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After Midnight

July 8, 2016 11:01 AM

If you are like me, and I know that at least some of you are, you think that a good rainstorm can be almost as much fun as a ballgame. So a night that contains both? Well, that's pretty special.

* * *

It started with an invitation a couple of weeks ago from our own Mike Menner (Fiesta), who had a spare ticket to Tuesday night's game. We made some plans, did the ticket exchange, and expected to next see each other at our seats before the game.

Then the weather rumors began to catch my ear, ever so slightly. It started, as many summer storms do, with meteorologists seeing something murky in their extended forecast crystal balls. A full 24 hours before game time, the talk turned to the potential for Something Of Significance. By mid-morning on game day, the certainty of storms had become conventional wisdom, despite the complete lack of even a single cloud in the sky or blob on the radar.

It's truly amazing what the computer models can dream up, and we know that we should pay attention, at least a little, when all of the weather people are pounding the same drum. But we also know what that drum beat means as far as the ballgame goes: Nothing. Nada. Squat.

The Twins have their own meteorologists, with their own crystal balls, tucked away in a nondescript room directly behind the visitor's dugout. These mysterious non-public weather-watchers have a much different task from your average TV guy or NWS guardian of the public safety, along with a whole different set of incentives.

The only thing they want -- nay, need -- is to get the game in if at all possible. So they don't care about lines of thunderstorms, radar-indicated tornadic vortices, watches or warnings or even the rain itself, unless it's headed toward, or directly above, that relatively tiny patch of green grass on the outskirts of downtown. And they're not looking for a beautiful day or even clear skies. They are looking for a window; more specifically, a three hour window into which a major league baseball game can be shoehorned. And they want it even more if the alternative would be disrupted travel plans, with ramifications to the pitching rotation that no one really wants to contemplate.

I tried to keep this in mind as I started looking at blobs on the radar for myself sometime Tuesday afternoon. At first, I thought the whole thing would track to the north and there would be no disruption at all. On that basis, I made plans for everything family-wise (meaning transportation and food) that needed to happen before I could leave the house at the normal time for a night game.

But then more blobs started appearing, uncannily like the computer models had predicted. At first they were green, like a garden salad on central Minnesota's plate. But eventually they developed into those rolling boils we know so well, where fiery vegetables spawn on top of that otherwise leafy green weather salad.

At this point, it's impossible not to become your own meteorologist. You can see on the radar what direction it's all heading, about how fast, and whether it's getting stronger or weaker. I concluded pretty quickly, by about 6:30, that the game would be a complete washout. The reds and oranges stretched out to Marshall, and the green went all the way to South Dakota.

In the back of my mind, there were a couple of other considerations. I knew that green on the radar means light rain -- sometimes even light enough that you can play in it. This presented some hope. I knew that a day game was scheduled for the next day (because my kids were going). This argued for an early cancellation so everyone could stand down and be ready to go bright and early. But I also realized that they were playing a west coast team. This argued that a start of even 10:00 PM would be acceptable to the visitors because the game would be seen in prime time back home, which, in turn, argued for patience. Still, I didn't see anything but rain and storms on that radar. I certainly saw no window.

But the Twins saw something that I did not see. At some point they saw a potential window forming. They recognized that the storms were picking up speed at the front, and weakening quickly at the back. They correctly guessed that it would all be over by about 10:00.

Mike had sent me a message from the Townball Tavern around 6:30, deciding to call it a night. And who can blame him? It was torrential downpours at that point, with no chance they'd start on time, and almost no chance they'd play at all. I heartily supported his decision, though now I fear that my poor meteorology, conveyed to him via text message, swayed his decision too much.

I just couldn't understand why the radio and TV guys kept saying that the teams were going to do everything they could to get the game in. Watching the radar, it seemed delusional.

The sense that I would be leaving the house that night had started to dissipate, and so when the kids challenged the grownups to some Connect Four, I joined in. We hung out together in our basement family room as the storms rumbled by, marveling at the incredibly bright lightning, instant thunder, and winds that tipped our patio furniture. We talked, in casual terms, about where we might place ourselves down there in the event of some really severe weather.

Thankfully, at least in south Minneapolis, this was the kind of storm you can enjoy without worrying too much. Rumbles, rain, blowing branches, fleeting flashes. It was really the best that Minnesota summer storms can offer, without the fear that it might require defensive basement positioning.

As we played, I kept an eye on the radar, and left the radio on in the background to enjoy some of the Rain Delay Theater they broadcast. Dan Gladden's interview with Rick Dempsey was a great pleasure (and featured a great discussion of the competitive vegetable garden which used to be behind the outfield walls of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore).

Eventually, around 9:00 PM, I saw on the radar the same thing the Twins' weather seers had discerned much earlier. I clapped my hands when I heard on the radio that the first pitch would be thrown at 9:50 PM. By then, my kids would be in bed, and my spouse would be headed that way. There was no reason for me to sit around and watch the game on TV when I had a ticket sitting right on my desk. So I headed out with a big smile on my face.

This is the whole crowd, save for a very few in Legends and suites. The upper deck was closed all around the park.

In some ways, this was my dream game: A night game, when the ballpark looks like an oasis of light and life in a darkening city. A late night game, when it feels like when the Ferris Wheel is still running, but only one couple is riding, just before the midway closes. A cool game in the summer, when the sweat of the day's air has been cleansed away by a refreshing twilight shower. A post-twilight game, in which the game begins and ends under a sky with no sign of lingering daylight.

Unique scoreboard fun

A delayed game, when the only remaining fans are either very stubborn, or incredibly die-hard. A tiny crowd, where the individual voices matter, and some of them are coming from the dugouts. And a freebie, knowing that the ticket will be recyclable into another chance to see the boys of summer under more typical circumstances.

The atmosphere was loose. The Twins looked good. The fans were noisier than I expected, and included a surprisingly large contingent of A's fans. (I shouldn't have been surprised. What else were they going to do?)

With the upper deck (where my ticket would normally have led me) closed, we were told to sit anywhere -- except Legends, Champions, or the Dugout Boxes. That's nice enough, but I flashed on a 20-some inning game back in the Metrodome days, where there was no moat, and the few fans still there after the 14th-Inning Stretch got to sit right behind home plate. That would have been a nice perk (they could have simply closed the Champions buffet to anyone without a wristband, but I know, it's complicated).

Sue Nelson was a trooper, staying through the whole game, playing from an empty club to a nearly-empty ballpark.

I moved around a lot, but the whole time I felt like I was actually attending one of those late-night west coast games I used to fall asleep to on the radio when I was a kid. (Oh, Herb, I still miss your voice. RIP)

I think everyone in the park got on the big board except me and this girl, who, unlike me, gave it a pretty solid effort.

The Twins would not have had to play well for me to enjoy this, but they did play well. Good pitching from Tommy Milone, of all people. Lots of home-nine offense. Back-to-back homers from Vargas and Kepler (at opposite ends of the baseball physique spectrum), and a late but grand shot from Sano.

I didn't go there to eat, and there was hardly any food to be had. Only a handful of stands were open on the main concourse, each with only one register, resulting in absurdly long lines given the size of the crowd. I bought my scorecard at the souvenir stand inside Gate 29 just as the clerk was counting her till and covering everything up -- in the first inning!

You probably heard that the announced attendance was around 16K, the lowest official total in Target Field history. But my eyes would guess no more than 2K in the stands in the first inning, and more like a few hundred when the final out was recorded.

Among the die-hard attendees were a bunch of kids whose parents decided to stick it out. In the ninth I talked to one parent who had two children sleeping (deeply and uncomfortably) in their seats, with his third still clinging to consciousness. He said, with a wry smile on his face, that they'd been there since 7:00, and couldn't bear to leave early. Now THAT is a true fan family.

There were tons of fun touches. At one point, someone in the outfield shouted, "Day-O!" and was immediately answered by a lone voice from somewhere behind the plate. This led to a cacophony of solo voices doing the same from around the park, capped by the sound guys playing the real thing.

A's fans were in large enough numbers that they managed to fill the ballpark with chants of "Let's go A's!" during their eighth inning rally. After that, I overheard lots of smack talk back and forth right around the tarp, up the left field line, all in good fun.

After Sano's late homer, I heard a large chorus of very deep voices shouting, and it could only have been the Twins themselves cheering him around the bases. Can players on the field hear the dugout separate from the general roar of the crowd? On this night, they definitely could.

Foul balls were an adventure as kids came running from every corner when something landed in an empty section (which happened regularly). And the Twins ball boy seemed to be throwing more rejected balls than usual up into the stands behind the Twins dugout. It got so that the same few people seemed to be catching them all, and then tossing them to some kid who didn't have one yet. Score that: BB-Fan1-Fan2. (I read that the Twins were giving out gloves to kids at one point, but I didn't see that happening.)

