Sunny Summer Dream
July 5, 2009 11:55 PM
Now for a quick reminder of why we're all here:
Can you name that field? (Braemer Park, Edina)
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.
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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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
The glorious Gate 34
The rough outlines of our urban trench. (North is up.)
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Here are some less intrusive things things you can actually get at the ballpark.
Freight trains run in very close proximity (Jerry Bell was standing at my left elbow when I took this picture)
The Overlook, as seen by outfielders
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)
(Click to enlarge)
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
From the best seat in the house (Section 8, Row A), the right field corner is blocked. (No one may care. Fine with me. People should know.)
Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be
I think AP is in there somewhere...
Gate 34 Puckett
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
Looking across the top of the batter's eye
Photo by Jeff Ewer
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
Signage for the concession stand which is available from the plaza (plaques are up on the fencing)
Left to right: Opat, Oliva, Dave St. Peter, Melvin Tennant (Meet Minneapolis), Jerry Bell, Rybak
OK, it doesn't really look like that at all...
A last look on the way out.
The service entrance area in left-center, now with bench seating
(Click to enlarge.)
A distinct misstep, ostensibly to guard against missteps. But methinks I smell a lawyer...
Plaza seating installation
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures