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August 23, 2009 2:53 AM

The only real way to undo a Great Wrong is with a Great Right.

That is exactly what's going on right now at the University of Minnesota. The Great Wrong of sequestering football off campus in a hermetically-sealed, shared concrete tub for more than a generation is being met with a Great Right in the form of TCF Bank Stadium, an incredibly beautiful place, and a very welcome sight for very sore football eyes.


It's hard to believe what I'm about to say, but this place might actually be able to turn me back into a Gopher football fan. I may be on the verge of buying a maroon and gold sweatshirt.


Having followed its development only from a distance (I'm rather occupied with watching another facility, as you know), I hadn't spent much time preparing for what I might see today. But it's safe to say that I am officially blown away. It's hard to know where to begin.


So I'll begin where Gopher games can now begin for a lot of folks: tailgating. The day was beautiful, the atmosphere was joy-filled, the colors covered everything. There are lots of lots. Who could possibly resist this?


Parking was leisurely, and we didn't encounter any traffic to speak of as we approached. That will be different on game day, but the layout of premium parking seemed to be conducive to smooth flow. It's plentiful and very well thought out (though some of the access roads we used to get to the Northstar lot are still unpaved).


Approaching and entering from the north, the stadium really feels like Memorial Stadium's grandchild. There's enough similarity to bring a sense of recognition, but enough difference to see that this is something wonderfully new.


Large staircases, a staple of recent Populous (nee HOK) projects, are all over the place.

Today's scrimmage was merely a chance to get some fans in and test a few systems. There was nowhere near a full house. A crowd of 30,000 was expected, but I'd estimate it at far less than that. The capacity is about 50,000, and it never looked more than about a third full. Still, the extremely spacious concourses were buzzing.


This is very early in the day.


This is during halftime.

Thanks to my two hosts, Red (who provided premium seats at the 50-yard line) and Kirk (who provided a 4-person Loge Box), we got to see portions of the scrimmage from two distinctly different vantage points. Which you prefer is pretty much a matter of taste (and budget). And as we walked around, it was clear that there are views to match any preference -- and many different budgets.


The view from our Loge Box


Here's an idea of what these Loge Boxes are all about. That guy is a waiter with no fans to serve. They seemed to have one server for about every four boxes.


That's Noah and my brother, Chris, checking out the Loge Box amenities

The Loge (pronounced "lodge" by the staff) Box has access to an indoor area and has the benefit of shade and cover. It's kind of like sitting at the top of the stands with a big warming area right behind you.


You can also order food from the menu and have it delivered right to the box, running a tab throughout the game. And during halftime, or if you just want to have a little conversation, you can also retreat to the DQ Club, which is spacious and luxurious.



Hey! That limestone looks familiar!



Our other seats, in section 210, were in the premium seating area on the opposite side. The view is equally great, feeling more intimate with the action than the Loge Boxes. You also have the benefit of sunshine, which will be a very good thing as the season progresses. The seats are comfortable, with plenty of leg room, and superb sight lines.


The view from section 210


Noah is checking out the ample leg room and truly exemplary sight lines.


Auxiliary scoreboard (note to TF principles: this is a very good idea)

There were no tours available, so we were limited to the public areas, but that was still a lot to see. We made our way all the way around the main concourse level, and when it was time to leave, we even made it as far as you can go around the very upper walkway.


I have a lot more pictures to show you, so we'll continue this tomorrow night (when I will select one, maybe two, photos of a cheerleading squad which looked totally ready for gameday, unlike the team, which appears to still be shaking off the summer rust).


The alumni band sounded great.

In the fall of 1981, as the Gophers began their last season in Memorial Stadium, I was a freshman at the U, living as a border at the Deke house (next to Newman Center, right at University and 17th Ave SE). I'll never forget the parade down University Avenue to the stadium, or the unbelievable din which filled the Field House, or the way in which the whole pulse of the campus became Homecoming-centric during that week.

