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 3045 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Our cantilever friends will be happy to learn that there will be sections with views like this in the new stadium.
TCF Bank Stadium. Not for baseball, but still pretty cool to watch being built.
This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
Even today, throw a fastball to that guy at your own risk.
The pouring is taking place at the very bottom of this photo.
The Carew lounge was all ready for some corporate event.
New Year's Eve, 2008
This is the Carew gate covered in plastic.
(Click to enlarge.)
Apparently, there will be public restrooms accessible directly from the plaza.
This view looks up Fifth Street toward downtown and shows how the LRT tracks sort of snuggle up to the ballpark.
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...
Site of the proposed new Atlanta Braves ballpark. Look familiar?
If you are into shade, there are lots of opportunities. This is from the last row in section 108 -- scoreboard not blocked in the least.
What are they hanging over there?
The french fry lights were on!
One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
That's Fifth Street (and a tattooed arm) in the foreground.
It looks like the Target-themed signage has spilled out to the surrounding area (this was taken from the entryway to the B ramp from Third -- the 394 entrance ramp tunnel)
The county of my birth!
I meant to include this shot the other day. It's the new LRT bridge being built next to the remaining half of the Fifth Street bridge. The new half is almost TWICE the width of the portion torn down. And the other end runs right into a HERC administration building! (Click to see the view from nearly the same spot about 85 years ago.)