My big celebrity sighting was Kevin Gorg!

When Robbie Grossman worked a walk in the eighth, at about 12:45 AM, the sound guys played a long cut of Patsy Cline's classic "Walkin' After Midnight." The crowd roared along (at least as much as a few hundred people can "roar").

I started noting times on my scorecard after midnight, which came during the seventh inning at-bat of the A's Matt McBride. The clocked flipped to 1:00 AM almost exactly as the final pitch was thrown.

* * *

There's a mystery which falls over the city and its ballpark at such a late hour. Even the lights of the skyscrapers beyond the outfield walls have diminished to almost nothing. Only their red aviation warning lights pierce the darkness, like rubies of prosperity. Nearer the ground, a few lighted signs remain, beacons of ongoing commerce. The trains are running, but the bell has a plaintive center that isn't noticeable during the din of a normal game. The sky is as dark as you'll ever see over a baseball game, which makes the ballpark lights seem that much more like sirens. The shadows themselves look different, if only because we see them through eyes which, but for this unique opportunity, might otherwise be closed.

Everyone in the place had made a conscious decision to stay out late into this night, and it was a spectacularly beautiful one after the rain passed. I wore a jacket and needed it. For most, it was a pretty loose experience. The toughest decision was whether to look for a dry seat, or use your pants to dry one off as you sat down.

Occasionally, you could see a question in the eyes of parents with sleeping kids: "Why are we doing this?"

There are a lot of potential answers to that question. For me, it felt like I was somehow at a private party with 50 of the world's best baseball players, and a few hundred of the biggest fans. And we were seeing something that most people were sleeping through. And while they slept, we were watching people making pitches, making plays, swinging bats, and hitting balls that shot like meteors -- early, secret Perseids -- across that black sky, tiny humans finding a way to slice the infinite mystery of night.

And I guess that's enough reason right there.

Comments


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Oh, Rick. That's just poetry. Thanks for sharing.

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 09:37 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 1

Well written. You've made a game played in dreary conditions in the wee hours of a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in front of a nearly empty ballpark sound fun and exciting. As "Deep Throat" said about people feeling sorry for H.R. Haldeman, "I didn't think that was possible".

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 09:51 AM by terry Highlight this comment 2

Glad you could get the game in. Being on bicycle and the probable late start were my primary obstacles. (Or, as we like to copy the 'O Brother Where Art Thou' parlance: ob-stack-les.)

Posted on July 8, 2016 at 1:08 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 3

1982 which saw the Twins worst record of 60-102...by July 10, after 86 games had a record of 27-59.
2016, on July 9, also after 86 ganes, Twins sit at 30-56. Just slightly better than that 1982 team.
I hate to be a party poo, but I just wanted to look into it.

Posted on July 9, 2016 at 4:22 PM by luke Highlight this comment 4

So you're saying a 106-56 record is still within the realm of possibility.

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 09:10 AM by terry Highlight this comment 5

So you're saying...they're gonna go 76-0 til the end of the season??
Lol. Somehow I don't see that happening.

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 11:13 AM by luke Highlight this comment 6

You're such a skeptic, Luke.

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 5:45 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 7

I've seen sports in this state far too long, Winona.

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 5:58 PM by luke Highlight this comment 8

Very nice write up Rick. I was at the Twins 22 inning game you mention, Aug 31, 1993. We moved our seats several times before ending up right behind the plate. I remember one walk issued to Carlos Baerga where you could hear the jingle from the chains around his neck.

Pedro Munoz ended it with a blast over the baggie, and shortly after I noticed the clock reading 1:20. The game started in August and didn't end until September.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 08:34 AM by StevieB Highlight this comment 9

At least our Twins are starting to play well. Over the last two weeks they have been averaging 6.7 runs/game and the starting pitching has been better. Very encouraging seeing guys like Vargas, Sano, Kepler, Rosario and Grossman hit well. Nunez and Suzuki continue to impress while Dozier seems to have found his bat again.

Where are all those Brunansky haters now??

Anyway, you are still 20 games out of first place and 24 games under .500....They gotta find a way to trade Plouffe. Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco should be made available as well if there are any takers. What do you do with Suzuki? Trade him? If you trade him, what are your options for catcher in 2017 and beyond? Do you keep Nunez around or do you try trading him? Most importantly, can we even trust Terry Ryan and the Twins front office to make any moves in the next 6 weeks? (July 31 non-waiver deadline and August 31 waiver deadline).

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 09:21 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 10

I believe Twins will hold a clearinghouse for a boatload of prospects hoping most will turn out (reality will be maybe 1 or 2 will turn out to be nothing special-maybe a reliever) and we will see most of them in September call ups and if they do well that will let Ryan sell hope for the future.....again. In the Strib he even mentioned including cash to facilitate trades and let us pick up part of salaries-especially thosae of Santana and Nolasco. Funny how they have played decent all of a sudden-all they are doing is auditioning for playoff contenders. It will be hard to dum Plouffe w/ him being on DL twice already this season. Suzuki and Dozier are as good as gone. Ryan would never connsider trading Mauer. Cripes the Twins marketing brass even tried a #voteMauer campaign for ASG....my god he was hitting .261 w/ 21 RBI and 8 HR at the time. Even Coomdog had better stats than that.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 12:26 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 11

One thing I did notice is the distinct LACK of Mauer photos around the ballpark. Lots of Dozier, not much of anybody else.

If, just as a fantasy, Mauer was thinking about playing for a contender, and Ryan was thinking about sliding someone else into the 1B, how would such a conversation begin? It would be a tough thing for either party to bring up, but once the subject was broached, maybe something could be worked out.

I know it's a very unlikely thing, but who out there might like to add Joe for a playoff push?

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 1:07 PM by Rick 12

Not sure on the Mauer question. With Joe's swing, hitting balls off the green monster at Fenway would be a natural thing and increase his average, but they are likely fairly set with Hanley Ramirez.

Anybody notice Arcia has slumped again? 0-20 in his last 7 games and .197 in the last 30. Anyone miss him after seeing what this current lineup can do?

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 2:11 PM by StevieB Highlight this comment 13

Yea, the whole #voteMauer campaign was a joke and an embarrassment in my mind.

Joe Mauer does have a no-trade clause so it makes me wonder if he would even waive that. And if so, if he would provide a list of teams he would be willing to be dealt to. I just don't see it happening but I have been wrong before.

I agree that moving Plouffe might be difficult with his stints in the DL this year but what do you do with Sano upon Plouffe's return? You need to keep Sano at 3B as he is your future. It was stupid to move him to the OF in the first place. Your OF has been very stable recently with Grossman/Santana/Kepler/Rosario. Do you start grooming Plouffe at 1B and RF? Vargas has been playing well as of late and he needs to be in the lineup as much as possible whether its playing 1B or DH.

Suzuki could be a hot-commodity but if you move him, who is your catcher in 2017 and beyond? Centeno? John Ryan-Murphy?

If you trade Nunez or Dozier, you always have Jorge Polanco to put out there.

Berrios can come up to replace a Nolasco or Ervin Santana.

The point is that your team is out of contention for 2016 which means you need to turn your focus to developing these young players. It does no good for the future health of your ballclub by keeping some of these veterans on the roster this year.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 2:44 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 14

** forgot to add Buxton to my OF list with Grossman, Santana, Kepler, Rosario

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 2:46 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 15

I have been following Arcia, and it ain't good. Souhan's article about Ortiz may be onto something. Maybe it wasn't JUST the change of scenery which helped Ortiz, but rather the kick in the pants of being released (and maybe drugs; there's always that possibility).

If Arcia is going to find a "next act" he may have to take a page from Ortiz's playbook and step up his game somehow. The killer for me is that I think he has that potential, though I think it had become clear that he wasn't going to reach it in a Twins uniform.

One of the reasons I bring up Mauer is the fact that it's not HIS SALARY that's really the problem. The Twins have lots of money that they aren't spending (though that will drop next year given the plummeting gate receipts). The real problem with Mauer is his POSITION, and the fact that not only can't he really be used anywhere else, he's now blocking potentially higher OPS hitters at what is typically the place you hide your weak-defending masher. Vargas is a late addition to that mix (and maybe fits that mold), and either he or Plouffe at first would seem logical as a placeholder until Sano needs to be there (which will probably happen quicker than anyone thinks).