Homecoming was never the same after the team left campus. The pulse didn't change that much, except for those directly involved in preparing for the festivities. It didn't draw in everyone like it had, and never again had that infectious quality which I witnessed in my first fall on campus.

I remember at the time being somewhat indifferent to the Gophers' move (while I was hopeful, but a little apprehensive, for the Twins). Like many (though definitely not all) Gopher fans, I was more or less accepting of what the decision-makers were telling us: that the energy would not change, that the Dome was just as close to the campus as Memorial Stadium, that indoor football would be a boon to the University.

It didn't take 28 years to figure it out, but now we can say it clearly and without reservation: They were wrong. Really, truly, deeply wrong.

(In their defense, briefly, the financial forces were so strong that it may have been impossible to resist. But dammit, they should have. I think that even they knew they were selling their souls, but had to put as good a face on it as possible.)


Yes, son, Memorial Stadium used to be right there, just beyond those gates.

Even though today's event was a meaningless scrimmage, as the team first took the field, and the band once again filled a horseshoe-shaped bowl on the campus with the beloved Rouser, and we all sang with gusto and spelled out M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A in our loudest maroon & gold voices, it felt to me like there hadn't been a Gopher football game in 28 years.

Order has now been restored.




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simply beautiful rick! great write up and awesome pics. i was also there yesteryda. what a perfect day. so true what you said in regards to "righting a wrong". man, i wish the metrodome had never been built for soooo many reasons.

saddle up and ride rick, saddle up and ride. the gopher band-wagon is leaving the station! go get that minnesota sweatshirt and wear it around minneapolis proudly.

to any wisconsin badger or ioweee hogeye fans who are also part of this any smack about the gophers and i promise that i will find where you sleep at night! ;-)

p.s. six is greater than zero! ;-)

ski-u-mah! go gophers!

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 03:44 AM by Betaband Highlight this comment 1

rick - perhaps you were being facetious (i couldn't tell), but fyi anyways. that was actually the alumni band today and not the actual marching band. so yes, i would agree there was probably some rust on those "old" bodies! ;-)

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 04:00 AM by Betaband Highlight this comment 2

I didn't realize that. I'll make a change. Thanks for the heads up!

(Wait. The football players were real, right?)

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 04:03 AM by Rick 3

Now I really have to get there on opening day, if only to hear that band...

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 04:11 AM by Rick 4

Rick, looking at the times of your posts, when do you sleep! T-minus one day till we start filling in the grassy knoll.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:17 AM by firedog Highlight this comment 5

Ballpark Authority has their August update in pictures available.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:22 AM by Fred Highlight this comment 6

superb pictures Rick. as always a great job.
the concourse picture still looked a little crowded, but it's gotta be better than the Dome (i'll rephrase that, ANYTHING is better than the Dome).
I certainly hope the September 12 game is nationally televised. I know it's a night game. We have to change some minds about Twin Cities sports venues, and something OTHER than the Dome.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:46 AM by luke Highlight this comment 7

i hope i get a chance to go here soon!

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:47 AM by The Sooj Highlight this comment 8

Just for the curious, a small (hopefully) but real picture of what the ducats look like for that first game. Unfortunately, I ripped the image off of eBay, they aren't mine :(.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:52 AM by luke Highlight this comment 9

crap, I couldn't get it to work. arrgh.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 09:53 AM by luke Highlight this comment 10

Looking back at Rick's Plaza Trees update, there's a few pictures of the TF looking up 6th street from Hennepin. This is a great view into the third base side and will be awesome to see fans in ths stands this way, but has anyone considered how the canopy lights will impact drivers in the area?

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:07 AM by Jesse Highlight this comment 11

according to today's Pioneer Press (click my name) 15,103 were at the scrimmage yesterday.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:13 AM by luke Highlight this comment 12

It will be nice to have a distraction at the games (the new facility) from the caliber of play on the field. I have to imagine being a Gopher football fan is the most unrewarding passion in all of athletic sport.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:13 AM by The Truth Hurts Highlight this comment 13


I had to fix a formatting thing in another comment so I fixed your link at the same time. This is exactly what my tickets and parking pass looked like yesterday.

