A friend invited me to watch his son play, and the night was so spectacular that I just couldn't resist. I took Noah, and we headed out for an adventure in outdoor baseball.
As my friend tells the story, his son was excited to play for his high school team this year. But he ended up not so much playing as mostly just watching because his manager, who also coached the football team, only played the guys who were in both sports. (He has since been removed from his baseball position.)
But is that just a sour grapes explanation from a kid who has less talent than the other guys in the dugout? Not so much. I've seen (and caught) his breaking ball. It has the ability to baffle hitters of the same age. He's on the slight side, with a Joe Nathan type build. And when he pitches, just like Nathan, he puts up zeroes.
So he quit his high school team in frustration and found a different league, also made up of high school kids. They aren't the cast-offs, but the kids who love the game so much that they just want to play. The competition is fierce, and the level of play is terrific. There is a joy in the play that transcends some of the misplays. (I'm sure many of you are familiar with these types of leagues.)
Our team led going into the sixth, but lost the lead and gave up a walk-off run on an error in the bottom of the inning (it was one of those games which ended after six innings because they'd used up their allotted time on the diamond and two other teams were standing by waiting to begin).
The crowd was small but enthusiastic. We had lots of room to stretch out. We had popcorn ($1.00), Doritos ($free from somebody's mom), taffy ($0.50), soda ($1.00), and a few other snacks that I can't recall from a well-stocked concession stand. I went with a twenty and four singles in my pocket, and still had $21 when the night was over.
Most of all, we sat under a sheer blue sky and watched the game being played in front of a truly pastoral green screen of trees. As the shadows started slipping onto the field, we placed bets on how much longer it would be before the sun finally disappeared behind us.
As we walked away at the end of the game, the sun had still not quite set, but the lights were now on, and a round of night games was about to begin.
It was a sunny, summer dream of baseball.
Let's face it: Baseball in the old railyard won't be quite as pure. There's a lot of money at stake, and most people who want to go down there to see a game will need to scrape their pockets for all of the twenties and singles they can come up with.
But here's hoping that the folks who will operate that new beauty of a ballfield downtown can remember why we fans come. We give up our money because of that sunny, summer dream of baseball. And I'd be willing to bet that the closer The Show gets to that memory, the more money we'll scrape out of our pockets and happily leave behind.
"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.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Gate 29 Carew
This is the view from where the plaza will connect to the walkway on the west side of Target Center. This presumably aids traffic flow back to the A ramp, and perhaps to the skyway connection (though the doors to the skyway right there are typically exit only).
This is the area above the pro shop, with some new support structure
Dome, what have you taken from us?
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
What a great sight!
Is it possible to take a bad picture of this building?
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
In March, we were still only imagining baseball through those windows.
The view from section 210
Click to enlarge.
Our host points to the Puckett Atrium on the diagram.
The back row of seats in straight-away center. Note that, beyond those seats, you can see the planters (for flowers) on the front of the Left Field Bleachers.(Batters Eye)
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
And another angle looking at the overhang area of the right field pavilion. This looks to me like a great area to watch a game.
Thome steps in.
If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.
You can't get there from here.
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Earl Santee, principle architect for HOK Sport, presents some concepts while Mike Opat listens
The overhang as seen through the unnumbered gate
A Hrbek tribute wall marks the end of the Carew side of the 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.