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 3044 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Location for automated ticket machines
The main concourse is a very busy place at all times.
A classic profile on the horizon
Workers against green
Site plan for the new Nationals ballpark, with the size of the Rapid Park site overlaid
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
Bird's-eye view of the trees
This was billed as a diagram of a super-suite. I'm not quite sure just where this (or these) will be located.
Hey! That limestone looks familiar!
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
Ready for action.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
Wind veil install from across Seventh
A glimpse of the rather plain west facade (the side which faces the HERC plant).
Viewed from a different angle, it seems fair to wonder is some of those seats will have slightly obscured views. Yet, if they're cheap, that's not a problem.
This may look like just some guy (perhaps a spy) headed for the train. But it's actually the Northstar engineer!
The Metrodome is converted to its football configuration after the Twins game on August 29, 2002
Saints between innings
Branding on the plaza
This is amazingly close to completed. It's a short tunnel entrance ramp to 394 underneath the outfield stands.
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
This is the view from where the plaza will connect to the walkway on the west side of Target Center. This presumably aids traffic flow back to the A ramp, and perhaps to the skyway connection (though the doors to the skyway right there are typically exit only).
Nathan greeting the other pitchers on the all-Metrodome team (October 4, 2009)
Fifth Street louvers way up close
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
The outfield stands as viewed through the unnumbered gate
These two sections are within a few feet of one another.
Wrigley Field viewed while approaching on foot from the northwest
From last week, you can see the piers taking shape. I believe that the front row, visible here as just forms and reinforcing rods, is the front edge of the plaza.
"Hey, Ma, it says here we go in at gate 34. Must be all the way around on the other side!" Seriously, though, this is a really inspired idea.