And how about my ability to estimate the size of a crowd? Pat, pat, pat. (Sound of me patting myself on the back.)

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:40 AM by Rick 14

Even as an Iowa fan, I have to admit this stadium looks to be a real beauty. I personally think they screwed up by not allowing alcohol sales in the suites.

Now I could go down the path of it only being for 50,000 and make jokes about how it won't be filled to capacity in a few years unless Iowa or Wisconsin is in town, but I won't do that. Not here ;-)

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:55 AM by IowaWigman Highlight this comment 15


My bet is that that "No-Alcohol" policy will be revisted in a couple of years......once they realize how much revenue they are missing out on due to that ill-conceived policy.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 12:14 PM by Fred Highlight this comment 16

Why didn't the link work? I copy and pasted it, I thought Incidentally, Big Ten Network is playing yesterday's festivities (I think they showed it yesterday as well, so it's a re-run) as well as a Gopher-Buckeye game from 1981 from Memorial Stadium today.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM by luke Highlight this comment 17

yummmm tailgating!

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM by mazaratirick Highlight this comment 18

My friends and I have all been wondering why the Gophers wouldn't put backs on the bleachers, especially considering how some season ticket holders don't have season tickets for the maroon and gold seats. Then I saw a cart yesterday that rented out cushioned individual seats with backs to put on top of the bleacher (you can see them on Rick's 4th pic from the bottom). I guess when you're not selling alcohol, you need to find additional ways to bring extra revenue. I still wish they had put in backs though.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 1:35 PM by Oaks Highlight this comment 19


I have more detailed pictures of those seat backs. They rent for $48 per season and are professionally bolted right to the bench. I doubt that was a response to the alcohol issue. It looks like this plan predates the alcohol problem by a long shot.

But I would agree that putting in benches with backs would have been substantially preferable for comfort at least. I have no idea what that does to the expense, but the option they chose reduces expense and increases revenues, so it's win-win for the U, an easy call.


You linked to the popup window. I pulled the actual image address from the source code.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM by Rick 20


Sleep is overrated!

Fred & IowaWigman,

A beer would have been nice yesterday. I predict that this will all get resolved once the inaugural season is complete. As I've stated before, I think the Legislature is right on this one: Sell alcohol everywhere. That's what they really wanted. (The prohibition clause was just to provide an incentive that didn't work.)

The U is responding to pressures which are positively puritanical. They need to get over it and be a little more progressive. Just keep the in-seat beer vendors out of the designated student sections and card everybody. Done.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 2:32 PM by Rick 21

I don't think the stadium lights will impact traffic on 6th street unless you're driving the wrong way - all traffic is oneway to the east.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM by kevin in az Highlight this comment 22

First off...if the dome had not been built, the twins would not be in Minnesota.

Second off......Lou Holtz demanded an all weather stadium

Third off.....The crowds at Memorial stadium were less than at the dome....

Fourth....we will wait and see how many people are sitting in the stands on cold BENCH seating when its 35 degrees and raining come november!

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM by bw Highlight this comment 23

Rick, you are aware that only 2 or 3 NCAA D-1 football teams (out of 117) that play on campus sell booze to all attendees, right?

The equity argument is a load of crap. Buying alcohol is not a right. I'll bet some of the suites will have some nice catered food. That doesn't mean the students have the right to get caviar served to them at the concession stand in the concourse.

The bill was the worst kind of populism.

Even Wisconsin (where beer is sold at the student Union, for pete's sake) doesn't sell beer in the general seating areas of Camp Randall or the Kohl Center. No Big Ten school does.

I agree that the policy will be revised soon, but it will (and should) revert to the original plan - alcohol sales in premium seating areas only.

General beer sales is a non-starter and always has been. There's no way Minnesota is going to be the "that guy" that serves booze on campus for football games.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 3:20 PM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 24

Cuddyer just hit two home runs in the same inning.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 3:22 PM by Jervill Highlight this comment 25

I know that, for some reason, when it comes to college sports and alcohol we're still living in the early 20th century. I really don't understand it.