But as long as Ryan is stuck with Mauer at first, he's got a bulbous roster that doesn't seem to fit the field or line-up card very well.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 3:04 PM by Rick 16

I thought Plouffe would have been gone by ASG. DL botched my plan. At least they've given up on Sano, the Right Fielder.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 7:14 PM by Fiesta Highlight this comment 17

Bunch of 360 degree views from inside USBS.

http://www.vikings.com/news/new-stadium/article-1/New-360-Degree-Views-Inside-US-Bank-Stadium/4dfc9480-20bf-4f75-b89e-ac9f38200055

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 1:27 PM by Brandon Highlight this comment 18

A former Twin now has his name on the AL batting title.
Apparently Manfred announced tonight at the ASG that the AL and NL batting titles have been named for Rod Carew and Tony Gwynn.

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 9:23 PM by luke Highlight this comment 19

Click my name for the "full list" of food options at USBS.
I'm not sure if we noted it here already, but sounds like Mystic Lake as naming rights for Club Purple.

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 06:05 AM by luke Highlight this comment 20

I love this new article Rick. It had to be cool to have that sense of intimacy in such a large space.

The Mets and Braves had a July 4, 1986 game that didn't get started until 9:04 PM due to a rain delay. There was another rain delay during the course of the game which went 19 innings and was finally won by the Mets 16-13. The game ended at just shy of 4:00 AM, at which point the few remaining fans were treated to the fireworks show they were promised. The residents near Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium woke up in a panic.

The removal of the interior construction cameras at US Bank Stadium has me fighting withdrawal. The specialty food seems impressive. I just hope that the basic stuff is good. If the hot dogs, popcorn, and pretzels are lousy, or if Miller Lite dominates the beer offerings as much as it did at TCF Bank Stadium, no exotic specialty food will matter to me as consolation.

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 3:46 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 21

I happen to recall, many moons ago, a Marlins game at Sun Life Stadium that wasn't rain delay or anything, just really REALLY bad attendance. If I recall it was less than 200 people at first pitch. And in a cavernous 70,000 seat stadium thats pretty bad.
I read that the owner went to each person and invited them to sit in the owners box.
I also read that players on the field could hear people's cell phones ringing.

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 9:12 PM by luke Highlight this comment 22

This is not about the game I just mentioned...but I saw

this trying to find corroboration about the other game.

Posted on July 13, 2016 at 9:18 PM by luke Highlight this comment 23

Anyone know if they still make Angie's Kettle Corn fresh at Target Field? In years past they have been set up out on the plaza outside of Gate 34 but we have not seen them this year. My wife and I are heading down to Saturday's game and was hoping we could get some fresh kettle corn prior to the game but am not very hopeful.

Posted on July 14, 2016 at 1:28 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 24

Posted on July 15, 2016 at 1:19 PM by luke Highlight this comment 26

"There are probably nicer clubs in some stadiums around the country, but this club reflects Minnesota and it reflects what I think this stadium is about." - Patrick Talty of SMG which operates US Bank Stadium

If that isn't a backhanded compliment, I don't know what is.

In other news, the Vikings have put a Polaris sign on the interior of one of the pivoting doors, that is to say one of the doors that isn't blocked by the video board that had to be enlarged when HKS didn't create enough room for one of the necessary size and the team okayed it in huge errors by both parties. My guess is the sign on the door will be picked up by placekicks at that goal post, but signature elements of the stadium (the doors and the view) have been cheapened yet again and for a sign that will likely generate little dough in the long run.

I never got upset when Sanford Health slapped its sign on Target Center, with Target later replacing it. I see the parallels, although the Target Center sign was not self inflicted so to speak, and also know that the doors were just hype to salve the wounds on those who were upset over not getting a retractable roof or outdoor stadium. However, this just seems like a bit much although entirely predictable.

Posted on July 15, 2016 at 4:08 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 27

Lol. You really need to get a grip Jorge. You act as if you're going to be living in this place. It's a football stadium not a museum.

Posted on July 15, 2016 at 8:46 PM by shackelford Highlight this comment 28

Honestly, it reads much more hysterically than I intended. I live a normal, balanced life (really!), and don't let this sort of thing keep me up at night or torment me during the day. In the long run, I'll go to the games, enjoy them, and will ultimately be looking at the field more than a pivoting door and any attached signs. It's just frustrating to see the Vikings compromise US Bank Stadium, no matter how minor it may be.

Posted on July 15, 2016 at 10:06 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 29

I hear you. That land o lakes bedsheet is what bothers me most. Still I cant wait to step foot in it a week from today!

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 03:52 AM by shackelford Highlight this comment 30

Perhaps the bed sheet is a temporary covering for a slicker, more permanent fixture.

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 07:03 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 31

I'm right there with you, Jorge (#29). When you spend over a billion dollars on something I would hope you'd get the details right.

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 07:19 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 32

The Land O Lakes bedsheet sign looks like a rather ridiculous afterthought, but at least its location is very inoffensive.

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 09:39 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 33

I can't believe that it'll be permanent. Is it possible that work on a permanent sign is going on behind it and the cover is meant to keep dust and debris off the freshly-cleaned seating underneath?

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 6:58 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 34

Tomorrow the Minneapolis fish wrap will have a section dedicated to USBS.
There is also an online version including videos and time lapse and a whole bunch of stuff.

Click my name.

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 8:20 PM by luke Highlight this comment 35

From a friend of mine tonight (I thought open house was NEXT week. No idea how they got in there).
The scope of the massive scoreboard. It is big.

Posted on July 16, 2016 at 10:43 PM by luke Highlight this comment 36

I think the open house yesterday was for the construction workers and their guests.

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 09:53 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 37

Look at all that leg room!

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 7:46 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 38

And Terry is out! Wow!

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 11:20 AM by DeePee Highlight this comment 39

Just in time for the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline!! Not that Rob Antony will be much different than Terry Ryan... Now you just need to do what Glen Taylor did and go out and find a guy that can come in and make an immediate impact. Someone from outside the organization. I don't think you can name Rob Antony your permanent GM because that will just be another Bill Smith, Terry Ryan repeat in my mind. You need to go outside the organization and revamp that front office.

More importantly, I think Pohlads might be finally feeling the pinch from declining season ticket sales and corporate sponsorships and August is when those renewals and agreements start kicking off for the 2017 season.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 11:33 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 40

Somewhere, Gardy is mumbling under his breath that this move was 5 years too late.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 11:49 AM by DreDogg Highlight this comment 41

They should try to lure Theo Epstein away from the Cubs and pay him 30 million a year. The Red Sox won 3 World Series with him and the Cubs certainly have the talent now to win one too!

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 11:50 AM by j2k Highlight this comment 42

As lousy as this season has been (1 for 23 with RISP this weekend - OUCH), I did not see this coming.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 12:10 PM by terry Highlight this comment 43

j2k, it's funny you mention Theo Epstein and the Cubs. One of his Assistant General Managers is Randy Bush. Given how high the Cubs are flying and his long time Twins status, including being a member of both World Series winning teams, I predict that he's the club's top choice if they go outside the organization to replace Terry Ryan. It gives them a name Twins fans of a certain age recognize who's simultaneously both new blood and old school.

As for Terry Ryan, this had to happen, but it's still sad to see him go out like this because all accounts I've ever heard say he's a very nice guy and Terry was the architect of those division winning teams of the 2000s. However, he never should have been brought back to replace Bill Smith. The game had moved on and Terry Ryan wasn't a fit anymore. Terry Ryan, like the rest of the Twins organization, was guilty of believing 2011 and then 2012 were aberrations and not a sign that the good times were over. Instead of being broken down and rebuilt, Ryan and company tried to patch up the team and hope for a bounce back, costing the Twins years in this rebuilding situation.

The timing of this firing feels very much like a case of Jim Pohlad, after sitting back for ages while a variety of mistakes were made, felt pressure from the outside, be it from his brothers, other family members, friends, random people at the country club asking him when the skid was going to stop or just feeling the media pressure.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 1:40 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 44

To me this feels like Pohlad checking in on deadline plans, not liking what he heard, and realizing that he needed to do something -- ANYTHING -- to have something to market in the off-season.

Good decision. Too bad. Sign of Hope. Probably won'the yield fruit any time soon.

Steal from the Cubs? Why not?

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 2:09 PM by Rick 45

I think that Paul Molitor is on borrowed time, especially if the Twins go outside the organization to get someone new on board. If Rob Antony or Wayne Krivsky get the general manager spot, the Twins will forfeit whatever marketing and political advantages that might come from this firing. The fans and media both want and expect new blood, not more of the country club approach to hiring that makes the Timberwolves of a decade or so ago look nearly revolutionary by comparison.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 2:32 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 46

So now it turns out the Twins told Terry Ryan a month ago that he was being let go at the end of the season, so Ryan decided to end his lame duck status and go now. Jim Pohlad made the comment regarding his decision to move Ryan aside and said "maybe the light should have gone on sooner" which is a classic passive/aggressive comment from that guy. The Twins may use a search firm to recruit a new general manager. That's nothing revolutionary in this day and age although the criteria on which candidates will be scouted and judged ultimately lies with the guys also responsible for this mess, namely Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter, among others.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 2:43 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 47

I for one have been waiting for this day for some time. Zero World Series or appearances. Zero ALCS wins or Appearances. 1 first rd playoff series win. Not a single playoff GAME WIN since 2004. We get the "be patient. I am responsible and will get this fixed" speech every year which i have repeatedly posted year after year. Enough is enough.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 2:53 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 48

The Vikings construction cameras have now added a camera in Eagan where site preparation on new team HQ and practice facility is underway.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 2:55 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 49

Is there a moneyball approach to hiring GMs?

