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To Roof, or Not to Roof

The Twins Will Play Under Sky Only, Right?

June 13, 2006 11:59 AM

New Concept Drawing - No Roof

New Concept Drawing - No Roof

As it stands right now, there will be no roof on the new Twins ballpark. The funding is not included in the bill which was passed, and the concept drawings have all been changed to have it removed (look closely and you'll see that some of the differences in the two drawings are quite interesting). The team is talking like this is a done deal.

But the law does not prevent a roof from being built. It's actually almost silent on the subject (the only mention of the word "roof" is in connection with a possible Vikings stadium). With the Twins responsible for all cost overruns, it is conceivable that a roof could be considered an "overrun" that the Twins have the option of paying for (or finding non-public funding for) themselves.

And I read over on DTFC somewhere (I think it was there, still looking for the actual post) that Twins president Dave St. Peter made an off-hand comment on the radio that there is still a 5% chance that the ballpark will have a roof. So I asked him about it.

Original Concept - With a Retractable Roof

Original Concept - With a Retractable Roof

The most interesting part of his answer was that he didn't dismiss it out of hand. In fact, he said "some people talk about a magical funding stream" but declined to give any idea what that might be. Then he said that the Twins are "no longer focused on a roof" but always practice the "art of the possible" and will try to build the most comfortable park they can for the fans.

Then he stressed another reason it's way down on their list: it would add a year to construction, and they are keen to get this thing opened in 2010. He was very excited about the possibility of using energy from next door to provide some comfort for the fans.

So I return to this: As it stands right now, there will be no roof on the new Twins ballpark.

For some (including at least one rabid season ticket holder that I know), this is a Very Bad Thing. For others (including most of my friends), this is a Very Good Thing. I've spent a lot of time on the fence about it:

On one hand, this is Minnesota, and the one thing we know for certain is that some games will get rained/snowed out without a roof. Some games will be very cold.

On the other hand, this is Minnesota, dammit -- put on a sweatshirt! Bring a blanket! The sky and wind and weather are part of the game. As are heat, cold, rain-outs and snow-outs. Get over it.

On one hand, a roof guarantees that all games will be played on schedule.

Cold Spring Day at Comerica Park

Here's what they do in April at Comerica Park

On the other hand, a roof guarantees that at least some games will be played under some ugly airplane-hanger-like roof.

On one hand, adding a roof now can be done for the relatively inexpensive cost of $100M (versus much more, and another act of the legislature, later).

On the other hand, it may never be necessary. Fans are pretty adaptable and it may be a totally unnecessary expense.

On one hand, the original concept was for a roof which would be behind about 80% of the seats -- nearly invisible -- when retracted (hovering over the incinerator).

On the other hand, cost-cutting could become a factor in just how far that roof retracts. It would be cheaper to shorten the track and have the roof stop closer to the playing field, making it possible that cost-cutting would change the plan significantly for the worse.

But when I really think about it, I've seen rain-delayed games at Wrigley Field and Comerica, and some very chilly September games at Comiskey Park. All of these were better baseball experiences than the one I saw at Miller Park in Milwaukee where it stopped raining halfway through the game and they opened the roof. (That park feels like a big gymnasium whether the roof is open or closed.)

On balance, I think that no roof is better than a bad roof, and a bad roof is a distinct possibility. (I'm lucky enough to live close enough to make my decisions spontaneously on game day... Out-state fans may have a different take -- which hopefully they will leave in the comments.)

Comments


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A roof would almost guarantee cost overruns and also due to the constricted site, a goofy (ugly-not quaint) configuration. I feel for those outstaters woh won't know what kind of weather they will have when they come to a game, but is it any different than sox fans in Indiana or southern Illinois face? or up-state New Yorkers who want to go to a Yankees game? I say lets go no roof and design the best looking park we can for $522 million.

Posted on June 14, 2006 at 11:39 AM by freealonzo Highlight this comment 1

Word.

Yeah, what he said.

Posted on June 14, 2006 at 1:23 PM by JC Highlight this comment 2

Agreed. No roof is necessary.

An ugly roof would be much worse than a few rainouts each year.