Do we still want to maintain the charade that most people attending these games are underage students on a study break? That it's not a big-money endeavor funded almost exclusively by adults with tons of disposable income? That arbitrarily denying alcohol sales in this specific part of our society somehow helps people learn what it means to drink responsibly? That we can prevent college kids from getting drunk?

For me, I rarely have a beer at a game. I go for caffeine over alcohol every time (which may explain the reduced need for sleep noted above). And when I do drink, it's one, maybe two at any given event. And I see no reason why that should be denied to anyone.

If you card everybody, you teach more and show more maturity as a society than if you try to forbid. It's true that you still can't prevent the motivated 19-year-old with a 21-year-old buddy (or fake ID) from getting a beer, but I'd argue that you don't accomplish anything by doing so anyway. I'm definitely in favor of lowering the drinking age just to get the attractive stigma off of it and start the conversation with kids earlier.

As an aside, I've read that numerous studies show that human brains do not reach full maturity until sometime in our mid-20s. That's the point at which, for the first time, we can actually fully comprehend the causal connection between actions and consequences. It's primarily a biological thing, not a nurture issue, though it does vary some from person to person. So based on the science, there is a good case to be made for raising things like the drinking age and adult prosecution age to something like 25. I'd go with that, but our society isn't willing yet to value such science over the "gut instinct" approach we currently use (and have used since the dawn of civilization).

One thing you learn as a parent is that completely forbidding something is one of the best ways to encourage your child to wonder what they are missing and seek out some sort of sneaky way to try it. There will be times to forbid things, with explanation of course, but allowing and teaching restraint, while much more difficult, yields substantially better results in the long run.

Maybe I'm just a nutcase on this issue.

But back to TCFBS. It's going to be the financial piece, and not any larger societal issue, which ultimately decides this. I agree that the compromise will likely be the plan that the U originally crafted, but it will take an act of the Legislature to get it done.

After a dry season, all parties will have a clearer idea of how they can make it happen.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 3:56 PM by Rick 26

It's just a matter of time before alcohol is allowed at TCFBS. Give it at least one year.

College sports (in particular, D-I) have become a big business just like professional sports are with corporate sponsorships, state-of-the art venues, major recruiting events and so on.

If you keep the vendors out of the student section and card at the concessions, you are doing as much as you can do to prevent sales to minors.

The reality is that whether alcohol is sold or not, students will have access to alcohol regardless. It's the nature of college and I bet a good majority of the underage fans will be intoxicated prior to the game anyways from their all-night and pre-game parties. "Kegs and Eggs" is a big tradition in college towns during Saturdays in the fall and the kids will find a way to get their alcohol regardless.

I am one of those fans who enjoys a beer at a game, but if its not there, its not the end of the world either.

In the end, it comes down to personal responsibility as some people can handle themselves with alcohol while other people cannot handle themselves when consuming alcohol.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 4:08 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 27

Watch out, BW, they'll be coming for you. You've uttered blasphemy!

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 4:10 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 28

just wanted to say that I agree 100% with what Rick stated above...well said...who says that the 114 or 115 schools who don't sell alcohol at their stadiums are right? I would be willing to bet a years salary that at least half of the students at all 117 schools enter that facility with at least some consumption of, lets promote binge drinking before these events by allowing no alcohol...

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 4:16 PM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 29

Ok, so you support the law for reasons completely different than the ones given by the lawmakers.

It's not about trying to stop binge drinking, really. Nobody's that naive. It's different, however (and UW Madison is an excellent case for this with their sales at the student Unions) for the University to talk about curtailing binge drinking while profiting from sales to students.

Schools don't sell booze in general seating areas because it's not worth the hassle. It's not worth the bad press, it's not worth the added security, etc. It's one thing if the Dome is handling everything, but it's another for the school to do so.

