Key Ballpark Ingredient: Swagger
May 20, 2009 3:13 AM
Over the weekend, it became completely obvious just what had been missing from New Yankee Stadium up to this point: swagger.
The Twins unwittingly provided a crucial piece of the $1.5 Billion puzzle by serving up three consecutive walk-off victories to the Bombers. And while it's no guarantee that the new park will win the same emotional space as the old, a weekend like this can't hurt.
The weaknesses of our team notwithstanding, I found NYS somewhat hard to watch. It looked flat, cold, and somewhat grotesque. It felt like an impostor or some weird alternate universe YS (must resist...urge to mention...new Star Trek movie...oh, damn) -- especially weird in those aerial shots which included the old stadium and its brown grass.
I'm not a wind engineer, but I noticed something interesting: outside OYS's third base line is a block-long area which is not built up (it has now become a tennis court). Outside NYS's third base line is a collection of apartment buildings at roughly the same height as the upper deck of the stadium. In fact, they come right up to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. So, as an armchair windologist, I am hereby concluding that this is why there have been so many home runs hit to right. Air which dropped low to the ground before hitting the outside of OYS now hovers near the top of NYS.
Simple solution: tear down those buildings! What? People live there? Are they rich? No? OK, then, what are we waiting for?
One thing that became clear is that a ballpark is not its facade. I wrote before about the NYS facade and its passing similarity to the original, but the aerial shots make it quite clear that whatever "beauty" may be found there is only a very thin skin. This is a very big building, and the facade is just proverbial lipstick.
Maybe it was the shots of the crowd that made me so sick. Not only are the seats empty, but they are wide and cushy, like first-class airplane seats. I bet they even rock, recline and have massaging fingers! Makes me want to puke.
And every time I see that gigantic moat which separates the best from the rest, it reminds me of spring training or independent league parks -- only with a gigantic stadium built surrounding it. It's like the whole thing was built just for the fans sitting in that area, and all the other seats are just incidental.
And just how big a blunder was it to provide a restaurant/club for those people in the TV seats? Now, even if the seats have been sold, people might not sit in them. They'll be inside sipping champagne and not watching the game on a 100-inch plasma TV.
I'm telling you, that type of conspicuous wealth is what leads to revolutions. Is baseball now a boutique sport? With each new ballpark being built, the answer seems more and more to be yes.
Is this one of the critical vulnerabilities of Target Field? Stay tuned.
Can anybody tell me if these Sunday WFTC broadcasts are in high-def or not? They are widescreen, and the display says WFTC-HD 720P (the max resolution on my TV). But compared to the Saturday afternoon games on Fox (which also say 720P), they look like crap:
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
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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.
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
Comerica Park main entrance: Tigers, bats, and much (maybe too much) more (Source: LP)
OK, it doesn't really look like that at all...
Center field seating
Lots of self-portraits were taken here after the final out.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
Storage tracks in the foreground.
The Pantheon (with inset of the magic eye)
Carew atrium menu part 2
This view is from the roof of a warehouse which stood where the A ramp is today. The HERC is now located where the tracks turned north (toward the top).
Bench seating just off the plaza
Of the players up there, only Bert does not have a gate with his number (28) on it at Target Field. You know, there is that door underneath the skywalk on Seventh Street between gates 14 and 29...
At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
This is from inside the B ramp, where an entrance to the plaza will one day be
Here's the entrance from the seating bowl.
The past is the future. Seriously.
Those two empty seats in the front row are where we started the game.
Building the canopy is a spectacular sight.
Photo by Jeff Ewer (Click to enlarge.)
If you arrive by bus, your first glimpse of the park will be the scoreboard's profile. (Viewed from the bus station in the B ramp.)
The view from our seats. I took this picture while standing, and the railing would prove mildly problematic when I sat down -- but not as much as my scorecard, which I always seemed to be holding right in Vic's view of the plate (she told me so).
Flagpole historian Ben McEvers at far right (click for the full photo set, graciously loaned to this site by Pat Backen)
Gate 29 escalators
A closer look at the louvers
This is very early in the day.
Nuts on Clark (a couple blocks north of Wrigley Field)
A sampling of seats at Fenway Park
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