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 3:47 PM by jared Highlight this comment 50

About 10 years past due.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 3:48 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 51

During the press conference Chip Scoggins asked Jim Pohlad if he'd studied the front office approach of other clubs. The answer from Jim was that he'd looked through every other team's media guide. That doesn't exactly make him sound like he's in touch. DSP has also made it known that the new GM has to keep Molitor as manager. I get that the Twins may think Paul deserves more time and a chance with a new GM, but some candidates will look at that and back away due to wanting their own guy and not wanting to be saddled with someone else's legacy. The Twins just don't get it.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 4:26 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 52

Jim Pohlad needs to give Glen Taylor a call. Bill McGuire, the Pohlad's, and Glen Taylor all own the new MLS soccer team, so his number has to be in Jim's rolodex. The Timberwolves are on the right track now after bringing Thibadeau in. He knows what he's doing and they will be successful with him at the helm.
The Twins need to clean house and start over. Times have changed and passed the Twins by. The "Twins way" is a failure.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 5:47 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 53

The way this is playing out just shows how little Jim Pohlad knows about running a baseball team and what is going on in the rest of the league.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 9:10 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 54

Just based on social media, which is admittedly a very skewed barometer for public feeling and taste, the decision to guarantee Molitor's safety in 2017 has diminished much of the bounce the team might have expected from a PR stance for firing Terry Ryan.

Posted on July 18, 2016 at 10:26 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 55

Completely agree Jorge. What a mess.

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 08:12 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 56

Anybody know if they boot you out after an hour in the open house tour this weekend? I see the tickets are on the hour!

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 09:49 AM by Twinfan Highlight this comment 57

I was wondering the same thing TwinFan. I have "tickets" for the first hour and will probably loiter as long as I can.

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 11:12 AM by jared Highlight this comment 58

I think the timed entry is ust crown control as "many people will be attending the event" as TicketDisaster put it.
Kinds like museums and stuff...you can stay as long as you like, it's just crowd control.

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM by luke Highlight this comment 59

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 4:33 PM by luke Highlight this comment 60

Couldn't imagine how much it will cost to park for A game.

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 6:32 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 61

It appears USBS is in it's soccer configuration. The retractable sections are all retracted 5-8 rows. They also installed another roll of turf in front of said sections. Must be getting it ready for the sod to be rolled out for the game on 8/3. It was never presented this way in the renderings but it looks good still. It's cool the retractable sections can go partway like that. The Dome was all or nothing. Brilliant!

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 8:16 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 62

The soccer game that is...

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 8:17 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 63

I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet...it's probably fairly new...there is now an "Eagan Cam" on the Vikings website.
Another project to discuss here on BPM!

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 8:53 PM by luke Highlight this comment 64

I drove by that today Luke. The site is enormous!

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 9:00 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 65

I look at the retractable roof stadiums in the NFL and am so glad the Vikings went this route. I think the fans will enjoy the natural light more than they think regardless of whether the roof is retractable or fixed. In fact, I think US Bank Stadium will feel more outdoors than the retractable roof stadiums in Indianapolis, Arizona, Houston and Dallas.

That will be pretty bizarre sitting in US Bank Stadium in December with your sunglasses on when it's 20 degrees outside.

I think we can all look back at Target Field's design as well and think the Twins/Populous did a very good job incorporating the canopy as part of the design to protect fans from the elements. If you have ever sat in the 300 level, you know that canopy covers pretty much rows 3-14. So much more open and enjoyable than a retractable roof stadium.

After the Target Center renovation is completed and the MLS stadium is built in St. Paul, I don't know if there is one other market in the country that will have such great facilities overall.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 09:01 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 66

I agree w/ Mike- you look at other markets and you have NYC which have the KNicks/Rangers at renovated Madison Square Garden, THe Islanders for the longest time played out at dumpy Nassau Co Colisseum, Giants/Jets sharing stadium at an industrial park at Meadowlands. In California Dodger Stadium is from 1965, LA Coliseum is from 1930's, Alameda Co Stadium (A's) is a dump being shared w/ Raiders (last shared professional baseball/football stadium left) ....and I am happy some of these gems are being preserved (Dodger Stadium, Madison Sq Garden) but point is they are not as tech savvy as newer stadiums....you know when u think about it there are indivdual stadiums which are bigger/grander/nicer than ours but as a collection I think Mike is right-I cant think of another market that has COLLECTIVELY what we have once Target Center is renovated and the MLS Stadium is built. Add in that the Saints ballpark has twice won Minor League Ballpark of the year awards and I think we got it pretty good here stadium wise.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 12:15 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 67

Also w/ exception of Lynx/Twolves non of our teams share a stadium which also makes us unique. Almost (maybe every other) market that has both NBA/NHL teams share arenas....Im trying to think of a market that doesnt and at moment cant think of another one.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 12:19 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 68

I noted on skyscrapercity that there was a lot of action going on at the stadium this morning.



Turns out they were announcing the X Games are coming to MPLS for the next two years.

Article

Also, someone threw one of the landscaping rocks through one of the windows, shattering it. I wouldn't say the rocks were out of place, but they are pretty big and could be a problem with unruly fans. Probably will end up being removed at some point.

Article

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 12:30 PM by jared Highlight this comment 69

Uh-oh. Wonder if this will be an ongoing issue...

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 12:31 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 70

Phoenix/Glendale is the only other market I can think of where the NHL and NBA teams are in different venues. However, it sounds like there are plans to explore building a new arena in downtown Phoenix to host both the Suns and Coyotes.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 1:10 PM by Mike (aka Mike) Highlight this comment 71

Mike- Detroilet. Red Wings play downtown, Pistons play in Auburn Hills.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 1:17 PM by luke Highlight this comment 72

Doesn't Toronto share the stadium with a cfl team

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 4:08 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 73

The Toronto Argos were booted out of Rogers Centre, the former SkyDome, so that it could be permanently reconfigured for baseball. Starting this season, the Argos now play at BMO Field which is on the site of the now demolished Exhibition Stadium. It has been expanded to hold just under 31,000 after originally holding 21,000 and is home to both that team and Toronto FC of MLS. To say some Toronto FC fans are a little bitter of having to share what they consider their stadium with the CFL team is putting it mildly.

To accommodate the Argos, grass came out in favor of turf and a popular fan deck section in one of the end zones was taken out and replaced with new retractable stands to enable the field to be of CFL length. The soccer fans are quick to point out that their team draws better and they feel Toronto FC's needs should not have been put aside to help the CFL team. Argos fans are quick to point out that the stadium belongs to the city, wasn't meant to belong to Toronto FC alone, should rightly house both teams, and that the expansion means that there has been no loss of capacity and the amenities are better for all. This makes the grumbling by certain Gophers fans over the Vikes camping out for two years at TCF Bank Stadium and Twins fans upset by the MLS team possibly playing games at Target Field seem like a love-in by comparison.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 4:37 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 74

Seems like soccer is the place to be. I kinda wish the Kicks were still around

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 5:09 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 75

The place to be if you want to be bored out of your mind for 2+ hours Leroy. No thanks! My opinion of course...
On another note. On the interior cam # 3 on the Vikes site, there is a US Bank Stadium bed sheet type sign hanging from the roof towards the east side. Looks out of place. In the renderings it looked like it would go on the far east wall. Not sure why they hung it from the roof.

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 5:18 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 76

Paul allen and Lester Bagley are doing a walking tour through the stadium on Facebook Live right now.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 1:44 PM by jared Highlight this comment 77

Gjallerhorn and signage in the upper east end.


Posted on July 21, 2016 at 1:53 PM by jared Highlight this comment 78

I enjoy Target Field very much and think its definitely a top 10 ballpark in baseball, but nothing really wows me about Target Field's design/architecture compared to US Bank Stadium. I think Target Field was more hyped up due to moving outdoors. Something that generations of Twins fans never experienced at the Metrodome.

Other than the canopy and the limestone facade, you pretty much get the same feeling in most ballparks with how they design the seating bowls.

