Minnesota is something of a climatological miracle, isn't it? This was taken a scant six weeks ago:
Now, the bushes which were beneath that six-foot-tall pile of snow (which I created by hand, I might add, and which got taller after this picture was taken) are once again visible in all their winter-mangled glory.
Unlike Target Field, my grass is brown, kind of squishy, and covered with that unsettling grayish snow mold. But there's a home plate, three bases, and a pitching rubber out there. Batting practice is once again a nightly occurrence.
I can count on one hand the number of days since I had to bundle up the kids in their winter coats, but it seems like a distant memory.
So, for that matter, does Target Field.
When we last left the home of the Twins, it was on the heels of a loss to the Yankees. It's an odd parallel with this year's home opener.
But let's remember that, regardless of the outcome, those glorious October nights were completely perfect for outdoor baseball.
All throughout TF's inaugural season, it seemed like Minnesota itself -- even the shape of the prevailing winds far over our heads -- was glad to have outdoor baseball back.
Last summer seemed a little bit sunnier, a little more perfect, than any of the preceding 28, didn't it? We could all be forgiven for wishing it would never end.
But as I was leaving the last game last season, I remember that sinking sense of ending -- uncertain but palpable. At the time, there was still a chance that the boys would be back for one more game which would, if necessary, decide the ALDS. It was hard to say goodbye to the season and the ballpark that night, and I could not. I wanted to hold on to that chance.
The first season in the park had been so beautiful, full of exploration and wonder -- and great baseball. For every one of us who followed the building of the ballpark closely, there were at least a thousand who had not, and for whom a look in any direction brought a surprise.
Late in the season, I started looking for people having that experience, just to soak in their expressions. And though you could see it on the faces of kids, that was nothing compared to the faces of the older crowd. It was as if the dead had returned to life.
Baseball is a game of life and death, but a ballpark is all about life. The architecture of a good ballpark vibrates with life even when the seats are empty. Target Field does that.
When the seats fill, and the fans begin to breathe in sync with one another, and the shared experience gets stored deep within each person, good ballparks disappear into the moment. Target Field does that.
When the game is done, win or lose, the ballpark becomes a sentinel, a beacon back, a reminder that the game goes on. Good ballparks sleep lightly. Target Field does that.
After the first playoff game, I walked down to the service level, and caught an unexpected, sort of sad sight:
But when I asked the guy what would happen to those bases after he hosed them off, thinking they were about to be whisked off to either Cooperstown or eBay, his response was a bit of a surprise:
"We'll use them again tomorrow night."
There's always a next game. Even when you're watching your favorite team lose a playoff game, and there's no guarantee of another home game before winter, you know at least that there will be a next game.
So I hung around there for as long as I could, peering through the open gate out onto the now-deserted field.
I irrationally figured that, if I stood there long enough, the boys would have to come back and give the season a glorious send-off. Or, if not, maybe I could just curl up in a warm corner and hibernate until spring. (Looking back, that might have been preferred to all the shoveling.)
Eventually, I retreated through the north service gate, thinking warmly of the summer which was ending around me, feeling content that the season and the ballpark had met or exceeded most of my hopes and expectations. Even in disappointment, the Game had been great.
I took a long look back, and a few deep breaths of October air before getting into my car.
So, we didn't get that next game back then, but we're getting it today.
We're going home.
I'll see you there. (11:30 AM, gate 6, for the unveiling of the Tony Oliva statue.)
12 recent recognized visitors, including: CSG Mike, F_T_K, jctwins, Jorge, Stevie B, terry, Tom D.
This page was last modified on May 29, 2011.
"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 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.
I love this view of the Basilica.
The moat walkway viewed from across the park.
Typical SRO view upstairs.
Bag checking at Ball Park Lanes was incredibly simple, as was the pick up later. The line was short and fast-moving.
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
Detail at Gate 6
The right field overhang is in place, and the first base stands are starting to go in.
Look at all those flag poles! But wouldn't the one from Met Stadium look great just inside the gates in the middle of that entrance plaza?
Tony Oliva, R. T. Rybak and Mike Opat
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.
Don Swanson, left, in-coming commander of the Richfield American Legion, and Joe Kennedy, right, out-going commander, are pictured with the Legion's new flag pole, which once stood at old Metropolitan Stadium. (Click to enlarge.)
Sunday afternoon, WFTC-HD 720P
Location for automated ticket machines
I don't exactly know what this is. A first-aid station? Concession office?
Desolate. Dirty. Mysterious. Expensive. Unlikely.
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
The circulation ramp on Fifth Street is shaping up very quickly.
The connection from the corner of Seventh Street and Second Avenue. You can now see where the little grassy area and franchise history board will be (the triangular area in the foreground).
8:02 PM It's at peak, affecting mostly the upper deck.
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
Glass going in over the Oliva gate.
Hey! That limestone looks familiar!
7:42 PM It moves to the left in the image and begins to blossom.
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Not sure what those supports are for -- probably stadia.
Oh no! Beach ball! But click to enlarge so you can see the wide range of expressions on people's faces. (Photo by Jared Wieseler)
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.
Detail showing clubhouse and home dugout (click to see the entire drawing)
Door to the visitor's clubhouse.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
Click to enlarge
Click to see the full-size image.
This area will supposedly show the Twins chronology. Will it stretch back to 1901?