It is rainy in the Twins Cities today. The sky is as grey as it gets, and the chances of actual sunshine are around zero percent. There is more cold, and more snow, in the forecast.
My yard is still partially covered with snow, the top of which now sports a crust thick enough that my kids can walk across it without leaving footprints or, thankfully, getting their socks and shoes wet. The remaining cover is thickest out in the middle of the yard, about where home plate generally gets placed, right in front of the garden bed that my mom will fill with hostas in a few weeks. Those plants will be mined over and over all summer long for balls which got by someone's bat, but my mom doesn't seem to care. She's a fan.
On the boulevards, the gigantic snow piles I created with my own muscle power have been steadily shrinking away from the sunshine of the past week. Their edges, once plump and tall and foreboding, are now scalloped and dirty and oddly crystalline. If I do have to shovel later this week, there will be a place to put it all. That wasn't true a couple of weeks ago.
But the disappearing snow is revealing something that I always forget about: The yard beneath it is still just as scruffy as it was when the first snow covered it so beautifully last fall. If there is a gift to winter, it's that all the sins of summer are shrouded for a time -- not exactly forgiven, but at least put away. Dormancy has its virtues.
Now those memories emerge, and the hidden things look once again like they need tending: The pitching got better, but the hitting got worse. The base running is an open question, as is the defense.
Wait, what just happened? Let's see, I was talking about the grass and leaves and general muck of my yard, and then...
On Opening Day, everything is about baseball.
As I write this, the sun is defying the odds and peaking out through a small break in the overcast. It reminds me that today all teams are 0-0 and, regardless of the forecast, anything is possible.
Reports in the media have been generally favorable toward this year's TwinsFest reboot. I didn't get to go, but here are some highlights as reported by BPMers who did.
First, from CSG Mike:
The crowds were not bad on Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm, considering it was "sold out." I think they probably limited it to the right number of tickets. I would compare it to a full game scenario in the LC. Make sense? Overall the spaces seemed rather disjointed. Unlike previous TF where it was all held in one giant space... They used the Suite level, LC, and service level (-2)...
Steve Maki, the Metrodome’s head of operations...said that long time staff from the MSFA and Mortenson went to the controls of the fans that hold up the building this morning, and one by one took turns shutting them off. "It wasn’t three-two-one, but still symbolic of taking down the building," Maki said.
Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call. In that circumstance, the crew chief is not obligated to invoke instant replay if requested by the manager.
Well, it's finally all over. Are we sad? Even a little? Really?
What is there left to say about one of the most maligned sports venues in the history of professional sports? That it served its purpose? That it was cost effective? That it was sufficiently warm/cool/dry on those too cold/hot/wet days? That some interesting things happened there? That some of our teams won? That a lot of people shouted, or roller-bladed, or even worshiped there? That the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney and U2 played there? That it could be converted from one sport to another in just a few hours?
"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.
I noticed this detail while taking the previous picture. I figure that it must be the VIP entrance from the surface parking lot. I don't think there is any parking inside the ballpark, so this entrance will likely be for suite-dwellers and other VIPs, though I can't say for sure whether players will enter here.
Flowers. Real flowers.
Champion's Club details (click to enlarge)
A look at Gate 34.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
Seating mound (seen from the B ramp)
From the roof of the Minnekahda building (courtesy Bruce Lambrecht).
Here's a closer look at the bullpen area. It's hard to tell for sure, but I think there is still an opening to the concourse right above.
Now looking north, the tracks emerge from beneath Seventh Street as freight tracks only. The Northstar line ends at the northwest corner of the ballpark. One day, however, you can bet that other passenger trains will approach from the southwest metro on these tracks -- if our legislators are smart and persistent, that is.
The entrance at Gate 3.
Workers against green
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
Looking through it, you can see the outfield pavilion (upper deck at least).
A closer look at the bridge and walls. You can see where the tracks will be laid.
This is the entrance behind home plate (not visible in the renderings which have been released). It shows that the upper deck is set back from the facade -- a very good thing if it remains in the final design.
Looking up Fifth, with LRT tracks and B ramp at left
The Puckett atrium fireplace is just barely visible at the far left.
People! (In the Legends Club)
Some people will go to work here every day.
Home Plate Terrace -- really great seats; maybe my personal, budget-based favorite
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
A cold afternoon in 323, but we had our trusty Twins blanket -- made by my mom when Noah was born.
A little ground's crew action in the first inning the other night.
This was from January 19, 2007, when it looked like wonderful things might never happen here.
I took this because of the view reflected in the store windows. (The store is cool too.)
Eleven flag poles
Glove from above
Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh
These are the footings for the staircase which will connect the plaza to the skyway.
The right field overhang as seen from Seventh Street (with dude)
Dave St. Peter introducing the first physical models of the ballpark in June 2007