The improvements are numerous, starting with getting rid of the restaurant. The new seating is very welcome because these will probably be cheap seats.
But the expansion of flowers along the outfield fence is great (they can be seen on portions of the wall in the first design, but have clearly been expanded). I like this so much better than the Horrible Yellow Line favored in so many places. I have to believe that the flowers will make their way into discussions of the ground rules at home plate before games. How cool is that?!?
I'm not a gardener. In fact, I wish I had the aptitude. But whoever lived in my house before I bought it was a great gardener, and planted a spectacular variety of plants which bloomed at various times of the season. There always seemed to be something new in bloom, with the colors shifting throughout the summer. If that is the type of thing the Twins have in mind, it takes a great idea and nearly perfects it. Imagine a certain color of flower which only blooms in October!
Evidence of a food court behind the seating above the batter's eye
The renderings are ambiguous, but the new animation makes it clear that there is no hand-operated scoreboard out there. I know that some will grumble about this, but for me, building a hand-operated scoreboard into a new park is kind of like installing rotary phones in telephone booths on the concourses.
For parks that were built during that era, keeping those elements of the past is essential. I can't imagine Wrigley or Fenway without them. But adding such anachronisms to new parks seems silly and gimmicky. It is best avoided.
If you've been to Miller Park you know that somebody runs around behind the outfield scoreboards changing numbers throughout the game. Well, through the first few innings at least. Then they get tired. Very, very sleepy. Maybe they get free beer back there.
When I was last there the Twins were in a pennant race, but the scoreboard updates got less and less frequent as the game progressed. By the ninth inning of the game I was watching, the "classic manual scoreboard" had been stalled on the fifth inning of the Twins game for about an hour. In one spot there was a little window where there should have been a score.
Maybe they just have bad help. But really, it's kind of stupid. Technology isn't always a bad thing. On the other hand, gimmickry is always a bad thing.
For those concerned about it, there is clearly a TC logo on the front of the scoreboard. Of course, the scoreboard design will probably be one of the last things finalized, but at least it's clear that the team intends to keep this iconic symbol around. (The newer logos are fine, but for those of us who became fans as kids in the 60s, the TC logo is and always will be the team's official logo.)
Limestone facing and flowers on the right field overhang
This was in the original design and has been retained: the front of the right field overhang will be faced with limestone. It's a great way to connect the interior to the exterior (it also appears behind home plate), but could certainly be a game changer. Balls hitting limestone will probably take a hard bounce back toward the infield and still be in play. A visiting right fielder who thought he was going to make a great catch at the wall may find himself making a desperate throw to the plate to prevent an inside-the-park homer.
To me, that's not a gimmick, nor is it disrespectful of the game. It's a reasonably small quirk, that comes about -- at least in part -- because of the shallowness of the ballpark site in that direction. That's the very best reason to build in something like that.
It looks like the standing room above the bullpens and batter's eye have survived. I'm a little unclear on this, but I think they are just concourse walkways, rather than seating areas or food court or something.
The flag poles have been sited, and a flag has appeared on top of the foul pole!
OK, this is starting to feel like one of those "find 10 differences between the photos" puzzles...
"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.
Bronze glove delivered (awaiting installation) with Met flag pole horizontal behind the gate
2007, Noah's first game (Torii's last)
Viewed from another angle, you can see that the bullpens now sit beneath the upper deck outfield seating.
Note reflected sunset (7:30 PM). Could be a worry...
Guerrier had tossed a ball to a fan wearing a Twins jersey, who dropped it. If you're going to wear the uniform, he was saying, you gotta make the play. The ball ultimately went to a fan wearing a Randy Moss jersey, and everybody laughed.
Pile driving in progress
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.
Better them than me
This is the start of construction on the Northstar platform which will feed under the bridge and to a lobby with escalators and elevators just inside the ballpark's public concourse. Compared to the ballpark construction, this looks kind of puny. But the work just to get the trains to come has been positively Herculean. Future generations will look back at this with awe.
This is where you will put out your butts -- I mean enjoy some pretty flowers.
The official ballpark development area
This may look like just some guy (perhaps a spy) headed for the train. But it's actually the Northstar engineer!
Plaza seating installation
Final Metrodome baseball sight
No, that's not Kent Hrbek. It's catcher Glenn Borgmann.
This gate opens onto Seventh Street from the circulation ramps, but it appears to actually be an entrance gate, rather than an exit gate. It has something of a Bat Cave feel about it because it's not a gate proper, but an area of louvers that will swing in, virtually disappearing when closed...
The wall of brands at General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley (Source: RP)
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.
Double plays will be turned here.
Concept drawing of Coomer gate (click to enlarge)
A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).
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...
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)
You'll be able to park here for a quick stop at the Pro Shop or ticket window.