November 16, 2008 12:35 PM
Our tour continues with some steps out onto the plaza through the Killebrew gate:
The changes to be seen here are incremental, and won't seem to be much of a surprise if you follow the webcam (since it's almost 100% visible there at all times).
But what you cannot see is that the presence of Target as naming partner has made a very large difference on how the plaza will be progressing from this point.
First, let's go out on a ledge:
That's the view up Sixth Street just off the edge of the existing plaza. What is to come here will make a huge difference in how the ballpark is integrated with downtown.
What I did not realize, but learned on my tour, is that Sixth Street will give up a whole lane of traffic to the plaza extension. So instead of just ending in a staircase, or even just snuggling up to Target Center, the plaza will actually be somewhat expansive as it makes its way up to First Avenue.
What's more, the entrance will apparently feature the old Met Stadium flag pole!
At this point I have not seen any concept drawings of how the plaza will meet the street, but I've heard from all involved that the flagpole deal is in the works. (For the benefit of new visitors, nabbing the Twins' original flagpole from the American Legion in Richfield was my idea.)
Now we'll turn around and look back toward the ballpark:
At first glance this may seem somewhat disconcerting. I mean, what the hell is that skyway doing blocking the incredible view of the ballpark?
I think there are some people involved in the process who might want to see it disappear in the long-term. But right now it actually serves as a rather nifty gateway. Just step beneath it and...
...ahhh. There it is.
You can see enough of the park as you approach on Sixth Street to whet your appetite, then you really get a big payoff as you emerge from beneath the offending skyway.
Just for reference, here's how the skyway and plaza interact, as seen from the roof of Target Center:
Let me wax nostalgic for a moment about a couple of concept drawings from long, long ago which originally tweaked my hopes about a new ballpark.
An early concept for St. Paul.
These come from the era when St. Paul was in the running, and I collected them from the coverage at that time. Unfortunately, I was never able to find out either who commissioned them or who drew them.
But they show a downtown ballpark with a plaza and spectacular pedestrian gateway. One even shows the sidewalk running along the center field fence with the urban street grid unaltered. I remember thinking at the time, "That's pretty darn cool, but it will never happen in a million years."
I bring them back now because I'm realizing that, even though these weren't an official part of this process, the coolest parts of these drawings have found their way into Target Field. Yep, we're that lucky.
(You can see more of the earlier failed plans and concept drawings, along with my very first coverage of the Target Field location when it was just known as the "Warehouse District Alternative" back in 2001, by clicking here.)
Do you know who did this drawing? If so, please tell me so I can give them proper credit.
Now back to our current reality...
As you pass under the skyway, look to your immediate right for a bit of house-keeping:
There will be an entrance right there to the B ramp from the plaza level, as well as steps up to the skyway. These are essential connections.
As an aside, there is a very large emergency exit tower located right where the plaza terminates at Seventh Street and Second Avenue (the other side of Target Center). There is some hope that this will one day be another entrance to the skyway after games:
(As a further aside, click the above image to see what that exact same view looked like almost a century earlier. You may be interested to know that for decades the forerunner to today's Farmer's Market, then known as the "City Market", was located on the same block where the plaza now sits. Now, if you're really interested in the history, go up and click on that skyway-gateway picture for an identical comparison. And I've got a few more of these still in my back pocket for another time.)
Walk forward on the plaza toward the ballpark and then turn back to see the city:
A couple of things to note here. First, previous renderings have always shown banners hanging from the B ramp as a sort of pseudo-disguise. Personally, I've always been hoping that the Twins would resurrect the tradition of a gigantic schedule like the one they used to paint on the side of the WCCO building.
But it sounds like beautifying the plaza has been taken to a new level with the introduction of the "Target Field" name. There are currently concepts being considered for a gigantic work of public art which could potentially cover the ramp completely (or at least some portion of it). More details on this are forthcoming since nothing is official just yet.
Additionally, the model and renderings have always shown trees filling these planters. That turns out to have been something of wishful thinking based, in part, on the rather shallow depth of the plaza. Newer concepts actually are still living plants, but not trees exactly. And while I have not seen any drawings, the idea really does sound like an improvement.
Now, here are a few more photos and notes from the plaza tour.
I was surprised at how close those upper deck seats seem. From the plaza, you feel like you can reach out and touch them. It really adds to the impression of overall compactness.
This is where the main ticket office will be.
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
That's all I have time for tonight, but there are still pictures coming from the tour of the concourses, the admin building, and the steel work on the outfield stands. Plus, I hope to get down again next week for some fresh looks.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
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"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 view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
Inexplicable bright yellow baseball amid the trees.
The completed promenade
In addition to the Pro Shop facade, you can see more gravel being laid before the final plaza surface is poured.
Yes, TC is smiling.
Target HQ main entrance. Ballpark resemblance? (Inset.)
The original Candlestick Park
Looking toward the Farmer's Market site from the balcony of the 573 Club at TF
Wow! Looking good.
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
Secret entrance exposed!
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
The service entrance area in left-center, now with bench seating
Serious home dugout work in progress.
You write the caption...
Wrigley Field. Paradise? Not from these seats.
Evidence of a food court behind the seating above the batter's eye
If you want, you can ask those folks how the game is going -- and even get a little bit of info from the big screen (Grandstand)
Here's a first view of the surprisingly spacious walkway on Fifth between the ballpark and the LRT platform.
The HERC side, viewed from Fifth Street.
More of a bird's-eye view of the same area.
Better them than me
Scoreboard in profile against the skyline
This is the outside portion of the Metropolitan Club.
This guy at the Puckett atrium chef stand caught me taking the picture and said I should stop back later because he was "just getting started." I still don't know what he meant.
This looks like a Twins Pub, but is actually the scoreboard operations.
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
Signature elements. (And they wonder why we think the real trees look so small...)
The circulation ramp on Fifth Street is shaping up very quickly.
At left, across the tracks by that pile of dirt is where the Northstar commuter train platform will be built, and where Twins fans will apparently NOT be able to get a train after night games. (For reference, that's the Fifth Street bridge, with the ballpark site just beyond it. The east corner of Ford Centre is just visible at the right edge of the picture.)
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