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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
Bassett Creek's path through the ballpark site (Source: Minneapolis Public Library)
Ben took this picture of me (carrying my mostly useless camera) and Twins rep Chris Iles down by the admin building
Our conductor in Big Lake
Reverse view, now looking down Sixth toward the park. The Met Stadium flag pole will be right there!
Left to right: Opat, Oliva, Dave St. Peter, Melvin Tennant (Meet Minneapolis), Jerry Bell, Rybak
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of Seventh Street (looking west away from downtown). It's inviting, not imposing, and remarkably dignified.
Some of Minneapolis' finest checking out the construction through a spot where a knothole will be one day.
Love the red flowers -- just like the original concept drawings. That NEVER happens.
This was from January 19, 2007, when it looked like wonderful things might never happen here.
This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.
I love these upper neighborhoods.
Looking south (toward Seventh Street).
I think that's a pig up there on that vane!
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Working on the main concourse right about directly behind the plate.
T is for Twins
The HERC side, viewed from Fifth Street.
The model still shows the Batters Eye Club, which is no longer part of the design.
A new restaurant going in at Fifth Street and Second Avenue
Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)
Here's a closer look.
Click to enlarge.
The entrance from the service level corridor. (You have to pass the Twins clubhouse door to get there.)
Left field bench seating
Air conditioning condensation on the floor.
The Ceremony (VIP in the crowd)
End of the line.
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
Looking northeast from the ballpark site (Source: LP)