This just can't be. I mean, bridges don't collapse. Cars don't plunge into rivers. These things just don't happen. Maybe on TV. Far away. Not here.
Over and over tonight I've heard it said that 100,000 cars crossed that bridge on an average day. You probably crossed it over and over yourself, probably very recently, possibly on the way to or from a game. I certainly have. And I almost crossed it tonight at the very wrong time.
My receipt from Target at the Quarry is stamped 5:54 PM. 35W south is my route home from there, but the entrance ramp was closed due to construction. So I headed toward the East Hennepin ramp.
When I got there, just before 6:00 PM, I could see that the traffic was like a painting, and I realized I was later than planned in heading toward home. I did the mental calculation: a mile and a half to the Hiawatha exit in construction would take about 5 to 10 minutes. The alternate route, city streets to the 10th Avenue bridge, would take about the same amount of time.
The car in front of me headed down the freeway ramp and then stopped. I was prepared to follow it right into stop-n-go purgatory, but in a moment of impatience I made the snap decision to keep moving and opt for the city streets. There was no other reason -- no premonition or ominous feeling or anything. I was simply tired of sitting in traffic.
I figure that I crossed the 10th Avenue bridge a minute or two before the collapse. You can probably see what else I've figured out. And after putting the pieces together, I watched the first couple of hours of coverage through the blinders of shock.
Earlier today, I expended a great deal of effort getting Noah ready for tomorrow. We talked about the train station and the train, the Metrodome and the baseball game, and all the players. ("Who's in the dugout?" "Gardy!") We talked about baseball and the new ballpark all day. We got to the point where he could almost recite back to me the whole schedule we had planned for tomorrow.
I had heard there was grass on the asphalt (thanks, Tube), so I detoured downtown to get some pictures before heading toward the Quarry and my errands.
Turns out there were also tents, and bleachers, and a stage. It's a beautiful sight.
But the Twins did the right thing in postponing tomorrow's events. There was no other choice. And while I'm disappointed that we won't get to have our baseball day tomorrow, tonight I'm just deeply thankful that my car is not in the river, and that Noah and his mom and I will have another tomorrow together.
Without getting too melodramatic, let's admit that we make hundreds of choices every day which could alter our lives in ways we cannot anticipate. Sure we make plans, but in the end we get what we get. We come to a fork in the road and we take it.
We assume that the bridge won't collapse. We assume that our car won't plunge into the river. We assume we will get to use those tickets. We assume we'll be home for dinner in a few minutes.
And there it is.
My heart goes out to all those touched by this Big Unimaginable. There will be a time for our ballpark celebration. Now is a time to grieve and heal.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Target HQ main entrance. Ballpark resemblance? (Inset.)
The Metrodome hot dog vendor. (Source: RP)
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
Special guests in the trees!
Here's a correction: The LRT platform will actually be able to load outbound trains from both sides.
Serious home dugout work in progress.
Here's where the plaza will empty out around that skyway emergency exit tower at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.
This view, from the Minnekahda building (or possibly a predecessor), looks toward the right field corner. The City Market, at left, occupied the land where the B ramp and Target Plaza now stand (over I-394). And the Overlook now juts out just a little beyond where that driveway enters the railyard.
This isn't a very good picture, but it is the current view of the inside of a suite.
Scoreboard in profile against the skyline
Life in the shadows
The ballpark development area expanded by 1000 feet in each direction
The Metropolitan Club (click to enlarge)
Playing surface dirt out there? Maybe. (click to enlarge)
The limestone now wraps around onto the HERC side.
LRT station has appeared.
Detail showing clubhouse and home dugout (click to see the entire drawing)
Target Plaza in model form
This is what it looked like during the first open house in March.
Up close, this is what you'll see as you walk along.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
Here's the current overview from the south side of the B ramp (from which the banner at the top of this page was culled).
Some brick work out in the centerfield pavilion.
An overview of the model display.
Supports viewed from beneath. These seats will be just a few feet from the outside edge of the building!
This mural is behind the staircase. The window looks onto the promenade, and the door goes to a kitchen.