Posted on June 14, 2006 at 6:35 PM by ACH Highlight this comment 3

I was in Seattle last week, and got to see the Twins play at much-ballyhooed Safeco Field, which has a roof. The roof was open at the game I saw, and it was definitely several cuts above Miller Park, but still, I've never seen a baseball park with a roof where the additional structure required for the roof didn't make the park feel overly enclosed and annoying. The best parks don't have ceilings, period. And to the various hysteric shriekers going on about the weather in Minnesota, I can only say: check the weather reports for the last 40 years. Then check the reports for Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and New York, none of which have roofs on their parks. Pretty similar, huh? Surprising, hmm? Yeah. So. No roof, okay?

Posted on June 15, 2006 at 12:30 AM by Sam Highlight this comment 4

i say they should have the roof on the ballpark that way they can get the fans protected from the weather and won,t be as cold with thew roof closed

Posted on July 2, 2006 at 8:08 PM by gary Highlight this comment 5

Two words -- Met Stadium
Am I the only one old enough to remember the fanfare surrounding the planning and construction of the Metrodome? It was a big deal that Minnesotans' would finally have a weatherproof sports venue. When it is raining, cooking, freezing, etc. I would much rather watch a game in the mediocre Metrodome, than any outdoor stadium. Yes, it is desirable to be able to watch baseball in an open outdoor facility during clement weather, but not having the option of closing a roof is a step backwards. No, I'm not a whiner -- I'm a native Minnesotan -- weather and mosquitos don't scare me. I have seen my share of Twins games, but I'm not going to enjoy watching a game as much when I'm physically uncomfortable. Does any one really believe that there really enough die-hard Twins fans to fill a roofless stadium in bad weather? To Sam -- the other cities you mentioned all have larger populations to draw on to fill seats when the weather is miserable. Mom, dad, and the kids are not going to the ballpark while it is raining. My last word -- It needs a roof...

Posted on July 7, 2006 at 09:51 AM by JVB Highlight this comment 6

If Safeco didn't have the roof the mountains would be much easier to see.

Posted on July 9, 2006 at 10:13 PM by brian Highlight this comment 7

NO ROOF. In response to the question of would there wouldn't be enough die-hard Twins fans to fill a roofless stadium in bad weather: Yes. I think there are many fans who decline to attend games solely because the Metrodome isn't open-roofed. Baseball is supposed to be played outdoors and the Minnesotans are (or used to be) known for surviving harsh conditions.

Posted on July 12, 2006 at 12:04 AM by BSV Highlight this comment 8

Sam's comment that Chicago, NY, Boston, & Cleveland have open stadiums is spot on--JVB, Chicago & New York, sure, but Cleveland's population is around 475,000--which is significantly less than the Minneapolis-St. Paul combo of around 670,000 (those figures are city proper). There are Twins fans aplenty, I'd wager. The Metrodome, for all its quirky appeal (we love to love odious things), is an awful place to watch baseball. I'm a Twins fan living in Seattle--and yes, the roof can be nice in a city known for its incessant drizzle (it seldom rains hard here, but it rains often), despite the typically sunny summers. Keep in mind that the hullaballoo over the Metrodome's weatherproof ceiling also carries the interest of other sports (namely football), whose games are played in the harsh winter. Baseball's a summer game and Minnesota weather--though it's hot as hell--is baseball weather. Hold off on the roof and keep the pricetag reasonable. The sky's the best roof for baseball.

Posted on July 22, 2006 at 5:05 PM by andyboy Highlight this comment 9

I really think we have to get into the new century. People are getting more busy with their lives and have so many more options than just baseball. There is a reason that, Pro Football, College Football and Racing are moving up in the viewing audiences. Usually the majority of their events are on the weekends. Most people are too busy during the week to watch sporting events.(and getting more so). The attraction of a new stadium in Minnesota will wear off within five seasons. I've seen it happen in Milwaukee. Putting a retractible roof on Miller Park was absolutely the smartest thing the people of Milwaukee have ever done.We all know the Twins draw fans from South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota as well as Wisconsin. Let's make sure that we do it right,the first time to ensure the people of Minnesota have the Twins for a LONG time.I think the stadium should be and can be built atractive and practical.My vote goes for a retactible roof!

Posted on July 23, 2006 at 5:10 PM by steelydan Highlight this comment 10

No Roof make it look liek a classic beautiful ballpark!!! If they build it the fans will come period!