US Bank Stadium on the other hand, is going to be quite an experience. The whole natural light effect as well as the pivoting doors will make this a one-of-a-kind stadium. No other NFL/MLB stadium will have the clear roof and large glass wall. You are going to feel like you are sitting outside but will be protected from the elements. You can see just how close the seats will be to the field looking at the outline of the football field.

I remember when Xcel Energy Center opened as well and thought the glass facade was very futuristic. The balcony style upper level too, literally sitting above the ice. Very well designed facility that remains one of the best to this day.

Anyone going to the open house this weekend...feel free to post your thoughts and/or pictures!! I won't get my first chance until the Vikings-Chargers game on August 28.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 2:47 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 79

9:00 AM Saturday. I hope they allow visitors on the field like they did with the press tour. I'd take the opportunity to lay down, look up, and get an Aaron Rodgers-eye view of the roof.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 3:40 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 80

I'm going in at 11am on Saturday.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 3:48 PM by luke Highlight this comment 81

That was funny Winona Mike.

I will be there at 3PM Saturday.

Not sure if the field will remain covered as it presently is. Thinking the stuff is down now for the Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Friday. Some say it is for the layout of a natural grass field for the upcoming soccer game. I think it is a shame if the field is covered. I think this open house is going to be pretty vanilla. Walk around the concourse, see one of the clubs...walk around the outside. That's it. I want to go on one of the guided tours later this year.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 4:00 PM by Dan Highlight this comment 82

The Gjallarhorn looks awesome. That picture is interesting for a couple of reasons. The Ghallarhorn is big, but when you look at it from the interior camera. It looks small. Gives an appreciation for the size of the building.

2nd. Notice the USBS and 3M signage in the background on the east side?? Just like the Land O Lakes sign

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 4:23 PM by Brandon Highlight this comment 83

I don't care for the giant fabric type ads that are up but it could have something to do with the ship theme. The two on the east side look like sails if you squint a little. They're trying

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 7:50 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 84

I'm going Monday morning at 9:00 AM for what the Vikings call a season ticket orientation, basically an open house. I can't wait.

The US Bank Sign may be in its current location to give it exposure for the grand opening tomorrow. That spot doesn't seem like a logical long term location and the actual logical spot against the east wall is currently occupied by scaffolding for some last minute work. I sure hope that's the case anyway.

The field may be covered in preparation for the soccer field, but it is definitely there because a good sized stage has been assembled on the field for the ceremony. There are also tables where I assume dignitaries will be having some sort of meal during the proceedings. This protects the turf from the weight of the stage and other debris.

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:05 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 85

Just like the woo-hoos tried to get The Wave into Target Field, you don't suppose the Vikings are trying to Metrodome the place by putting up ads on bed sheets?
Just to make it feel like home?
And have they erected the American flag over there yet?

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 06:07 AM by luke Highlight this comment 86

So the security point for the Legacy gate is on the plaza in front of the sculpture (it appears) this morning. I've been watching out for when they put up the metal detectors, this location outside of the stadium can't be permanent right?

Posted on July 22, 2016 at 11:36 AM by jared Highlight this comment 87


Nice place.
Just wish they had more areas open to look at.
I think they had all of about 15 sections in the end zone open for seating. And the Hyundai Club.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 11:43 AM by luke Highlight this comment 88

Hmm. I'm wondering if this "open house" is worth my time. I have tickets for 5:00 PM today, but if I can't get into clubs and other miscellaneous places, I'll probably skip it.

So, from those who have gone: Is this open house worth it?

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 11:47 AM by Rick 89

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 12:10 PM by luke Highlight this comment 90

We came and went just before the rain. It's pretty limited as to what you can see. If you have nothing else on the docket then it's worth it. If you are looking for an in depth look then you'll probably want to take the official tour down the road.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 12:31 PM by DeePee Highlight this comment 91

Cool pics Luke. Thanks for posting them.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 12:41 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 92

You're welcome :).
I tried to focus photos before snapping them. So hopefully they aren't blurry.
I do wish they had allowed us in the 300 level. Would have loved to see the view from way up there.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 2:50 PM by luke Highlight this comment 93

I've seen Tweeted photos from the 300 level today, so it looks like it's open to some extent. I'm going for one of the Vikings' season ticket orientation days on Monday. It sounds like basically an open house.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 3:25 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 94

Well I got there after it started raining and found out they started letting everybody in no matter if they had A ticket or not because of the weather conditions so it was crazy busy in there at about noon or so. What you could see was limited kind of disappointing and was hoping there would be different food stuff to try just like at the target field opening but they did not. They tease you with all these different food options at the stadium and all they had were hotdogs and brats. Would have liked to try different things. Well at least I got to see some of the place.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 4:38 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 95

I too was disappointed in the availability of concession options. We had walked all around the stadium til we found the first open concession stand.
I guess I'll do what DeePee and likely others will do, and take in a paid tour at some point.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 4:59 PM by luke Highlight this comment 96

We were in the 9am group. We had to leave shortly after for another event otherwise i would have made a few laps. When we heard the storm warning go over the PA, the first thing i thought was "wonder what the rain will sound like" and it didn't disappoint. It added a cool buzz to the place.

My pics are here with commentary in the description of each image.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 5:16 PM by jared Highlight this comment 97

I'd like to hear from others who were later in the day, but I got in at 10:30. We were in there for 2.5 hours. I am not an expert at crowd estimates.
But I feel, with the mass of people that were there at that time, and the limited access to many areas of the stadium, the circulation throughout seemed to be pretty good (being that my experience was mostly on the main concourse and a little bit in the 200 level). Didn't feel crowded or claustrophobic. Could move through with general ease.
I can't say anything about entry, because they didn't even scan tickets when I went in. They just looked at them. We got thru the security checkpoint pretty fast.
But I do feel, at least with this experience, the circulation was good. Way better than the Dome obviously. It also seems to me the escalators are double wide. That REALLY helped.
And the leg room in the aisles was ample. I was impressed.
My only regret was I went during the storm warning, and was not able to see the sun shine thru the ETFE.

Posted on July 23, 2016 at 6:49 PM by luke Highlight this comment 98

We did go to the 5:00 slot today, and the 300 level (at least a portion of the concourse) was open. They were funneling people up the escalators just to the right of the main entrance, and then forcing them down via escalators near the east end of the stadium.

As for the crowd: Tons of people. Tons of noise. Nobody checking bags or tickets. People coming and going as they pleased.

Until 6:00, at least. At that point, we got routed back toward the main doors, and they were clearly going to close things down promptly at 6:00. But that was OK by me. We were pretty much done, and had to stretch to make it last an hour. So much was off limits that we had pretty much seen it all within the first 20 minutes or so.

One question: When the big doors swing open, do the smaller doors that are embedded within them (the so-called "Legacy" gates) stay where they are, or do they swing out with the big doors?

As I looked at those things I thought, when are they realistically going to use those big doors? A couple of games in the fall maybe? In the preseason, like today, they won't want to let the air conditioning out. And by November they won't want to let the heat out. It's a weird amenity, and put me in the mind of that retractable roof at Le Stade (which I think only actually retracted that one time).

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 12:13 AM by Rick 99

Web cam images of the west entrance in the past have shown the small doors to be part of the big doors, and thus open when the big doors are open. Sort of like service doors in the main doors of very old garages and carriage houses.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 05:49 AM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 100

I misspoke, the 300 level concourse was open when we were there, as I had taken pictures of the portals, but none of the seating sections were open.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 08:52 AM by luke Highlight this comment 101

I went yesterday. The event as a whole was underwhelming. When I was at the TF open house I was excited with every turn around every corner.

Here, it just felt - big. And things were done on the cheap, from the seat cup holders to the vinyl section numbering on the concrete pillars and the stick figures on the restroom walls. (Those will be peeled/scratched off before preseason is even over.)

The Hyundai Club is gaudy (Hello, 1990s and "Saved by the Bell")and I feel like this building will feel dated sooner rather than later, which is unfortunate. I don't feel that way about TF or the Xcel.

TTH

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 09:58 AM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 102

Yes, "underwhelmed" works for me, too. Everything looked pretty much like what you'd expect in a Modern Stadium. Not much imagination to the finishes. Nothing really stood out as special -- except the roof, of course.

We're spoiled, I guess, because we've been through so many new sports facility openings in recent years. It would take a lot to wow us.