The financial impacts are more troubling.

Not having beer in the stadium is fine. If Minnesota wants to ban it all, that's fine by me. They're not going to allow it all over, that's a non-starter. And the law passed basically forced Minnesota to do a bait and switch - the value of those premium seating areas was partially due to the ability to purchase booze. This was the plan all along, it's what most other schools do. They sold seats to fans with that expectation.

If you agreed to buy my car, and then I take out the sick stereo and replace it with an 8-track, then try to hand it over to you at the same price, you'd think you got duped. That's basically what Minnesota did, because the legislature gave them no choice.

I, for one, kinda hope Minnesota has trouble raising revenue because of this and has to go back to the Legislature and stick this in their faces. The plan was out in the open for years, and these guys basically trash it under the pretense of some faux populism.

And I find it hilarious that a state with such an antagonistic relationship with alcohol picks this issue to be pro-booze. The same state that didn't extend bar time to 2 am until a few years ago. The same state that forces 3.2 beer on the masses. The same state that won't allow beer and wine to be sold in grocery stores. The same state that's had ridiculous restrictions on liquour licenses for bars and restaurants for years, forcing a fine establishment like Broders to get a special exception years ago.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 5:00 PM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 30

Beautiful football stadium, just too bad they had to go with Artificial turf

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 6:32 PM by hans Highlight this comment 31

Psh, those fireplaces are such a rip off of Petco park. :-/

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 6:32 PM by evan (aka Evan A) Highlight this comment 32

Alex, don't get me wrong, I know that this is not just an issue regarding binge drinking. My main point related to binge drinking was in reference to Rick's opinion on lowering the drinking age to take the glorification away from consuming alcohol to underage college students. I completely understand that there are much more important underlying issues to this topic. It was just one angle, but it still cannot be ignored.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 6:40 PM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 33


Posted on August 23, 2009 at 6:49 PM by hans Highlight this comment 34


For the fireplaces, look up at the photos of the DQ Club.

As for the turf, artificial makes so much more sense in football, where how the ball bounces off the playing surface is a much less significant factor, and weather is completely ignored. You might be able to keep grass from going dormant during your season by installing a heating system like the one at TF, but as it gets colder, it gets harder and harder to keep it from getting torn up. It's just not worth it.

I think it's fair to say that football, as a game, is much harder on its playing surface than baseball.

With turf you still have the issue of wear and tear on players' knees, but I think that some types of turf are actually softer to run and fall on than natural grass. I'm not sure if that's true at TCFBS, but I have to believe the decision was very carefully considered.

One thing is for sure, it looks great.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 7:15 PM by Rick 35

Let's not forget that alcohol is banned at every other state facility. I went to a state college, and there was no alcohol allowed on campus, period. Why should the U be any different than any other state college or university?

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 7:20 PM by David_Mpls Highlight this comment 36

Along with Rick's points in regards to the turf at TCBS, it also saves the University the cost of hiring a groundskeeper. It's much less maintenance from their end.
And besides, I haven't seen artificial turf that green before. It looks really nice.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 8:00 PM by luke Highlight this comment 37

Rick, Thanks for the (fireplace)info. You are right about the turf too. I do remember Metropolitan stadium's field and how bad it was not only from football,(fall/winter) but also in summer from the Kicks soccer team. The field never had a chance to recover, and was usually in terrible condition for the Twins.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 8:06 PM by hans Highlight this comment 38

There are only four Big Ten teams that have grass surfaces which are Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, and Purdue.