Posted on August 17, 2006 at 5:04 PM by Highlight this comment 11

This ballpark will never open without a roof. We opened up the floodgate for raising taxes, and we will have a bill pushed through next year for funding for a Vikings stadium with a Twins roof thrown in. The stadiums will result in another 1% of our hard-earned pay being taken without being able to vote on it.

Posted on October 23, 2006 at 12:14 PM by NoTaxGuy Highlight this comment 12

The year is 2010. I live in western South Dakota. I Schedule a couple of vacation days, order tickets, make the trip to Minnesota.Game gets rained out and rescheduled I have to go back home having spent a bunch of money and still didn't get to see a game. Put a lid on the ballpark.

Posted on October 26, 2006 at 11:50 PM by SD Twins fan Highlight this comment 13

you should just make a retracatble roof that would make it really cool

Posted on December 22, 2006 at 12:07 PM by jordan Highlight this comment 14

Ah, how interesting it is to watch a clash of two modes of thinking. The old-school Minnesota motto of, "The colder the better," versus the new school, "I want it and I want it now" crowd which demands a roof so that their vacation parade is not rained on. One side argues that a retractable roof is a travesty to all that is baseball and that such commodities were never even heard of until recent years, while the other crowd fires back that we should stop living in the past and makeway for "comfortable in all seasons" baseball. As a young student who likes to think of himself as having a foot planted firmly in each camp, I must say that no roof appeals to me more than a retractable one. Why? Well, many of the above arguments for no roof are solid, but I think there are two that should be emphasized. First, despite the cold and rain in the first and last month of the season, one of the things I love most about living in Minnesota is the beautiful summer evenings. More importantly however, despite all the physical comfort (and peace of mind for out-of-towners) that a roof would provide, how far are we willing to go before baseball as we know it is no longer baseball as we know it? I mean, isn't one of the most common complaints about the Metrodome that "baseball is not meant to be played indoors?" Do we really want to change that to "baseball is not meant to be played indoors, except when it is chilly and wet?" Isn't there anything to be said for the home field advantage present when a team from Texas has to come play the weather-tested Twins in April, or more importantly in October, in which case I am sure that Twins fans would revel in the cold? At what point do we become so modernized and built for comfort that we lose our heritage as the "People of the Cold?" In other words, will having a retractable roof make us at all distinguishable from those fans in Arizona who have a retractable roof to protect them from the heat? After all, it may be hard to say "I am a Minnesotan," when it is followed by, "Now close that roof cause dang it, it's chilly out here!"

Posted on January 8, 2007 at 1:49 PM by sparticus Highlight this comment 15

Ah, how interesting it is to watch a clash of two modes of thinking. The old-school Minnesota motto of, "The colder the better," versus the new school, "I want it and I want it now" crowd which demands a roof so that their vacation parade is not rained on. One side argues that a retractable roof is a travesty to all that is baseball and that such commodities were never even heard of until recent years, while the other crowd fires back that we should stop living in the past and makeway for "comfortable in all seasons" baseball. As a young student who likes to think of himself as having a foot planted firmly in each camp, I must say that no roof appeals to me more than a retractable one. Why? Well, many of the above arguments for no roof are solid, but I think there are two that should be emphasized. First, despite the cold and rain in the first and last month of the season, one of the things I love most about living in Minnesota is the beautiful summer evenings. More importantly however, despite all the physical comfort (and peace of mind for out-of-towners) that a roof would provide, how far are we willing to go before baseball as we know it is no longer baseball as we know it? I mean, isn't one of the most common complaints about the Metrodome that "baseball is not meant to be played indoors?" Do we really want to change that to "baseball is not meant to be played indoors, except when it is chilly and wet?" Isn't there anything to be said for the home field advantage present when a team from Texas has to come play the weather-tested Twins in April, or more importantly in October, in which case I am sure that Twins fans would revel in the cold? At what point do we become so modernized and built for comfort that we lose our heritage as the "People of the Cold?" In other words, will having a retractable roof make us at all distinguishable from those fans in Arizona who have a retractable roof to protect them from the heat? After all, it may be hard to say "I am a Minnesotan," when it is followed by, "Now close that roof cause dang it, it's chilly out here!"

