Thursday afternoon in April and there's a game in progress as I write. It's 47 degrees, so again we're talking about a chilly game if it were outside, but the sun is pretty much irresistible. As long as the wind is mild, sitting in the sun would probably be pretty pleasant on a day like today.
Come to think of it, wind issues at Target Field are something of an unknown right now. At some point long ago I talked to Belinda Jensen about whether the stadium was properly situated to shield from the prevailing winds. She said that it was, though not perfectly.
But as you probably know, prevailing winds are more climatological -- large scale -- things. On any given day, the wind could be coming from any direction. The bigger question is what it will do when it hits the ballpark.
Wind currents are notoriously difficult to predict, as they found out in Boston when they installed that glassed-in area behind home plate (now gone). It changed the movement of batted balls, though I can't remember exactly what the effect was (and can't find the article right now to check).
Target Field will likely be most vulnerable to wind from the southeast (coming in across the plaza). But even there it will be affected in an unpredictable fashion by the shape of the Metropolitan Club. But the key word here is unpredictable. Unlike sun studies, wind studies are a little less exact, and I'm not sure what type of wind studies have been done during the design of the new ballpark.
In case you missed it, my mention of disdain for the Metrodome's revolving doors brought forth this comment from JohnK, one of the gatekeepers at the Dome:
The revolving doors help stabilize the air pressure so the roof stays up. If we just opened all doors at once that would allow everyone to get out a heck of a lot faster (and in a more jet engine-simulator style which is about the only redeeming factor of the facility) but then you can expect that the next day's game will be postponed due to teflon deflation. There is a guy who gets paid to sit in the bowels of the dome monitoring air pressure. That's his only job. When you see that a door is open at the next game you all attend, you can know that the instruction came from him, and the ushers are just doing what he says. The thing is, when one door opens on one side, a door immediately across from it also needs to open to keep a balance, so it's a big deal.
On Tuesday we actually opened four of the push doors at Gate H. So there.
I've always wondered just how many doors could be opened and for how long before the Dome would start to deflate. We've all been through those wind tunnel exits, and we know that a lot of air gets out when even one door is opened (see the video below). But the volume of air inside the Dome is quite large. Would it really start to deflate significantly if all of the doors were opened for the 15 minutes it would take to clear the place after a sold out game? Maybe so.
The balancing act is especially curious. I wonder what would happen if you opened a bunch of doors on just one side of the place. Could that cause the Dome to deflate unevenly (with potentially unfortunate consequences to the integrity of the roof)? Balloons and tires don't deflate unevenly when popped (or maybe they do in slow motion, here's a video of a water balloon popping which doesn't exactly answer that question, but it's cool anyway). I'm more curious having heard John's story.
And truth be told, I've always assumed that there was a team of lawyers involved somewhere in the decision on which doors to open. There have to be some liability issues associated with expelling your patrons from your place of business using highly compressed air.
Adding to the list of things I won't miss about the Dome:
#3 - Popping my ears
#4 - Beach balls (hopefully)
We're getting near the tipping point when more interesting stuff will be happening inside Target Field than outside. I'm feeling like the days of getting interesting shots from the skyway and sidewalks are numbered (and not because of overzealous security guards).
Nevertheless, here's another quick batch of pictures from the other day.
Nine spots for hops bats.
You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.
The game just ended, and it's our first shutout of the year. Perkins pitched a great game, gave up a single run in the first, and gets the loss. It's another nail in the coffin of win-loss record as a means of evaluating pitchers. (Really, why do we even notice this stat anymore?)
So the first series is a split, and only 77 games remain at the Dome. Now on to Chicago for a taste of outdoor April baseball.
"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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
Purple flowers above Second Avenue
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
A path for workers -- don't touch the plaza! -- in front of three giant Chia pets
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)
The Ballpark Authority at work (Source: RP)
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Thome steps in.
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
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.
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
Work going on under the steel.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)
This design has a rather generic quality to it, but they appear to have considered the B garage. Though it isn't part of the model, they've clearly left room for it.
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...