From behind the wind veil
We finally get a chance to get a close-up look at the wind veil. It is, first, utterly silent. I heard that there was some very minor squeaking when it was very cold, but today, despite a very brisk wind, there was not a single sound.
And second, it's just beautiful -- literally. In concept, I thought it to be a little bit gimmicky, but in it's realization, it's just glorious. I haven't seen it lit up (outside of pictures), but that will certainly add another stunning dimension.
I heard today that it is the largest piece of public art in Minnesota, and that nobody can think of anything which even comes close to its size.
As someone else noted in the comments, it sure was windy out there on the plaza. And I have to say that I can't remember ever being out there when it wasn't. Let's hope there isn't some sort of wind tunnel effect going on, because that could have some freaky effects on offense to right field.
Infield dirt used as accents
Though it was in plain view, I didn't notice until I got up close that it's infield dirt used as accents on the plaza.
I can't wait to get my kids up on that bronze glove for some pictures. Of course, I'm not alone in that, so I probably will have to wait when the opportunity does finally arise.
Peering through Gate 34
Looking out from under Gate 34
The glorious Gate 34
The plaza has some distinct "neighborhoods" just like the rest of the park. Here are some images from the Seventh Street side.
The future history of Minnesota ballparks will go here
Lots of folks working behind those ticket windows
A place to sit (does it look like a pitcher's mound to you?)
The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)
The pennants are up for all of the years, and the overall effect is pretty powerful. It's possible to trace a player's career, and have a sense of context for the franchise. It's a great idea, very nicely executed.
Shh. Don't tell those people working behind the ticket windows about these automated ticketing machines (underneath the plaza stairs)
Next up is something that I seriously hope catches on. Wouldn't it be great to see distances from home plate sprout up on all the buildings on the skyline? (Nobody's hitting this window, eh Jared?)
And, finally for tonight, here's a little video I took of what is now possible in downtown Minneapolis.
Can you believe it? There's a freakin' ballpark at the end of that walkway!
I've got lots more pictures, and I'll try to make time for them tomorrow.
"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.
Up there is where I plan to buy a lot of hot dogs. You can see the vending areas developing rather quickly around the completed portion of the upper concourse.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
Off-topic, but this gigantic, cool, retro sign is just across the street from S&CH. Why? I don't know. Might look nice on top of one of those municipal parking ramps...
Ullger warms up.
Special guests in the trees!
July 7, 1966 (Click to see the entire scorecard with ads)
(Click to enlarge greatly)
Hot dawgs! Getcher hot dawgs!
Above the Carew gate
Our host points to the Puckett Atrium on the diagram.
Ye Olde Tyme Vegetable Cart (and its modern cousin)
This isn't a very good picture, but it is the current view of the inside of a suite.
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
Saints between innings
Lots of people are doing it.
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.
A timeline of design and construction of the ballpark. (Click to enlarge. Photo by Tyler Wycoff)
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
Final pieces arrive
B ramp improvements are finally becoming usable. The doors lead to the plaza beneath the skyway steps.
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
A few weeks ago there were sand volleyball courts here. When the park opens, this will be surface parking. Maybe one day there will be something more interesting built on top of that parking...
The bridge is Seventh Street.
Here's where the plaza will empty out around that skyway emergency exit tower at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.
How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!
The action drew everybody to the top step. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
The beautiful Promenade has become a sea of temporary barricades. (Smoker's Row outside the unnumbered gate)
LRT station has appeared.
I realized I've never shown how the walkway over Seventh Street meets the A ramp
I finally found the corner of TF dedicated to the Senators. What a wonderful sight.
A peek through a tiny gate.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
The seating bowl of Citizens Bank Park overlaid on the Target Field site
8:02 PM It's at peak, affecting mostly the upper deck.
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
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...