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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Eleven flag poles
More flowers, more pennants.
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.
Steel going up fast.
Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens
The Pro Shop.
Today's match-up (click to enlarge)
Print press box
First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right
The view from the upper concourse.
Dramatic night-time lighting.
We took refuge for a time in the Twins Pub where you can drink a beer (or just hang out) and listen to some ballpark tunes. The organ is decorated with a TC (of course) and what looked like drawings which Sue has received from kids.
The view from section 210
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
Click to see the full-size image.
Balcony of the Town Ball Tavern.
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...
Click to enlarge.
The county of my birth!
Walkway construction is progressing
The tracks on the right will be moved to the newly-cleared area on the left. The edge of the ballpark will be about where the rocks and dirt meet.
Dave St. Peter introducing the first physical models of the ballpark in June 2007
Notice the temporary railing extensions
This is NOT Twins Territory anymore
Who Owns What (Click for larger version. Source: Ballpark Authority)
The angle on the main scoreboard from the Batter's Eye is surprisingly good -- acceptable, at least.
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)