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.
Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.
Here is one of the concept drawings referenced (but not shown) in the MPR story (conceptual ballpark at left, LRT tracks switched to the north half of the Fifth Street bridge, which is actually in all of the long-range plans).
The visitor's clubhouse at Target Field. (Photo by Javen Swanson)
TCF Bank Stadium (click to enlarge)
It's a great view of the action, though standing here is somewhat discouraged.
A walkway begins to form (this is as close as you can get right now)
OK, it doesn't really look like that at all...
The brick has been tinted where the circulation ramp meets the admin building.
Handshakes all around (there's gonna be a lot of that over the next few weeks)
Concourse ceilings (from the Ballpark Authority's May update)
7:52 PM It's nearing peak, and covering the stands behind third base.
Here's a quick look into the layout of the Metropolitan Club.
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.
This is where the plaza meets First Avenue
For executive entertaining
This would be a beautiful streetscape if there were ANY people.
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.
Now, THIS is just some guy who appears to be hanging out on the LRT tracks talking to himself.
Citi Field as viewed from Shea.
Not from Moose's tour, but it's an image you need to see. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Louver samples on display.
Still some work to be done on the canopy.
Wind veil framing
This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.
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.