All seven other Big Ten stadiums feature artificial turf, including Kinnick Stadium as of this year.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 8:49 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 39

I second Mike's post - FieldTurf is now used in about 50 major college football stadiums, 21 of the NFL stadiums (according to their website), and countless high school and small college football stadiums across the country. It looks great, and is every bit as soft as grass. Doesn't make sense to try an keep a real grass football field alive through a Minnesota December. Heinz Field in Pittsburgh is one of the last to stick with real grass - their field is invariably trashed by season's end, and the NFL player's association has pressured the Steelers to ditch it in favor of artificial turf.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 9:04 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 40

I believe that Heinz Field is the same as Lambeau where it is a combo real grass with synthetic grass stitched into the root system. It is done by a company called DD Turfmaster. Each year in late November Lambeau was being re-sodded between the hash marks. They installed it two or three years ago with an updated drainage system and haven't re-sodded since. The Packers love it and I believe that the Steelers have gone with it since then as well.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 9:27 PM by Eric Highlight this comment 41

The Cincinnati Reds, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers,all have DD Grassmaster installed in their game day stadiums. I think there are more North American teams that use it but I cant remember who. Oh and also the Cleveland Browns use it to at their game day stadium. The company is based in the Netherlands and their product has been used on European soccer fields for quite a few years now. I knew it would be a long shot but I was hoping maybe TCF Bank Stadium would use it too.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 9:55 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 42

In response to the drinking age I think it either needs to be lowered to 18, or make everything (ie military voting tobacco gambling driving) 21 or 25. Being a libertarian at heart there is nothing I hate more than a nanny state and stupid restrictions on civil liberties.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 10:02 PM by Camden Highlight this comment 43

I don't want to change the subject but...I'd be interested in hearing from anyone that was at Kaufmann this weekend for the Twinsfest, and especially those that have been in Target. How does it compare?

I have to say being there myself, and my first time to outdoor baseball, it has me looking forward to Target even more than I already was. I can't believe how small and close the game felt, both from the lower bowl as well as the outfield. Will Target feel the same? Closer? Foul territory comparisons?

The open concourses are amazing, and the lines were short, but the service was horribly slow. I really liked that water actually came out of the bathroom sinks, and they had urinals instead of troughs!

The scoreboard is great, but I had the feeling all 33k people there were watching a TV show with a ballgame in front of it. I found it distracting at times. Anyone know how Target will compare in dimensions? Will they use it the same way? It was used for stats and lineups throughout the game, which was much more information than we get at the dome during games.

Posted on August 23, 2009 at 11:09 PM by JCTwins Highlight this comment 44

alex b. - i have to say i agree completely with your take on the alcohol issue. the decision by the u of m in the end to not sell alcohol at all inside of tcf stadium, williams arena and mariucci areas is truly the fault of the legislature and was forced upon them by the legislature. they had no other choice. alcohol sales in general and student seating is an absolute "NON STARTER".

frankly, it was a u of m matter and decision that faux-populism legislators stuck their noses into at the last possible minute to score cheap political points. they knew all along (close to 4 years ago) that the u of m's alcohol policy inside tcf stadium was going to be consistent with how it was already being done inside williams arena and mariucci arena for several years (alcohol only in controlled and monitored premium seating areas - and away from students - whether they are over 21 or not).

as you mentioned the u of m's original plan for alcohol inside tcf stadium was also going to be consistent with how the rest of the big ten conference does it in terms of on-campus, college-run stadiums. again alcohol only in controlled and monitored premium seating areas - or in the case of michigan, not allowed at all.

the mn legislators last minute "side show" on that bill was nothing more than that.....a "side show" to try and get some last minute "faux populism" press and media coverage considering how little they had actually accomplished during the sesion when it came to dealling with matters of the state that they should have actually been concerned with. messing in the matters of the u of m was not one of them. it was all quite silly and unnecessary.

okay......rant over....

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 12:43 AM by Betaband Highlight this comment 45

Let it die. If the legislature didn't "mess in the matters of the u" there wouldn't be a new stadium. Back to the ballpark.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 12:53 AM by Jim Highlight this comment 46

Dang, let's try this again. Forgot to enter my password and lost what I previously wrote.

Rick, I agree with you. The place is perfect. They didn't waste a penny. Every seat has a great view. The rows are wide, no matter if you're in the seatbacks or in the Bleachers.

I made a comment to my buddy that people didn't understand that there was more room in the concourses now. When we were walking around, it seemed like everyone was walking on the field side of the pillars (probably about the size of the Dome concourses for those of you who haven't been there yet).

