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.
"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.
It's pretty easy to see right into the Twins dugout!
Bench seating just off the plaza
Preparations underway (Field View)
Our host points to the Puckett Atrium on the diagram.
Looking back toward the park from just beyond the north end of the Northstar platform.
Directly above gate 6 "Oliva" on the Club level.
Wrigley Field. Paradise? Not from these seats.
Another deck to come...
Carew atrium menu part 2
You are forgiven for wondering whether architect Tom Oslund is, in fact, a visitor from the future.
The glare problem.
Sharing and Caring Hands, as viewed from the ballpark site about a block away. Note transaction in progress in the shadows.
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?
Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level
The main ticketing area beneath the restaurant.
The HERC promenade side.
At the other end of the bridge, the configuration of the tracks has become clear.
Photo by Jeff Ewer (Click to enlarge.)
The back row of seats in straight-away center. Note that, beyond those seats, you can see the planters (for flowers) on the front of the Left Field Bleachers.(Batters Eye)