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
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Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.
Now we know what the English phone booths were for...
Though there's nothing there now, you have to believe they'll find a way to add a party deck up there at some point.
Um, I think that guy is out.
Discussions in progress on some very brown grass...
This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
This is what it looked like during the first open house in March.
T is for Twins
This concourse, the uppermost, was built on top of the now-hidden old concourse during the 70s renovation.
The big glove will go on that circle. Note the gap between the plaza and the ramp. That's 394 you can see through there.
I took this picture from the Overlook at great personal risk, because everything Thome was hitting was landing out that direction.
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.
In case you don't know, that's Earl Battey.
A distinct misstep, ostensibly to guard against missteps. But methinks I smell a lawyer...
Gate 29 Carew (note the walkway above open to the street where you can shout down at your lost friends to tell them where to meet you)
Main concourse, looking south toward the area behind home plate.
Click to enlarge greatly.
Notice that the wooden-backed club seats are now covered by a green tarp for protection from the elements.
Limestone will cover this pretty soon, but for now you can see where the escalator is.
The process of building the canopy is really amazing to watch.
Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.
You are forgiven for wondering whether architect Tom Oslund is, in fact, a visitor from the future.
Loading dock -- already in use!
A very unique space
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
Twins in HD on the big board
Outside, lots of window space
Condiments! (complete with faux limestone on the cart -- nice touch)
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