A day later and the excitement of openings is tempered by bad news about closings.
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Joe Nathan's been my favorite active Twin for quite some time, and it's a shame to think that his career is potentially in jeopardy due to injury. I've always thought that what the Twins got in Nathan was much more than a closer. He plays the game hard and smart, and sets a great example for the younger guys on the squad. He knows his job, does his job, and just plain wins.
What's more, he's a great example of how the Twins coaching staff helps players reach their potential. Would any other team have named him as their closer when the Twins did? Not likely. To outward appearances, it looks as if the Twins made him a closer and then brought out the best in him -- which is the opposite of the more traditional pattern. Joe responded to the trust they placed in him by raising his game to another level. If there is a Twins way, that's it. That's Gardy and Rick Anderson right there. It doesn't always work, of course. But Nathan's case has always felt to me like a testament to what's possible when people trust one another.
Upon hearing of the injury and prognosis, my first thought was to his personal situation, but a close second was to the 162+ 9th innings about to commence. I don't have to tell you what's at stake, or how big the question marks are.
And I was so looking forward to hearing "Stand Up and Shout" over that brand new sound system...
But for now, let's return to happier thoughts, walk the plaza and peer through some more gates.
Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.
Peering through Gate 29 -- lots to see
I have to say that I've come to think that those overhead heaters are hilarious -- in a good way. Prepare to feel like a french fry!
Or maybe a better analogy would be baby chicks, since we'll probably be standing around in clumps beneath them, eating our feed.
Gate 29 escalators
Love the lighted, translucent panel
Next up, the Pro Shop.
I'm not one to spend much time in pro shops because the prices make my eyes water. This one was no exception.
But it's really a great space, with plenty of natural light and interesting angles. It might be a challenge to merchandise in there because of its size and shape, and stuff is already pretty crammed in. I was bumping into racks down on the skinny end of the store and I was one of only a half dozen people (including employees) in the place. On gameday, this will be a madhouse.
The staff was very friendly, and was gracious enough to let me take a few pictures.
A very unique space
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond
One of the greatest things about the space may also be something of a problem. On the one hand, there are so many windows that almost everything becomes a window display. There is no mistaking the purpose of this space from the plaza or street.
But hours in the sun will probably fade some of that merchandise pretty quickly. Rotating it all could become somebody's full-time job.
Outside, lots of window space
Seventh Street windows
Come to think of it, that may be UV glass, in which case it's a moot point.
More Veil Talk
Finally, here's a shot I forgot to include yesterday:
Hit gap, win suit!
You can see that the wind veil, though it sticks out a couple of feet from the B ramp facade, does not completely cover that gap between the ramp and the plaza. Through that opening: I-394!
I say that anybody who gets a ball through there and onto the freeway (it's in fair territory, so it'd be a kick-ass homer) should win something fancy. A suit? A car? Indemnity from liability should a windshield get busted? All are good.
There was some discussion today about the parking ramp lighting behind the wind veil. I haven't seen it at night, but it sounds like a potential distraction from the light show they intend to put on.
From my exploration yesterday, it certainly appears possible to put some sort of mask behind it, but I bet there would be issues with air circulation in the ramp, and the panels on the veil might not move as dramatically.
A better solution would be to redesign the lighting in the ramp to minimize bleed-through. Lights mounted on the wall directly behind the veil and pointed in the opposite direction (as opposed to the current overhead style) might just do the trick. Of course, that could take an act of Congress (literally). If it's possible and advisable, I'm sure somebody's all over this. But I have a feeling it's gonna stay this way for a long while.
I'll leave you with the gateway to Target Field. (Love the signpost. Very understated. This was where they originally wanted to put the Met Stadium flag pole, and we're pretty glad that fell through, right Ben?)
"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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
This is a background image extracted from one of the blueprint pages. It's essentially a schematic of the park (Terrace Level). In it you can see the shape of the various seating areas (to a certain extent).
Click to enlarge
Did you know that the out-of-town scoreboard is covered by a black chain 1ink fence?
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
From about two blocks away you can finally get an idea of what it looks like. Just to my left (but out of view) was a valet parking stand where a limo was idling.
Bruce Lambrecht on the roof of the Minikahda building.
Photo by Jared Wieseler
Viewed from up Sixth Street (that's Target Center on the left), you can get an idea of how the connection is currently planned. As it stands now, the plaza will extend to that support pillar, from which a stairway will empty to the sidewalk below. If they get their wish, additional support structures will provide a walkway along Target Center which will gradually (without stairs) meet the sidewalk somewhere up near First Avenue.
A little higher angle shows how the two stations are close to one another but distinctly separate. The oval, glass-enclosed area is the entrance from the Northstar platform below into the ballpark. The LRT platform is comparable to the other stations along that route.
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?
OK, just how many servings per container?
Steps going up at Gate 29/Carew
This is the LRT path looking from the ballpark site (behind me) toward downtown. The line currently ends about two blocks up this street. This bridge over I-394 is also being partially rebuilt as part of the ballpark project.
There must be millions of details needing tending
I'll admit that this makes me nervous. It's pretty easy to step into the path of a train (which is true at various points along the line, but still...)
An arch under construction.
Work beneath the scoreboard
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
This is the main entry to the Pro Shop. The second entry, located just outside the turnstiles, is indicated by the arrow.
The alumni band sounded great.
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
Special guests in the trees!
Two signs visible from beyond the confines of the ballpark.
Viewed from the A ramp.
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.
Here's the entrance from the seating bowl.
That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities
Miller Park: Gymnasium with skylight (Source: RP)
Back of scoreboard; facade in context.
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...