It's a little chilly -- sort of fall-ish -- here in my studio, and my feet are cold, so I just slipped on a pair of white sweat socks.
And I'm pretty sure that, with that sentence, you've now heard the last that you're going to hear this season about white sox. Hallelujah!
Somewhere, I'm sure that Calvin Griffith is proud.
It's a little surprising that I had to drive down to the ballpark yesterday to get a look at this statue. The unveiling must have gotten lost somewhere in the big celebration last weekend. Once the minor controversy over its placement passed, I never heard another word about it in the media.
Actually, this is easily the most successful of the four statues we've seen so far (Carl and Eloise Pohlad are yet to come this year, with Hrbek and Oliva slated for next season).
At first, Calvin appears to be admiring the ballpark history board, clutching a baseball, with a sort of knowing look on his face. Only a moment later do you realize that he may actually be watching a Rod Carew AB from a distance, and his expression is one of deep appreciation for what he sees.
You see, everybody knows that Calvin Griffith wasn't always the greatest human. There are things he said and did which are essentially unforgivable. But everybody also knows that he was maybe the last of the pure baseball men, and that he was for the Senators/Twins a combination of CEO, GM, PR guy, marketer, scout, lobbyist, you name it.
He was a complicated guy, and the statue doesn't shy away from that. It doesn't try to deify this very human figure. (In fact, you're probably taller than this statue -- I actually was.)
The bases for the player statues have been recently upgraded.
But the size of his personality, and his love of the game and the Twins, is conveyed beautifully. And the simple placement lends a realism and matter-of-factness which I found to be quite powerful. Unlike the player statues, which are surrounded by a raised mock playing surface (recently upgraded from actual infield dirt), Calvin will stand among the crowds, looking like he's going to turn around any minute and head in to his seat, just a schmoe like us who loved the game. People I know who knew him say that's how he was.
My old friend Curtiss, now deceased, told me (many times) the story of the day he went over to Met Stadium with his three-ring binders filled with the meticulous score sheets he'd kept for every single Twins game. He wanted to show them to Calvin, and see if there was some way they might help the team.
Calvin not only stopped what he was doing, he spent the afternoon looking over Curt's books, talking about the various games (Calvin actually kept score personally for each game), commenting repeatedly, "You've got a lot of things here that even we don't have."
In the end, the books went home with Curt. But that day ended with a firm handshake, and a long-lasting baseball friendship made.
I did not have an emotional reaction to any of the other statues -- not even Killebrew. This one was very different. This one transported me instantly, and filled in a piece which is essential for understanding the franchise.
Kudos to the Twins for not skipping over that complicated chapter, and to Bill Mack for truly capturing this character.
Earlier tonight, with the game playing on the radio, the Gameday feed on the computer screen, and the new Target Field book being perused by all, my wife said those words that every baseball-loving husband longs to hear as the playoffs approach: "You better start saving your pennies."
You see, she knows that if there are October baseball games being played in the 612 area code, I really want to be there. And she knows that the baseball budget in our house always comes with a playoff asterisk.
Now, I didn't bother getting into the whole lottery process and the reality that we'll probably be watching it all on TV, but just having the subject raised is always a genuinely beautiful thing.
This page was last modified on September 17, 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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Click to enlarge.
The flowers don't have quite the fullness depicted in the original sketches (where they were positively overflowing), but they are quite lovely -- a great, subtle touch. And that's probably a very challenging place to grow anything.
This terrible picture shows the netting in place through a knothole on Fifth
Rally Hanky (2002 ALCS)
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
Polo Grounds from the south
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
Thanks for all the hard work out there, Cold Safety-Line Dudes. (I'm glad that my job does not require safety lines...)
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Click to see the whole page from this 1971 program.
This will be a great neighborhood. Note that the covering is being built for the emergency access. Also, note the streamers above, which appear to be monitoring air flow.
Just up the foul line, it looks like the base of the wall in foul territory on the right side.
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
Looking back toward First Avenue
The view from our Loge Box
Steel going up fast.
The old flour Gold Medal Flour Mill, located next to the new Guthrie theater (Source: RP)
What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.
This view looks through the opening in the fence where the crosswalk will be.
Banners on the parking ramp are a great touch. They help manage scale and turn a lemon into lemonade. On my way there today I passed the WCCO building and remembered how the Twins schedule used to be painted in giant form on the side of that building (which is no longer visible). Wouldn't that be a great thing to resurrect on the side of that ramp? A giant Twins schedule. I always thought that was cool.
At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)
(Click to enlarge)
All three seating mounds
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...
This was from January 19, 2007, when it looked like wonderful things might never happen here.
Team pennant. (Click to enlarge.)
Main concourse, looking toward the admin building.
Looking up Seventh Street (click to see what it looked like from the same spot in 1950)
A slightly different elevation drawing, again viewed from Fifth Street, with some labels. (Click to enlarge.)
Denard Span ready, in a swoop of sunlight.
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.