Maybe there's more to see in the areas we couldn't get to, but even those spaces, which seemed to be very well concealed from the average game-goer, are pretty much meaningless because they'll never be seen by most folks.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 11:15 AM by Rick 103

I went at 4pm -my observations: walked right in w/out even showing our tickets and no one appeared to be in charge at security-was a little irritated becasue we tried several times to get them on phone and wouldnt work-had to use a pc several hours later to even get the tix. Sn came out around 430pm and it got HOT in there down at field level. I think they could get away w/ opening the large doors at least through November. The surround sound system was AWESOME. I parked in ramp adjacent to USBS (Wells Fargo ramp the city is running) I paid at the ticket machine skyway level but when was in que to leave the gate was up allowing everyone to leave at once! Here I didnt even have to pay! Makes me wonder if that will happen on game days.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 2:33 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 104

Was hoping to try different seats in different areas just to see what they would be like just like I did at target field opening of course could not. And the seats I did try seemed to not have much room and were very close together and I'm not A big guy. Cant imagine what the seats will be like for the Super Bowl when there will be more seats. Last thing when the family all sat down at once in the seats we all noticed the rail the seats were attached to seem to shift and we were the only one sitting in that row.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 5:07 PM by Leroy Highlight this comment 105

The seating was one thing I paid attention to. I am 6'6' and have some long legs, that at the Metrodome were always crammed into the back of the people in the row in front of us. It made for an uncomfortable game experience for me unless the seats in front of us were open and I could throw my feet over and stretch out.

At USBS when we sat in the west end zone seats, I felt like there was good room left and right. But most noticeable was the extra room in front. I could even slouch a little, which never happens. The first row seats had a lot more room to the rail, people could walk through the row and you wouldn't even have to get up. Can't say that's they way it would be everywhere but in that section it was pretty good.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 5:37 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 106

forgot to mention -and I think this is a pretty Minnesotan thing to do-one of the larger gatherings was for a wall that had all (or many) of MN high school logos (or names of the schools) on a wall. THere was a touch screen to help u locate your school and a large crowd was there waiting their turn, taking pics, etc. $1.1 billion dollar palace and the most popular thing to see appeared to be to look at your school mascot or name of school on a wall...lol.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 6:34 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 107

I say "Minnesotan" thing to do because it reminded me of the crowd that waited in line for 2 hours in a cold steady rain back when the light rail first opened just so they could get a free (PACKED) ride down to MOA and back when they could have waited just 1 more day and NOT be in the cold rain for 2 hours waiting their turn and just pay $2.50 to do the same thing!

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 6:37 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 108

The Truth Hurts - I disagree with you in regards to the Vikes stadium! While I really like Target Field, there are some cheap looking aspects to it. The concourses look cheap and vanilla. The concession stand signs are boring and non descript. Bothers me that the Target Field logo etched into the limestone behind home plate is off center. I know it's because they want it to be seen on TV, but other parks have the logo directly behind home and still can see it on TV. They haven't resolved the batters eye yet when they took out the Pine Trees. Football stadiums can't be as unique as baseball parks as they all must have the same field dimensions. With that said, besides the Scoreboard blocking 3 of the 5 doors and a few bedsheet advertising banners that don't fit the vibe, I personally don't see the cheapness. I can see how someone might not like the exterior as it is kind of radical. Either you like it or hate it. Or it might grow on you. Other then that, it has all the things that will make it a strong NFL stadium and should be one of the best in the league. Even possibly get more then one super bowl. We'll see?

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 7:00 PM by Todd Highlight this comment 109

"Nothing really stood out as special -- except the roof, of course."

---LOL. THE main part of the stadium, and most important. What stands out for you at Target Field as much as the roof at US Bank Stadium?

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 7:49 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 110

And don't get me wrong, I love Target Field. A lot of very nice features and amenities. But it's an outdoor baseball field (like about 25 others that each have their "hook.") But NOTHING as unique and game changing as that roof at US Bank that literally makes you feel as if you are outside while still sitting inside in comfort.

Take away any "football vs. baseball" bias and I think it is clear which stadium is more unique/awesome. (And I have season tickets to both Twins and Vikings by the way and love each team equally)

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 7:53 PM by antifire Highlight this comment 111

Interesting quote from today's Star Tribune about MSFA's plan B for the open house yesterday:
"...said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. 'We saw rain in the forecast and decided to make a Plan B days ago.'

That plan included setting up concessions indoors and allowing the hordes of soggy visitors to move inside the stadium for a stretch. Originally, officials intended for ticket holders to be in the stadium only during their designated tour hour and then move to Commons Park for outdoor festivities".

So as some of us feared, it seems the plan WAS to basically usher a new crowd in every hour. While there wasn't much to see yesterday, it would have seemed very rushed to see the place in only an hour.

Uffda made a very good point about the LRT. I was there and yes it was packed and I think it was so bad we only went from Warehouse to Nicollet, and said screw it and left.

He is right, we could have done it the next day and paid. But at the same time, its fun to say you were there on opening day and one of the first to be there. I think the same can be said about USBS yesterday. besides, the many times I'll be at USBS for the next several decades, I doubt I'll get a free USBS lapel pin out of the deal, like I did yesterday.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 8:05 PM by luke Highlight this comment 112

Given the vast number of decisions that go into building a stadium, if the roof (even one as nice as this one) is the only thing that stands out, opportunities have been missed. That's all I'm saying.

Most of the finishes at USBS in the areas we could see during this open house are pretty plain. Lots of bare cement and white walls. It's actually kind of hard to compare to TF or TCFBS or CHS Field. They are sort of apples and oranges and kiwi compared to USBS grapes. But one thing is for sure: Based on what I saw in my quick tour (which was certainly not a complete tour of the stadium and therefore hardly definitive), the details at USBS weren't handled with the same degree of creativity as at the other three facilities.

In one sense: Who cares? The building will still do what it's designed for. In another sense: Why not throw in some imagination to make the public spaces special in some way?

There was a great moment in a recent Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. (If you haven't been watching this show, look it up now, and prepare to get no work done any time soon.) Seinfeld's guest Judd Apatow points to his own sensible car and says, "That does not let me down."

Quick as a whip, Seinfeld shoots back, "It doesn't lift you up, either."

That's all I'm talking about.

Posted on July 24, 2016 at 10:04 PM by Rick 113

Anyone who believes that sitting in that stadium will feel just like sitting outdoors is fooling themselves.

TTH

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 06:23 AM by TheTruthHurts Highlight this comment 114

Thanks for the photos Luke and Jared!

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 07:30 AM by JoJo Highlight this comment 115

Rick - I know you are more of baseball guy with bias towards the building of Target Field. However, if you spent time on multiple Viking sites including Vikings page where P.A. video tapes a walk through of the stadium you would see all kinds of unique touches. They sprinkled in a lot of various art works, The Viking Ship (Similar to Minne and Paul in Center). The Viking Horn. The Viking Hall of Fame. The suites are way more sophisticated at USBank then Target Field. You got to walk through the Hyundai Club, which in my opinion is nowhere near the best clubs that USBank has to offer. There are leather wrap around couches next to general seating. I can see how people might be turned off by the exterior as it takes some getting used to. In fact, I can understand how people would hate it. I just don't get how people can think there is no imagination? I don't like that 3 of the 5 doors facing downtown got covered by the scoreboard, but other then that its pretty sweet.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 10:27 AM by Todd (aka ToddV) Highlight this comment 116

Lots of interesting thoughts and feedback from those who toured the stadium this weekend. Thanks everyone!

Where is all of the artwork and things on display in US Bank Stadium? I have seen numerous pictures and videos of art and murals and photos and such. Perhaps a majority of this must be in the exclusive areas that the media had access to last week?

How was the view from the 300 level? It looks pretty high up. I can't imagine what it will be like to sit in row 15 in the 300 level. I have been looking at potential seats in the 300 level for some games but am not sure if I should just pay more money to sit in the 100 level.

Target Field was pretty bland and generic when it opened too. They have painted a lot advertisements on the walls throughout the concourse over the years as well as some pictures of TC Bear. They also added more advertising in the bullpen area since opening in 2010.

I am sure we will see some things added to US Bank Stadium as well over the years.

Rick brings up a good point regarding the "world's largest pivoting doors"...how often will they really be open?? Of the 10 games, they will probably be open only 3 or 4 games at most. The preseason and early season games generally tend to be hotter and humid so you would assume they will have the A/C on. And it can get pretty cold rather quickly come late October/early November. And at what temperature will it be too cold to keep the doors open? Sure, you could have a nice run of temps in the 60's-70's with low humidity and could have the doors open well into November but it can also get cold and rainy in the autumn. With bye weeks and other schedule quirks in the NFL, there may be times when you only have 1 home game in a certain month. And we don't know yet how the doors open will impact the temps inside the stadium. Will they still run heating or A/C in the main stadium when the doors are open?