Posted on January 8, 2007 at 1:50 PM by sparticus Highlight this comment 16

I am so sick of 'out-of-towners' complaining about the lack of a roof. The people of Hennipen County are the ones paying for this and make up a majority of the population that attends Twins games each year. There are millions of fans from states without sports teams that have to travel for hours to attend games so I understand the rationale that you don't want to see a game that could be rained out. But just like John Doe in Maine who has to risk the weather to catch a Red Sox game, unless you live in the county that funds the stadium, you really don't have a say if a roof gets put on it or not.

Posted on January 9, 2007 at 7:39 PM by tito Highlight this comment 17

Well, even though I'm an out of towner(actually an Airman originally from MN) I currently am fortunate enough to be stationed in Western South Dakota. I'm all for no roof. Hell I work on the flightline in -40 weather, what's a little cold and rain? I usually make it home a couple times each season, it would be nice to see a ballgame, but if I can't, at least I can still have a beautiful park to be proud of. I say for out of towners, check the weather channel! Plus, most out of towners who come can probably afford it anyway!

Posted on February 8, 2007 at 08:07 AM by CMH Highlight this comment 18

Another argument for no roof:
Once you have a roof, now you have some control freak who doesn't want to open it, because Paul Douglas mentioned a chance of rain, or the temperature might go below 60F. I'm referring to the Milwaukee-Twins series last summer, and why I won't be returning to that city any time soon.
Build it right, with no stinking roof please.

John H. in Minneapolis

Posted on February 12, 2007 at 12:50 PM by JohnH Highlight this comment 19

I agree that with a roof it will look like a gym regarless if it is open or closed, build it with no roof so its classic looking.

Posted on February 18, 2007 at 01:06 AM by Kevin Highlight this comment 20

I echo the comments by JohnH. I stopped in Milwaukee for the Sunday game last year. 70 degrees, no forecast of rain, and the stupid roof was closed. I have also been there with the roof open and it STILL feels like an indoor game.

NO ROOF. NO ROOF. NO ROOF. Did I make myself clear? We want an OUTDOOR ballpark. I own a jacket. I survived Met Stadium as a kid. I even enjoyed myself there on occasion. NO ROOF. NO ROOF. NO ROOF.

Posted on June 2, 2007 at 09:38 AM by Bradley Bolin Highlight this comment 21

You will only regret not having a roof to open and close. April is not a nice month and if you make October you better enjoy cold weather for 3+ hours. Not to mention rain falls all summer months too. This isn't football where you only have a few Sunday's to worry about. It won't take too many rain delays or PPD for you to wish you had a roof to cover the stadium and play as scheduled and comfortably. The Indians had to play in Milwaukee this year and don't be suprised if snow throws a wrench in Minnesota's season too from time to time.

Posted on September 27, 2007 at 11:36 AM by Drew Highlight this comment 22

Almost all the reasons to have a roof are logical. Almost all the reasons to not have a roof are aesthetical.

Reason to have a roof almost all revolve around mitigating something uncontrollable, i.e. weather. A roof is required to have any control over the weather and hence control over both fan and MLB schedules. Aesthetics are arguable more important and directly impact the feel of the game. Yes baseball is meant to be played outdoors on a nice summer day. This is why a permanent roof has never been considered. However, if done properly a retractable roof can give you the best of both worlds, a place to go on nice summer days and a place to go on cold wet/snowy days.

How one designs and architects a retractable roof has a direct impact on aesthetics. One can go the cheapest route possible and put an ugly obtrusive monolith on top or spend some coin on an unobtrusive elegant design. I’d love to have a roof, but only if it’s done right.

Posted on October 3, 2007 at 4:11 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 23

Now that the new ballpark is not going to have a roof, the Final Four won't return to Minnesota.

Posted on April 8, 2008 at 11:59 AM by Eric Highlight this comment 24

There is a difference between a roof and a dome. Events like the final four don't go to baseball stadiums that have a retractable roof, they go to actual indoor venues like the Metrodome.

Posted on April 12, 2008 at 7:42 PM by Joe Highlight this comment 25

yeah the final four should still go to minnesota. just becuse the twins leave the metrodome doesent mean the metrodome wont be used still!

