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
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.
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.)
"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
Did I mention that the cheerleaders looked pretty sharp?
Preparations underway (Field View)
Where you are, and where you can go.
The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
ATM-style ticket machines have appeared beneath the steps to the B ramp (you can also enter the B ramp directly by walking past the ticket machines)
Click to see the whole page from this 1971 program.
Then you turn around to this!
Finally, a night game image -- complete with fireworks! (OK, it's either a construction photo which has been Photoshopped, or some lucky photographer spent the Fourth of July in the upper deck watching the fireworks over the river. Cool either way.)
The admin building (note TF logo on banner)
Upper deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.
Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)
Better them than me
Some brick work out in the centerfield pavilion.
Mystery door on Seventh Street...
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
The storage tunnel is barely visible at left behind that guy.
LRT throngs after the game
Here is where the signature art (original Twins logo) will be placed.
This is the upper deck in Anaheim
Knothole non-view #1
Lots of pix waiting to be seen from Bert's memorable night.
I'm not sure why there's a wreath on Gate 3. (I quickly checked the headlines for any dreaded Killebrew news. Whew.) It looks to be in celebration, maybe of the move.
Gate 29 escalators
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...
Section A, Row WC
Name that ballpark
Brick work just inside the opening matches the color of the limestone - per Jerry Bell's requirements.
Wow! Looking good.
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Met Stadium seat colors (click for the complete image)
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).
Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)