View From the Ground
November 12, 2008 12:39 AM
This post has been modified to correct the characterization of the service levels.
Next up on our tour is a look at the ballpark from its foundation.
The loading dock, which is nestled beneath Seventh Street, has long been completed and is now fully functional. That means there are trucks coming and going, and an unsuspecting tourist runs the risk of being flattened.
Loading docks to the right, VIP entrances to the left.
The adjacent parking lot, which will be used by the players and other VIPs, is also nearly complete.
No more than a few steps inside the loading dock, there is currently a large opening. Eventually this will be gone, covered by the lower seating bowl, but for now you can find yourself standing just a few feet from where the field will soon be, with a view of the whole site.
I learned several interesting things:
First, those square cement openings in the last picture will actually be therapy pools for the players!
Second, it will be possible to move all the way around the ballpark on the service level. This is possible because of a very skinny walkway which will be between the right field fence and the support structure for the plaza. Most modern ballparks do not have 360-degree access on the service level. In most cases, they wish they had included it.
Third, in certain spots there are actually two levels beneath the main concourse. This is possible primarily because of the height of the bridges which border the site (Fifth and Seventh Streets). These mezzanines are used for mechanical equipment and other "back of house" operations. It's another example of cleverness by the designers to make everything fit in such a small space.
Here's an image from across the park with labels to illustrate it (the red arrow is where I stood when taking the pictures above):
It's somewhat amazing that, despite the ballpark's compact footprint, operational compromises appear to have been not much of a factor.
Up one level and you can see a few more things -- like shirts hanging on the visitor's dugout.
Also visible in that image are the backs of two limestone panels just being delivered. It sheds a little light on how those things are assembled.
This is as good a time as any for a quick mention of bike-related issues. Here's a quick shot of the bike trail under construction (parallel to the railroad tracks):
Next, here's a view up Third Avenue toward the ballpark:
Dan explained that they hope to make some adjustments to Third to be more friendly to bikes and pedestrians. This is possible because this little section of Third is really nothing more than a freeway entrance. The concept is to realign the street to the right in this image (so it basically hugs the parking ramp), with bikeway and additional pedestrian space on the left. These will lead to bike storage facilities at the ballpark. It's another way to make the site truly multi-modal.
Before closing, here are two great images from the Intermodal Station Study. The first is a nifty ballpark rendering with all the transportation connections highlighted:
The second is a vision for what the area might look like when various planned transportation improvements are inserted:
Be sure to click the link and look at the images with labels. It's fascinating and quite hopeful.
I'll have more to say on this subject when our tour continues...
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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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
A closer look at the louvers
Site plan for the new Nationals ballpark, with the size of the Rapid Park site overlaid
Sometime in the late 1980s: B ramp is under construction. Not yet built: Target Center, I-394 and the A ramp.
The Polo Grounds (left) and Shibe Park (Connie Mack Stadium)
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
7:32 PM Glare begins at about the left field foul pole.
This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.
Double plays will be turned here.
The beautiful Promenade has become a sea of temporary barricades. (Smoker's Row outside the unnumbered gate)
Here's one big problem with a retractable roof: completely terrible seating in left. These scant few seats would have been tucked under the track. No sunshine, no open concourse, it was a terribly kludgy idea. With some hindsight, it's very clear that adding a retractable roof on this small site would have required compromises which would have just been too extensive to tolerate. Without it, the design was free to grow into something much more memorable.
A little more imaginative is the circulation building for Northstar.
No griping here.
The lights went on, and it was a Good Thing
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
Here is the most recent outfield configuration, captured from the animation video. We probably shouldn't make too much of the logos seen on the scoreboard: Best Buy, Dairy Queen, Target, Pepsi, Dodge and Qwest...
At TF, you never know when you may bump into a Pohlad
Better them than me
You can get a hand-carved sandwich, or ice cream while pondering the career of Julio Becquer.
How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
Supports for the little sections in the outfield.
Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.
Dan Mehls, Mortenson Construction
Artist at work
This is a great spot for casually watching the game.
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
I suppose that one day my son will graduate from Mrs. Fields to Hooters. At least he won't have to travel too far. *Shudder*
Also viewed from the B ramp, that's the upper deck in left field.
The plaza as viewed from across the park. The right field overhang section will be built just in from where the plaza supports are.
This is the staircase (ramp?) leading up to the trapezoid. Nice flagpole too. You'll be able to find me and Ben McEvers at the base of that flagpole on opening day in 2010!
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