I wouldn't expect them to have all of the food items available at the public open house. They will use the soccer game and the upcoming concerts as well as the preseason games to get things in order for September 18.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 10:31 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 117

Rick - I know you are more of baseball guy with bias towards the building of Target Field. However, if you spent time on multiple Viking sites including Vikings.Com where P.A. video tapes a walk through of the stadium you would see all kinds of unique touches. They sprinkled in a lot of various art works, The Viking Ship (Similar to Minne and Paul in Center). The Viking Horn. The Viking Hall of Fame. The suites are way more sophisticated at USBank then Target Field. You got to walk through the Hyundai Club, which in my opinion is nowhere near the best clubs that USBank has to offer. There are leather wrap around couches next to general seating. I can see how people might be turned off by the exterior as it takes some getting used to. In fact, I can understand how people would hate it. I just don't get how people can think there is no imagination? I don't like that 3 of the 5 doors facing downtown got covered by the scoreboard, but other then that its pretty sweet.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 10:26 AM by Todd (aka ToddV) Highlight this comment 118

TTH - Obviously, a enclosed stadium will not feel exactly like sitting outside. I was skeptical about everything being said in regards to the outdoor feeling. However, after touring the stadium, they did a very good job in at least simulating an outdoor feel. When you live in Minnesota and the facility has to function year around, this makes a lot of sense.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 10:50 AM by Todd (aka ToddV) Highlight this comment 119

I appreciate your point, Todd. I saw NONE of the areas or details you describe during the open house. And one of my biggest criticisms of Target Field, to this day, is that most people who go there never get to see the cool stuff because it's clustered in the high-end areas.

Further, all the talk about what looks better or is more "creative" is subjective. We'll all have different opinions, and no one is right or wrong. And while I think that baseball facilities offer inherently more opportunity for creativity, I'm struck by how similar the concourse and concession area designs and finishes are across sports in modern facilities. In regards to those areas, I don't have a bias one way or another. Bare cement is bare cement whether it's in a football concourse or a baseball concourse. All the modern facilities have some, but USBS seemed to me to have a whole lot -- more as a percentage than TF, TCFBS, or CHS.

Of course, the opening day opportunity for more elaborate finishing may have passed, but the opportunity is still there. They now have a canvas, and how they enhance the place over time is up for grabs.

Which brings me to something I've meant to mention here for about a year: Has anyone else noticed that the Puckett and Carew wooden murals in the Legends Club have faded to the point that you can't actually tell who it is anymore? I took this photo in February 2015, and they're even more faded now:


Posted on July 25, 2016 at 10:57 AM by Rick 120

As far as feeling like sitting outside, you are in a facility with a fixed roof so you will never truly feel like you are sitting outdoors as far as temperature is concerned. I think the design was more about the natural light than the temperatures. When its one of those blistery and sunny December days with a 10 degree windchill outside, you will still get the natural light inside that building and be sitting in a comfortable 70 degrees. Sun angles change throughout the year, but if you are sitting in one of those seating sections on the south side of the stadium under the ETFE roof, you would be wise to bring sunglasses because it will be very bright in that stadium at times.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 11:34 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 121

Rick, I was thinking the same thing about the murals during Twins Fest in January. I would think the Puckett Atrium would have more direct southern light than Carew's would...but in either case I would've hoped steps were taken to protect them.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 2:15 PM by fiesta Highlight this comment 122

Rick - Fair enough. I understand what your talking about in regards to the cement. USBank is enormous compared to Target Field, therefore a lot more space and walls to decorate.

The Free tour was intended to be limited. However, the $20 tour is suppose to be guided and cover the entire facility from what I hear.

I also think its hard to be subjective when comparing an outdoor ballpark like Target Field to USBank. When you walk inside you see a lot of cement that holds the weight of the roof and all of the decks and seats. You don't get that same feel at Target Field since its mostly wide open sky, etc. Doesn't require nearly the same amount of footings, walls, venting, etc.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 2:35 PM by Todd (aka ToddV) Highlight this comment 123

I went to the open house the Vikings held this morning for season ticket holders. More than a few people chatting in line to enter were put off by having to take off work for this or else wait a couple of weeks for the next season ticket holder day after the soccer match. The feeling was that since Vikings season ticket holders paid for those seat licenses, they should have been given the first open house dates on a weekend with the general public coming in down the line. I certainly understand that viewpoint, but didn’t mind waiting a couple of extra days even before a variety of events and obligations wound up ruling this past weekend out anyway.

Here are my random thoughts on the place.

- I like my seats and feel like I got the best possible based on price affordability, location, and availability. Mine are in section 230, about halfway up. They’re comparable in height and field position to my Metrodome seats in section 227 row 9. However, the distance between the nearest seats on the sideline and the field has been shortened, so they’re actually a bit closer to the action in that regard. I ventured up to the 300 level and those seats are up there. I’m glad to have paid a bit extra, albeit more than I’d originally intended to be lower.

- The regular 200 level seats are on what’s otherwise a club level, so they get club level legroom and the amount in comparison to the Metrodome is substantially greater. This is a big plus. The width felt comfortable. I own some Metrodome seats but can’t say what the difference is for width. The real test will be when someone sits down beside me.

- The 100 level concourse is used by both seats on that level and on the 200 level from which the seat holders go down a short flight of stairs. It is considerably wider than the Metrodome concourses. One thing to note is that the vast majority of lower deck and 200 level seats between the 20s are club seats with those fans having access to bar/lounge areas that will in theory keep them out of the 100 level concourse during stoppages of play, between quarter breaks, and halftime. We’ll see how it goes in practice, but in theory that should prevent the concourse from getting too crowded and give those who use it more space to move around. The 300 level concourse seems like it’s not much wider than the Metrodome to be honest. There are fewer fans up there than on either level of the Metrodome, so there is that, but it could get crowded up there.

- There is Vikings related art all over the stadium, including in the main fan concourses, but there are some places in those two concourses that could use more of it to spark the place up a bit. The concourses seem a bit dull admittedly although some of the character of the space will come from the fans that fill it. The best art is arguably a hallway with paintings of old Topps football cards en route to one of the clubs. Sadly, regular fans won’t get to see them.

- Only a few concession stands were open and none of the specialty ones. I didn’t try anything today. I have a few stands in close proximity to my section. It seems like there ought to be more and I expect some portable kiosks, although the number of fans on that concourse will be lower than in the comparative space at the Dome due to all the club areas on that or adjacent to that level.

- The video boards are massive and lend a lot to the fan experience. Even on the 300 level, you could make out everything clearly.

- I detected some of the echo Rick mentioned during video segments on the boards, but not when regular pop music was played. It will be interesting to see how it sounds with more bodies in the place to absorb some of it instead of it bouncing off the concrete.

- My seats are under the ETFE section of the roof. You’ll never mistake it for being outside, but the natural light is pleasing. The metal side is noticeably darker. I felt some of the greenhouse effect, more from the arched glass window at the east end than the roof. However, it was tolerable. The sun will be in a different place by fall, so it may or may not matter when the regular season starts. I had my sunglasses on and they didn’t feel out of place.

- The big doors were closed. I get that the expense is great for a feature that won’t get much action, but they still look cool and will be fun when used. Most fans will enter from this point, so it will have some of the Kirby Puckett gate effect from Target Field. I plan to use the south side entrance which is right by my section and would at first glance encourage other fans to avoid entering from this side and to always show up early.

- The main club areas on the lower deck between the 20s are on a very shallow rise. If a 5’10” person sits in front of someone 5’3”, the shorter person may have some trouble seeing. These are very expensive seats for such a potential inconvenience. The regular fan seating and the club seating are on steeper risers.

- Club Purple has had much made of its couch seating that faces the field, located to the right of the main video board from inside the seating bowl. Those couches are really uncomfortable; to the point it may become an issue. A friend who I met up with on the tour compared them to the booths in fast food restaurants that are deliberately uncomfortable in order to discourage diners from staying too long. The couch back is too far back on the bench, so you can’t sit in them and lean back comfortably. The club itself, with the outdoor deck facing downtown, is pretty nice.

- The Vikings Locker Room store was not open, costing the team a golden chance to sell stuff because fans were primed to check it out until realizing it was closed.

- The field level suites on the sideline are really tiny, but the suite holders have access to the Delta 360 Sky Club behind them which is very large and a really nice space.

- The really fancy club areas are on the same side as the hard camera (the south sideline or Vikings bench side). I’m not sure if that is by coincidence or by design, but since those fans are more likely to hang in their bar/lounge area and leave the seats unoccupied, by shooting the retractable side, which admittedly is attached to a club area as well; theoretically the likelihood of Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN shooting empty seats is reduced. Many NFL stadiums have an issue of club seats in the seating bowl going empty on TV because the ticketholders are back in a lounge area. I want to say Jacksonville considered or did move its hard camera position because the empty seats created an issue problem for the team due to the situation not being understood or easily explained to fans and media in a way that sticks.