My one complaint and I think they'll work on it is the echo from the band playing and the speakers picking it up. We heard the cymbals crash during the National Anthem and then you heard it 2-3 seconds later over the speakers. That's probably going to cause problems.

I noticed that they haven't completed a conference room/suite that overlooks Williams Arena/campus on the Loge level below Bruininks' and Brewster's suites. You could look in from the seats on the second level and there's no carpet, walls aren't painted. Duct work to finish.

As far as students and alcohol, we all know it's going to happen. That's why the U is instituting a BAC line at the Student gate. From what I've heard and read, if stadium security or U of MN police believe a student's been drinking and is underage, they'll be getting a Breathalyzer. I think those that have really consumed a bit will also get tested. I'm not sure what they'll do (turn away underage drinkers/ticket them/etc.) but I know that a note's supposedly going on their ticket account since tickets are scanned this year. I believe that info will be available at the next game and other MN sporting events.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 01:42 AM by ML Highlight this comment 47

The grass is on its way!!!!

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 04:48 AM by bphj Highlight this comment 48

click on my name from a story early this morning from the StarTribune

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 04:49 AM by bphj Highlight this comment 49

New update from DSP. (click on my name)

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 05:04 AM by bphj Highlight this comment 50

In that story from the StarTribune, they say the "Ballpark will have a retro feel to it." Are they just guessing these days? If they even read that SI article they would have seen DSP said they wanted a truly modern ballpark. Seriously, do some actual reporting Trib People!

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 06:27 AM by Andrew Highlight this comment 51

two weeks from today i'll be at the rogers centre watching the twins destroy the jays. hopefully they have the roof open. 11 ballparks down, 21 to go...

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 08:08 AM by annoying customer Highlight this comment 52

How many people will be checking the webcams late tonight?

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 08:18 AM by roadwarrior Highlight this comment 53

I will definately be checking in to see the grass going in. Man, what a great time to be a MN sports fan -- 1) grass about to go in at TF, 2) Gophers back outdoors, 3) Favre the Viking.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 09:11 AM by crfire163 Highlight this comment 54

When exactly is the grass going in? Let me know and I'll walk over to watch and take some photos.

As a Michigan grad, I am thrilled that the Gophers have a real stadium now. Any Big Ten fan should be more than excited about this, and if there aren't people in the seats when its snowing and cold, that is a problem with the fans and not the stadium. It was never a problem to get 112 thousand people into the stadium in Ann Arbor even with a little snow in the seats. The team might not always be great, (3 wins for Michigan last year) but the stadium will still be packed for the first game this fall.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 09:11 AM by mplsgreg Highlight this comment 55

My source told me that sod installation is to begin around 10:00 pm tonight...I'll be checking in on the cams. I also heard that they will NOT be turning on the lights and that they will be using temp. lighting. So it might be difficult to see on the cams.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 09:30 AM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 56

Will there be a news helicopter hovering over the sod trucks as they near Minneapolis like they did when Brett Favre was on his way to Winter Park?

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 09:38 AM by Fred Highlight this comment 57

I like Fred...:-)

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 09:40 AM by trosy29 Highlight this comment 58

Boy, have times changed in regards to alcohol policy! I spent one year at the University of Michigan (didn't graduate like mplsgreg) in 1977-78 and you could bring as much alcohol in with you as you wanted. We would stop at the liquor store on the way to the game and pick up a 12-pack of Stroh's and walk in with ticket in one hand and 12-pack under other arm. A lot of the bottles and cans would get passed up and the rim of the stadium was completely lined with empties by end of game. I am not saying we should go back to that time, just saying how times have changed!

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 10:03 AM by Badjuggler Highlight this comment 59

it's amazing how it continues to get more conservative badjuggler -- I went there more recently than you but 2 campus staples were the "naked mile" and the "hash bash", sadly neither of which really exist like they used to. no booze in the stadium anymore. a couple of kids get hammered and fall of ledges and it ruins the fun for everyone. call me cynical, but that's survival of the fittest. if you want to prevent death you better start banning automobiles, buffalo wings (choking hazard) and stairs (tripping danger).

