The first drop of rain hit the window about the time I got home after yesterday's game. Though I've never seen one, somewhere in Target Field there must be an altar to the gods of weather (in ancient times, I think it was Zeus), because the timing of this drenching couldn't be more perfect.
Come to think of it, weather has been such a non-issue this season that it's easy to forget it was ever on anyone's radar (so to speak). Still, yesterday I got a glimpse of a little room just behind the visitor's dugout called, simply, "Weather".
It looked pretty much like a bunch of gear and a convenient location. And when I took the picture, the sun was shining, so all was calm. But I bet they saw this blob coming -- it was pretty big -- and wondered if it might impact the later innings. Seems like this could be a stress-filled place if there's any ambiguity in the forecast. And yet, it's not a weather control room. Or is it...?
That little room could sure be hopping in a couple of weeks, when a blob like this would be more likely to yield a solid than a liquid.
Fan number 3,030,673 came through this gate a few moments after I took this picture.
You may have noticed a gap in my live blogging yesterday as I covered the pregame ceremony. It contained the unexpected pleasure of seeing the whole team take the field to publicly celebrate what had happened the night before. Everybody was all smiles.
Yes, TC is smiling.
Just before that, I caught Jim Thome watching the highlights -- mostly his highlights -- from the night before on the big screen.
In truth, he didn't even watch the whole recap. He watched for a minute or so, then entered into a conversation with someone. He didn't even watch long enough to see all of his big moments from the night before.
If you're like me, you remember very well the day Thome signed with the Phillies as a free agent. There was never a question that he was out of the Twins' price range at the time, but there was also never a question that he had the temperament (and bat) which would be a perfect fit in the Twins organization.
It's probably not entirely a coincidence that his departure from the AL Central corresponded with the Twins' rise to prominence. He essentially defined the term "Twin killer," and those 19 games per year against Cleveland got a little less tense while he was in the NL East.
But I often wonder if some of those flags up there might have been a different color if Terry Ryan had been allowed to search Carl Pohlad's couch cushions back in 2002.
Thome as a Twin was always a great dream, and I'm still thrilled at our good fortune this year.
During that pregame show, I also got a great chance to watch up close as the grounds crew prepared the field. It's a little like watching a horticulturist ballet. As with so many things in life, it's all in the details.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
The grounds crew hopes that they will be able to simply sit quietly during the game, and on this day they did. But after the game, everything springs back to life.
I first noticed some unexplained sprinkler activity, then I realized that a couple of guys were running around planting little orange flags.
It's just a hunch, but I bet they're looking for divots.
We've heard about small grass repairs which have taken place, but that spot out in right still looks pretty ragged -- though you can't blame Michael Cuddyer anymore. (Hey, Jax, are the views any better now that he's at first?)
Trampled, repaired, and re-trampled grass
While I was tracking this post-game groundskeeping, I happened to bump into Anna -- the same usher who had handed me my Homer Hanky earlier in the day.
Anna keeps the riff raff under control.
Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies
Anna, a college student who got the ushering job through a friend who has worked for the Twins for a long time, says it makes for a great part-time job. She can work all the games she wants (this year she guessed she'd worked about 50) and gets $10 per hour plus a pair of comps to one game. And if she happens to get stationed in the right place, she's usually able to actually watch the games. (That beats the poor elevator operators.)
After the game, her job is just "to be present" at the field perimeter, and she said she wouldn't start shooing people out until she got a sign from someone else, usually about 30 minutes after the end of the game.
While at the concession stand yesterday I heard someone say that it takes nearly 900 people to operate the stadium on game days. What stands out for me, having been behind the scenes a few times now during games, is how controlled it all seems. These people are well-trained, well-supported, and, if Anna and George (below) are typical, very happy being part of the team. It's all kind of amazing.
On this day, George was handling fruits and veggies right inside gate 34.
Up next, a detailed look at Steve Berg's first draft of the history of Target Field.
This page was last modified on September 23, 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 3037 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This appears to be the floor to the home dugout!
Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
That warning sign doesn't mention anything about the potential for bludgeoning or limb removal by the revolving doors...
Looking back toward the ballpark from Third Avenue and Fifth Street. Again, the track configuration is now clearly visible.
Purple flowers above Second Avenue
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Wright's Marin County Hall of Justice, San Rafael, California (1959)
A path for workers -- don't touch the plaza! -- in front of three giant Chia pets
Concept drawing for the fan/player appreciation wall. (Click to enlarge.)
(Click to enlarge.)
The Ballpark Authority at work (Source: RP)
Time to paint those supports Vikings-purple.
Thome steps in.
The right field foul pole seen against a backdrop of Butler Square (itself a site of great significance in the history of professional baseball in Minneapolis)
Viewed from an A ramp elevator lobby.
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Wayfinding within the B ramp is still a work in progress.
This would have been the HERC side, though it's unclear just how far over the plant the retracted roof would have gone. My fear was always that they would have to shorten the track and more of the roof would have stayed over the ballpark. The only good retractable roof is one which disappears when not in use. I don't think they could have realistically created such a thing.
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
Work going on under the steel.
Larry DiVito takes a last check of everything before the game starts
Section 117, Row WC (applies to all the back rows under the Legends Club seating)
This design has a rather generic quality to it, but they appear to have considered the B garage. Though it isn't part of the model, they've clearly left room for it.
The Fifth Street side is pretty busy. There's a small street entrance to the B ramp, then ticket booths and an entrance gate, a rare exterior section not covered in limestone, the wooden screen covering the circulation ramps, the administration building, and finally (just out of view) the interface with Northstar. All of that sits behind the LRT action. How pedestrians will interact with this side of the park is a great mystery to me. You know that Metro Transit won't be letting them cross the tracks anywhere but at either end of the block...