- The great disappointment of the day was the field being covered and closed. Many on the tour expected at least a portion of the field to be open and it was disappointing not to be able to go down there for a minute.

All in all, I am happy and consider this a huge upgrade on the Metrodome. I'll miss the early season games at TCF Bank Stadium because we were blessed with tremendously nice weather during the past two seasons, but not freezing during the later part of the season is an acceptable trade off.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 3:06 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 124

One quick thing to add. The Metrodome and TCF Bank Stadium grandstands on the sidelines are parallel to the field. At US Bank Stadium the grandstands on the sidelines are slightly curved. For viewing the action, the new stadium is a better bet since the need to make sharp turns of the head and neck to see what's happening are less.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 3:11 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 125

Good call on that last post Jorge. I've always hated the seating bowl at Target Field because most of it is parallel to the foul lines. USBS has an ideal curve to it.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 3:50 PM by j2k Highlight this comment 126

Re: 124 "...All in all, I am happy and consider this a huge upgrade on the Metrodome..."
A "huge upgrade" might be an understatement. If USBS was the Titanic, the Metrodome was merely a leaky rowboat. I'd say it's a monumental upgrade.

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 5:49 PM by luke Highlight this comment 127

I went to the event also like everyone else, and I noticed a few things. The seats themselves seemed really cheap, the UBU Intensity S-5 artificial turf looked incredibly cheap, and that stuff rates low on the quality scale,too. All in all I thought the roof and the whole stadium were a little over-rated, but I think my feelings on the stadium will change after I am there a few more times. I think it will be a good place for us to watch Vikings football, but like a lot of others I think it could have been even better.

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 3:38 PM by Tom D. Highlight this comment 128

Cant remember which one but a previous post referred to the bathroom logos as being bland and unoriginal and I was thinking what would happen if they put Helga braids on the ladies room but then since guys wear those braids as well it would cause confusion and "identifying" issues ha ha.

Posted on July 26, 2016 at 4:34 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 129

Click my name for info on the new location of Pucketts Game 6 home run seat.
I knew SOMEONE had to have it.

Posted on July 27, 2016 at 07:18 AM by luke Highlight this comment 130

The most telling part of that article :

“This is a true story: We asked for the gold seat and the stadium commission refused to give it to us,” team President Dave St. Peter said.

I suppose though, the "gold seat" wasn't the original. But the fact the MSFC "refused" to give it to the Twins.

Posted on July 27, 2016 at 08:04 AM by luke Highlight this comment 131

Why would the MSFC be so petty? What then became of the gold seat?

Posted on July 27, 2016 at 08:18 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 132

The USBS interior web cams have been off all week. I was hoping to see the field covering and the sod install for the soccer game next Wed to see how the soccer set up will look. Is anyone going to the game? They're expecting 55K people to go which should make it a good atmosphere.

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 09:43 AM by j2k Highlight this comment 133

Are they really expecting 55,000? I got an email late last week offering a heavy discount on tickets, so I figured seats weren't moving.

On the way to the stadium on Monday, I cut over to the new Downtown East Commons park for a look. It's not done yet, but it seemed like it needed more benches and more shade although the latter will come as the trees mature and the former can be remedied easily if anyone cares too. Is there a plan to install a playground?

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 10:16 AM by Jorge Highlight this comment 134

There was a note on the Vikings website that the interior camera would be shut down as of Friday July 22 for the public open house.

As far as tickets sold for the soccer event, they said last week that 45,000 tickets have been sold and provided an update yesterday that they sold another 10,000 since last week. That would put them at about 55,000 heading into this weekend. Maybe a strong weekend of ticket sales can push them to 60,000+.

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 10:38 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 135

I got 2 tickets $40 each to sit first row upper deck east endzone- at the time there was an announcement 30,000 tix sold-this was about a month ago. Jorge I dont believe there was ever any plans for a playground in the Commons park. Regarding shade it could have been worse-originally the 3 mature trees across street from Strib Building (small picnic area for Strib emplyees that had a couple snoopy statues) were to be cut down but were saved after opposition. The fundraising effort last I heard had raised $14.5 million of the $22 million sought. Some ammenities have been postponed (all of which are from the western portion of park to be opened in mid august) -they include a food building/restroom similar to Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun and a water feature-those are still planned to be added at a later date. There is a splash pad added to main park I did not see in original plans as well as a art sculpture.

Posted on July 28, 2016 at 12:17 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 136

What does everyone think of last nights trade? I know nothing about the pitcher we got from the Giants but he is the 91st best prospect in baseball and one of, if not the top pitching prospect for the Giants. ANd he is 23 so its not like we are getting a 19 or 20 yr old we have to wait 3-4 years to even get a chance to make the big leagues. While Nunez was a great team player and led AL in steals for me it made sense-we need pitching and have few healthy players other teams would covet. I think this was a classic example of buy low sell high. We got Nunez for a pitching prospect when he was a backup and remained a backup for us. The "he was our All Star" arguement doesnt cut it-so was Coomdog and his 14 HR and .274 BA. He was an All Star by default only. I liked him but the trade made sense.

I do hope (if it hasnt already happened earlier today) that we dont get rid of Ervin Santana. He has a 3.78 ERA and on this team that is MVP stats for starter. Since Ploufe is IR the next logical choices to go would be Abad, Dozier or even Danny Santana.

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 12:38 PM by Uffda Highlight this comment 137

I have to say that my first reaction was the same one that I have every time the Twins make a move: It was somebody I had heard of in exchange for somebody I had never heard of.

But I'm reading that people like this pitcher, and trading Nunez has seemed like Destiny for quite some time now.

So overall it's a "meh" for me.

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 12:47 PM by Rick 138

The worst part is we will have to listen to DickBert foam at the mouth all night.

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 3:44 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 139

At this point this team can't acquire enough young pitching. For that reason alone it was a good move. But the numbers on the acquisition are good as well.

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 5:50 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 140

Welcome to “Expectorate’s Self-Guided USBS Tour of Questionable Legality!"


Posted on July 29, 2016 at 9:40 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 141

Last evening, round about 8PM, I decided to venture to USBS to get some exterior shots. There were some nice clouds to the west and the light was good. I was drawn first, as most people are, to the massive western glass wall. As I was peering inside, one of the doors near me opened and a contractor exited to walk across the plaza. He didn’t pay much attention to me, so I grabbed to door he came out of before it shut…and went in.

I spent the next 3-4 hours inside, accompanied only by the small crew laying sod on the floor in preparation for the soccer match next week. Here are some pics:




The main concourse. Wider than the Metrodome in most parts, but definitely some bottlenecks, as above. It’s not designed to be a circumferential pathway - I hope people don’t use it that way or there will be logjams-o-plenty. If you have non-club seats on the east end, use the east entrance. On the west end - use the west entrance. If you do have club seats, for your sake and everyone else’s, stay off the main concourse.



New concession signage looks good, if you can see it. There were 3-4 stations like this on the main concourse, with a massive column only 1-2 feet from the counter.



Upper councourse.



This was as high as I could get – way up in the NW corner – and it was a climb. Not for the faint-of-heart. I wanted to see how the big struts affected the view, so here it is from there, and the other end:



The interior webcam we’ve all come to know –

From the level in between the upper and lower concourses, the doors to Club Purple were wide open –

The doors leading from the concourses to the club spaces were all locked. But I really wanted to get in – so I…er…navigated the seats in a unique way on the north side, and then found myself in:

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 9:50 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 142



The Ice Club! Now officially the “Buffalo Wild Wings” club. Looked very nice – an upscale Legend’s Club. The giant white rectangles in the wall are huge rear-projection TVs.

Now that I was in the club/suite area, I could make my way up and down the sequestered escalators. Next I came to an open Norseman Suite door:


The Norseman Suites are on the Main Concourse level – complete with Keurig and brat-warmer:

Down one more level brought me to the Hyundai Club –


Big, and crowded with tables. This wide-angle shot makes it appear less crowded than it is.

Time to head to the South side….

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 10:06 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 143

Repeating my…um…navigation of the seats on the South side, I entered the Fire Club:

And, of course, down another escalator from there I found the elusive Medtronic Club:

The upper level to the right leads to club seating below the main concourse. The lower level leads to –


The Valhalla Suites! Cambria countertops, leather furniture and all the trimmings.


View out to the field from the Suite –

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 10:21 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 144

After I had my fill of exploring a nearly empty and brand new stadium, I exited the same way I came in. The good light was gone, but I still tried an exterior shot:


To any security guard who may have been watching me – I’m sorry, and thanks for forgiving innocent curiosity…

Posted on July 29, 2016 at 10:27 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 145

That one, "as high as you could get"...was that section 301 or 302??

Posted on July 30, 2016 at 12:16 AM by luke Highlight this comment 146


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