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.
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This page was last modified on January 16, 2010.
"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 3004 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)
The plaza as seen from the B ramp.
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
Here's the entrance from the seating bowl. It's down the outer moat, just beyond the last of the Dugout Box sections.
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
From the Downtown Council's 2025 Plan, a Metrodome "Revelopment" and a strong indication of where they think a new Vikings stadium should go.
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
(Click to enlarge)
An early concept for St. Paul.
OK, people are definitely riding their bikes to games! (Photo by Tim Davis, courtesy MBA)
A desolate Marquette Ave
Click to enlarge.
I think AP is in there somewhere...
Plaza extension reaches toward First Avenue
The saddest event
Limestone still dominates the Seventh Street walkway from a pedestrian point of view. But brick take over as you move upward -- a concession to cost, no doubt.
Plaza overview from the A ramp
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
Our cantilever friends will be happy to learn that there will be sections with views like this in the new stadium.
B ramp glimpse
For those who have never seen it up close, that's what it looks like when steam comes out of the HERC plant.
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
This would be easy to miss, but I found it on a cart located directly behind the Batter's Eye seating on the upper concourse in center field.
Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.
Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.