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 3019 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
This would be easy to miss, but I found it on a cart located directly behind the Batter's Eye seating on the upper concourse in center field.
Site of the proposed new Atlanta Braves ballpark. Look familiar?
The blue line now indicates where the back of the accessible seating ends and standing room begins.
With the engine behind us, we got a real sense of how fast we were going by looking out the front (back) window
Mound from the other side
A sign that your mall is all but dead: roped off escalators. (This is at about 4:00 PM on a weekday.)
This is a slightly blurry view of the pavilion in center. It has a quirky shape, but one which is completely consistent with the overall ballpark design. Nice work there. You can also get a glimpse of the greenery which will rise above the fences.
View from the Overlook
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.
Skyline to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the outfield with you... (click to enlarge)
Note that the sign in the background will NOT be changed because "Twins Way" doesn't extend this far north.
That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation
Discovered on the upper concourse!
The plate marker is just to the left.
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
Standing, standing, standing.
Wind veil install from across Seventh
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.
Click to enlarge
For reference, this is that same area as viewed from the seat locator.
Legends Club seats in context (above the main concourse, below the suite level)
Home Plate Box, Section 111, Row 8 or 9-ish (Click to enlarge greatly.)
The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?
It's a great view of the action, though standing here is somewhat discouraged.
Bird's-eye view of the trees
No arches. No brick. No girders. Classic.
This is the revised version of the center field pavilion (without the restaurant). It looks like there are no seats, just some ledges for people to sit on. It reminds me of the seating on the "bridge" which sticks out of the new Guthrie Theater. Anything which lands in the trees will presumably be a home run, so the "411" sign is apparently just for fun.
Did I mention that the cheerleaders looked pretty sharp?
Very interesting detail starting to appear here.
Looking north (toward Fifth Street and the LRT station).
Clyde Doepner's Met Stadium Memorabilia (Source: LP)