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A Tale of Two Outfields

November 3, 2007 2:49 AM

Here, for your perusal, is a detail from the new renderings of the outfield seating as compared to the original design:

Revised outfield configuration

Revised outfield configuration (courtesy HOK Sport)

Original outfield configuration

Original outfield configuration

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!

Outfield food court

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.)

Outfield overhang

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...

Comments


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Nice write up Rick. I have noticed HOK definitely kept fan comfort in mind. There are several areas for the fans to get away from the weather (hot, cold or rainy) and still be able to see the game. There is the 360 degree concourse, almost a 360 degree concourse on the second level, the building in left field, and the three enclosed clubs on the upper deck behind home plate. All of these areas will provide protection while still being able to see the game. I think the three clubs on the upper deck are going to be a hella good time...you can be in a bar with floor to ceiling windows to view the still game.

Posted on November 3, 2007 at 10:55 AM by MOJO Highlight this comment 1

Nice article Rick! It's getting more exciting by the day as the reality of this ballpark begins to take shape.

Does anyone know about the left field grandstand and whether or not they will be bleachers or traditional seats? I still haven't heard much about this concept, bit it appears from the animated video that they will be seats. It would be nice to have some actual bleachers out in left field.

Also, I hope the Twins put a REAL organ in the new ballpark. Whatever they currently have in the Metrodome is terrible and just adds to the blandness of the baseball environment. What would be better than sitting outdoors with a REAL organ at the ballpark.

Posted on November 3, 2007 at 7:43 PM by Luke Highlight this comment 2

Luke,

I'm trying to get clarification on the types of seating. I hope to hear something on Monday.

It could be that they haven't made those decisions, but the animation shows some bench seating in right field (to the right of the overhang).

The article I'm working on now, for posting later tonight, will address that issue further.

Posted on November 3, 2007 at 8:14 PM by Rick 3

nice job, rick.

have we come up with a cool nickname for the angled seating section in right-center?

Luke, I think the organ they have at the Dome is about as real as an organ can get at a ballpark. I've actually seen her playing it, and the sound isn't that bad, relatively. At least it's not circus music, like they have at The Cell.

Posted on November 4, 2007 at 9:10 PM by mike h Highlight this comment 4


This page was last modified on January 21, 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.


September 23, 2007



Looking back toward the doorway into the club



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).



Fifth Street louvers way up close



The Pro Shop.






That's part of the wind veil, waiting in the B ramp for installation












One of the sweetest sights of the day -- the Dome, and only through passing bus windows.



Puckett atrium chef stand menu



This looks south and shows the track configuration for Northstar. The platform shown is just a placeholder. To the best of my knowledge, concept drawings for this platform have not been released. Keep in mind, this is NOT part of the ballpark project. It is completely separate.



You can't get there from here.



A view into the park down Sixth Street from just beyond Hennepin. Note that one side of the street contains century-old, classic buildings -- structures which are likely to last another century or more. The other side, not so much. (Click the image to see what it looked like from exactly the same spot 97 years ago.)



Checking out the bike racks on the promenade.



For reference, this is that same area as viewed from the seat locator.



The scoreboard terminates the view on Fifth Street as seen from Hennepin



A skyway-level view down Seventh Street.






I set up my late inning "office" at the drink rail behind section 206



The outline of an infield has appeared on the asphalt in advance of the ground-breaking on Thursday night.



Infield dirt used as accents






Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).



August 2001 (a month later we were engaged)



Love the LC!









The heretofore unseen north facade (click to enlarge). Does it look like a ballpark? And what's with the bamboo?



At Comerica Park, some aisles have railings and some do not.



Can you name that field? (Braemer Park, Edina)












Here's the field of posts which will support the third base side of the grandstand. Some walls have started to appear about where the Northstar riders will enter the park.



Wanda's view!






This is one complicated streetscape.



Midway Stadium (seen from our tailgating spot across the parking lot)



Dan Kenney, my tour guide






One of the many supports being built over the tracks.






This is what I was working on while my photo was taken (click to see a VERY BIG version).






Stairs down to the sidewalk from the skywalk over Seventh



Lots of speakers, but in some places, no sound.



Eleven flag poles





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Scoreboard as viewed from Fifth Street.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

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Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


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