Posted on April 22, 2008 at 12:43 AM by Brandon Highlight this comment 26

And lets not only think about teams north or in the mid-west also think about teams like the Florida Marlins who's stadium is open aired and it rains like all the time in Florida same with the Rangers Then also think of the heat in Arizona lets face it there is way worse weather than there is here in Minnesota and they live through it just fine.

Posted on June 12, 2008 at 3:36 PM by FDNHdvn;db Highlight this comment 27

I'm from the South and just watch a Twins game in the dome - you definitely need an outdoor ballpark! The atmosphere lacked excitement, especially compared to the game I saw last June in Wrigley field.

Being from the south, I say the roof is not necessary even during the cooler months of the season.

Posted on June 23, 2008 at 2:15 PM by Kevin Highlight this comment 28

You can talk all you want about atmosphere and the additional $1.00 a year taxpayers saved by voting down a roof, but come October you're going to wish you had a stadium with a temperature above freezing

Posted on June 29, 2008 at 1:27 PM by js Highlight this comment 29

I'm a student who drove up to Minneapolis on a weekend from Iowa to catch a couple games with money I had saved up over a period of time. I come to Twins games and see many license plates from the Dakotas, Iowa, and Wisconsin and will feel bad for those people who saved up their money to see the Twins and their game gets rained or snowed out. I've heard stories of driving home from the Twins' world series in 91 through blizzard conditions.

However, I do understand how aesthetics are a big deal when the people of Hennepin County are forking out dollars for this new ballpark. If the new Vikings Stadium gets built, allow for a baseball configuration in worst-case scenerios where bad weather is inevitable in the new football stadium. Build the field similar to Busch Stadium where rain is able to drain quickly and rain postponements shouldn't be too big of a problem. Also, it is almost unnoticable during Vikings games in the Metrodome that a whole side of seating is movable. Have the great ballpark with pleasing aesthetics and build the new Vikings Stadium with an ability to play baseball during blizzards, prolonged monsoons like we saw in Iowa this year, and all other types of crazy weather the midwest has to offer.

Posted on July 9, 2008 at 11:14 PM by Travis Highlight this comment 30

Rain-outs mean double-headers! I've never been to a double header, so I'm totally down with going roofless!

Posted on October 15, 2008 at 12:10 PM by Dana Highlight this comment 31

Whats up with the guy selling calenders for more than a dollar a page, is he crazy? who would stuff a stocking with that crap? even On sale he gets more than a dollar a page! Gezzzz it's a construction site.

Posted on October 23, 2008 at 10:58 AM by NonTwinkie fan Highlight this comment 32

Consider how enjoyable the last game of the World Series was this year in Philly. Nice, huh? That game was a travesty of baseball. And Philly is tropical compared to Mpls. in November.

Put a roof on the damn thing. Don't do it the usual MN way and build it on the cheap.

Posted on November 14, 2008 at 4:45 PM by rodander Highlight this comment 33


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The bridge is Seventh Street.



I didn't check the menu too closely, but it looks like all the standard fare is available, and not much of the non-standard stuff.



Lower deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.















Here's a rack of lights being prepared for lifting into the canopy.



Approach in the A ramp to the skywalk over Seventh



Let's be honest and say that this promenade, which will face the HERC plant, won't be the most exciting part of the streetscape. It has to be provided for circulation reasons, but there won't be much to see unless vendors and other attractions take root here.



Snow-blowing the field



Reverse view, now looking down Sixth toward the park. The Met Stadium flag pole will be right there!



This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.



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Detail of the train tunnels (click to view the entire drawing)









Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)



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The closed concession stand.



Solution for a hot night, just inside Gate 34 (that's a cool mist, by the way, not hot steam, which would be kind of cruel)






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A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.



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Note the speakers hanging beneath that deck



Infield dirt used as accents









Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts



Walkway construction is progressing






Here's a detail from the above image, showing the LED strips up close.






Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)



Integrating the administration building was really a great idea. Actually, there will be more things inside than just offices, but that will probably be some sweet space.






2014 Twins ASG promo bat.



A little more imaginative is the circulation building for Northstar.






Work on one of the side panels



First Avenue at left, bike parking area at lower right



Giant screened images! (573 Club, my back to Seventh Ave windows)















Note that, even though the scoreboard appears strategically placed, it's the outfield stands which block any potential view of the field from this roof.


Glossary

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)

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