Three weeks ago this was a patch of scruffy trees. Now it's a patio. In case you were wondering, that's where I've been...
Where have the boys been for the past 10 days? I hate these stretches when the game gets all distant and, well, unpleasant. Why isn't it here, on that stretch of grass we put up just for them to play on? Why can't they play all 162 within earshot? And win them all?
It's not a reasonable stance, I know, but that's how I feel. OK, not really.
My past 10 days have included, among other things (see photo), trying to explain to a very skeptical five-year-old why we should root for Derek Jeter on this one particular day, when we root against him for the whole rest of the season. It's definitely more absurd than you might at first think.
Not nearly as absurd, however, as the 49-minute monstrosity which passes for a pregame show to the All Star Game. The cast of some f-ing Fox show was singing some f-ing weepy slow song that, at the very least, wasn't the f-ing Star Spangled Banner, and should have been penalized for delay of game start.
And then, when we finally get to the SSB, we get this insanity:
As a baseball fan, I don't really care. But as a musician, I'm embarrassed. That's beyond ridiculous. Unless you are a songwriter, and it's your song, you have no business messing with the melody. Just sing the damn thing.
Speaking of being a musician (I have no theme again today, just a collection of stuff), if you're at the game Friday night, listen carefully for this song on the PA:
OK, I'm biased because I produced/recorded/mixed it, and my brother, Scott, is the drummer. Mike plays and sings everything else, and wrote all the songs. Click here to see a video we did for one of the other songs, and here to see us playing something completely different live at the Fine Line (I'm on bass, and we were all younger). As an aside, if you know Mischke, you know Mike's work.
We're told that the song will be played about 40 minutes before the game, and again somewhere around the 3rd/4th innings.
Both Scott and I will be in attendance, since tonight night is BallparkMagic Night at Target Field II, courtesy Mike Menner, whose 20th annual Fiesta de Beisbol takes place this weekend in south Minneapolis. Mike describes the weekend as one "which celebrates all that is good in the game...or something like that."
The party starts with Friday's game, but continues all through Saturday, including games actually played by attendees at Sibley Park in south Minneapolis, followed by a feast of homemade brats and a fabulous Hootenanny back at Mike's house.
Lest you think this is a small affair, Mike prints up a brochure every year, puts a group of 100 together to attend the Twins game, and hosts potentially many more for the rest of the festivities. It sounds very cool.
Unfortunately, I cannot attend because I'll be hosting birthday parties all day Saturday for Noah, who is turning five. He will also be at the game Friday night -- a special birthday treat. For those who'd like to offer their well-wishes (or cotton candy -- all he really wants), look for us in section 316, row 10.
Here are a couple of bits more closely related to the ballpark.
First, I was browsing through a collection of photos on Facebook which were posted by the youth group at Holy Trinity (where I conduct the adult choirs). Much to my surprise, they got a tour of Target Field, and the only photo I've seen yet of the visitor's clubhouse!
The visitor's clubhouse at Target Field. (Photo by Javen Swanson)
Pretty spartan compared to the home clubhouse, eh?
Next, I was out at the Mall of America this afternoon (shopping for birthday presents, you know) and caught this out of the corner of my eye in the Ikea parking lot:
I haven't been able to confirm it yet, but this looks to me like it's been there since the days when I sat in a sweaty Ford Galaxie 500 trying to inch our way out of that lot after a Twins game. Can anybody confirm this?
Fire Gardy? Trade Delmon? Bench Mauer? Say tsk tsk to the rotation? Commit ritual harakiri after dropping out of first?
Aren't we all just a little bit on edge these days? The Twins are only 3 1/2 games out of first, for crying out loud (EDIT: 4 1/2 games, ouch) on July 15.
Five years ago today, the day my son was born, the Twins were nine games over .500 at 49-40, and in 2nd place in the AL Central. And we all know full well that they went on to -- um -- uh oh, I probably should have checked my facts before starting this sentence, because it seems they went on to finish, oh I hate to even mention it, they finished the 2005 season in 3rd place.
Just a game, people.
Photo by Jared Wieseler
A damn beautiful game at that.
(But while we're on the subject, Bill, we need pitching. And a third baseman.)
"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.
Scoreboard installation in progress
This will be a great sight on game nights.
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)
A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.
This is the view from the Seventh Street circulation ramp. It will eventually be covered by the wood louvers.
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.
Pile driving in progress
One half of those windows are well-used.
(Click to enlarge.)
Some details are visible here, like the back of an escalator.
Where you are, and where you can go.
Detail of the Puckett wall hanging
The green is a composite of the topmost seating areas in the new ballpark. The gray is a scale diagram of the Metrodome.
The electronic sign has been corrected (and never forget that ballpark is one word, not two)
All that's left is to add wood! (Seventh Street circulation ramp.)
The Pohlads were loose. A-Rod looked, um, you decide.
The shade of the canopy gives way to a brief shaft of light. It would do the same again a short while later when the sun passed through that tiny open sliver between the View and Terrace levels.
Photo by Tyler Wycoff
The Hrbek gate is directly below. It's a lively place after a game.
Glove from above
Here are some less intrusive things things you can actually get at the ballpark.
(Click to enlarge.)
Spring of 1982 (click to enlarge greatly -- can you pick out Kent Hrbek?)
At Comerica Park, some aisles have railings and some do not.
These outfield stands will likely remain visible to passersby.
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.
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:
Ballpark elevation viewed from the promenade (HERC plant) side. (Click to enlarge.)