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 10:30 AM by mplsgreg Highlight this comment 60

The only negative comment I have about TCF stadium is a lack of places to set your drink and or food down in the concourse. My wife and I had to set our bottled water on a trash can to eat our food.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 10:31 AM by trebor651 Highlight this comment 61


The drinking age was also 18 in most states back in 1978-79. Not sure about Michigan.

Oh, and there's plenty of booze still in the stadium. Covert actions, my friends.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 10:33 AM by Alex B. Highlight this comment 62

Those pics of TCF are beautiful, especially that one from the open endzone looking in. Thanks again for all you do for stadium geeks everywhere.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 10:58 AM by tim Highlight this comment 63

It appears the trip from Fort Morgan, CO to Minneapolis is 12 hours, so the first of the sod trucks should be on the way!!!

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 11:13 AM by Dan Highlight this comment 64

Get those choppers in the air at about 9 tonight!! (I agree with Fred!)

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 11:14 AM by Dan Highlight this comment 65

Wow, another great story, Rick. You really could do this for a living, you know. There was nothing like this story in the strib.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 11:19 AM by Dave T Highlight this comment 66

I have season tickets and I can't wait for this fall. I just wish that they would have built this when I was in school at the U.

Posted on August 24, 2009 at 11:52 AM by Robert Highlight this comment 67

I remember all those horrible games at the dome when i was a student at the U. 99-04 It was a horrible place....but it was always 78 and overcast. I wish I was still in Minnesota to see this great day. Let me tell you there is nothing worse than Connecticut sports... UConn Uconn Uconn, i sure wish they would shut up about Uconn basketball. I miss you GOLDY!

Posted on September 10, 2009 at 2:26 PM by NCinCT Highlight this comment 68

This page was last modified on August 23, 2009.

"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.

Click to enlarge.

This is what it looked like during the first open house in March.

Just some of the lumiaries who turned out for the unveiling (Terry is clearly thinking about Sidney Ponson).

You have to wonder just what happened here. Will it remain forever embedded in cement?

Despite what those signs say, every one of these places was selling either snacks or Yankee memorabilia out of its front door. Do you suppose anything like this will spring up anywhere near the new Twins ballpark?

Storage tracks in the foreground.

Snow-blowing the field

A seating bowl comes into focus. Note that the netting has been installed on the foul pole. (Field Box)

The 1963 team won 91 games! (Click to enlarge and see the names)

Click to see the full-size image.

The view out Gate 6 "Oliva".

Home plate mount from Met Stadium (Source: LP, courtesy Clyde Doepner)

Just to the right, more ticket machines. These things are everywhere.

This is the revised version of the center field pavilion (without the restaurant). It looks like there are no seats, just some ledges for people to sit on. It reminds me of the seating on the "bridge" which sticks out of the new Guthrie Theater. Anything which lands in the trees will presumably be a home run, so the "411" sign is apparently just for fun.

And another angle looking at the overhang area of the right field pavilion. This looks to me like a great area to watch a game.

Supports for the little sections in the outfield.

Ice cream!

Condiments! (complete with faux limestone on the cart -- nice touch)

Break time

Opening day, 2010

The Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage seating

On this day, George was handling fruits and veggies right inside gate 34.

The process of building the canopy is really amazing to watch.

The transit corner entrance (Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune)

Our conductor in Big Lake

The Metrodome is converted to its football configuration after the Twins game on August 29, 2002

Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)

Concourse ceilings (from the Ballpark Authority's May update)

The brown grass was left over from the first attempt at groundbreaking (canceled after the 35W bridge collapse)

The former Ford manufacturing plant (now Ford Centre).

Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)

Secret entrance exposed!

I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)

Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)

Steps, skyway, and plaza intersect.


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

Complete Bibliography

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