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
To utilized enhanced comment features, please enable cookies in your browser.
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 3046 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
That's Bert back at the Met on Photo Day, September 15, 1974.
Roped off for the LRT crowd
A trailer village has sprung up to the south.
View from the Overlook
Party deck down the right field line
Larry DiVito and staff member (you write the caption)
Frost on the pumpkins, snow on the plaza
What has been actually built so far is only a tiny subset of this vision.
Puckett atrium menu part 2 (Those prices match elsewhere in the ballpark.)
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
This is the main entry to the Pro Shop. The second entry, located just outside the turnstiles, is indicated by the arrow.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
Gate 29 Carew
Two train stations
The east wall of the building looks like it will be the first part completed. These are probably supports for the plaza, and they hug the very edge of the site.
Viewed from up Sixth Street (that's Target Center on the left), you can get an idea of how the connection is currently planned. As it stands now, the plaza will extend to that support pillar, from which a stairway will empty to the sidewalk below. If they get their wish, additional support structures will provide a walkway along Target Center which will gradually (without stairs) meet the sidewalk somewhere up near First Avenue.
Condiments! (complete with faux limestone on the cart -- nice touch)
Polo Grounds facade, obscured
Photo by Jared Wieseler
The plaza as viewed from across the park. The right field overhang section will be built just in from where the plaza supports are.
In the foreground you can see the supports for the plaza as it will meet the corner of North Seventh Street and Third Avenue North.
The view from the Penn Ave entrance to 394 (and all the way into town! Click to enlarge)
The Seventh Street facade
This is the LRT path looking from the ballpark site (behind me) toward downtown. The line currently ends about two blocks up this street. This bridge over I-394 is also being partially rebuilt as part of the ballpark project.
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