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January 20, 2007

What? Me? Worry?

Well, it looks like all our worrying was for naught. It appears that a deal is in the works to put all this land acquisition mess behind us. I just received an email from Jeff T. in St. Paul (thanks a million Jeff!) who says:

I was just on KSTP 1500 Saturday Sports Talk with Joe Soucheray and Patrick Ruesse (I try and call in about once a month). According to Ruesse, he thought it will be announced on Monday that Hennepin County will pay the Rapid Park land owners 13.5 million to take over the land for the Twins stadium. They will proceed with condemnation hearings, however, so Hennepin County may actually end up owing the land owners a little more $$$ in the long run. The good news, however, is that the land would be owned by Hennepin County so the stadium plans could forge ahead. He thought this was already announced in the media, which I have not been able to find at all. So nothing is confirmed, but that sounds like good news.

This also corresponds with what Sid wrote a couple of days ago (thanks for the reminder Derek!):

A lot more will be known about the condemnation of the land for the new Twins stadium when a crucial meeting is held Jan. 22, according to Dan Rosen, lawyer for the land owners' group. Rosen claims the Twins could be building the stadium while condemnation hearings are being held to determine the price.

So, there you have it. Nothing to worry about. The landowners (hey Bruce!) and the County will all get what they want and we'll get our ballpark. I shouldn't have even wasted a keystroke on any of this. But I do what I have to do, and that usually means freaking out over every little detail.

By the way did you see an anonymous Twins fan gave the Ballpark Authority $3,000 as a "thank-you"? No, it wasn't me. Quite frankly, that is just plain strange. Cool to read about, but strange.

• Finally, and off topic, I plan on getting up early tomorrow morning and purchasing a Nintendo Wii at Target! I'll probably get in line around 6:30 AM. If anyone knows of a better way to get a Wii please let me know, otherwise I plan on freezing my tail off for a little bit. Wish me luck!

Posted by snackeru at January 20, 2007 1:05 PM


Yes Shane,

That's all good news if it's true....That remains to be seen. Even if it is true, you can only relax until the next bump in the road comes along. I have a feeling this isn't the last hurdle. This has been such a long, painful process, I still can't believe we would be in the clear.

I'm most worried about the design. They're so limited with space, I'm worried that I'll hate the final design they come up with...Some doofus with the ballpark authority stated the ballpark will have a modern look with limestone and glass...YUCK!...The guy even said, "We're not building Camden Yards here"...WHY THE HELL NOT?!??!?!?!? Hasn't Camden been the benchmark for all of the new ballparks built? The guy said they all look and feel the same...YES you DOLT, they feel COMFORTABLE and look CLASSY and NOSTALGIC. I've had the pleasure of visiting most of the new parks. This look and feel he's referring to ISN'T a bad thing!!!! I wish I could remember his name.

Maybe in St. Paul or along the river Limestone and glass would look nice but this is the warehouse district where a retro ballpark would be most appropriate...The ballpark authority stated last week that they're staying away from a retro-style ballpark with arches, statues and bricks....OH THAT'S JUST GREAT! A retro, old-fashioned ballpark is what most people wanted and what the Twins were wanting all along.

Granted, I'm talking design-wise here, that's where my nostalgia ends...We definitely need modern conveniences inside like escalators, club level bars, restaurants, proshops, Twins HOF, etc. I'll gladly say goodbye to cramped concourses, trough urinals and cramped leg room (yes shane, so the little brat behind can't reach his feet to the back of your chair).

I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop or for the next moron involved with this process to open his/her mouth and expose their ignorance...Cue the Penny Steele sobbing

I live in a city that just built 2 modern facilities...Chase Field where the D-Backs play...yes it's new, it's extremely comfy, however it's modern and feels like you're watching baseball inside of an airplane hangar, much like the feeling I have at Miller Park. They're both stadiums, not ballparks. I'm hoping Mpls is striving for more of a Wrigley Field BALLPARK experiece...It's on a cramped lot as well but it works well.

Univ of Phx Stadium (10 mins from my house) is amazing on the inside, but it's a huge eyesore from the outside...It looks like a tin can, UFO, or as someone on the radio here said, the Superdome on crack. But the NFL can get away with it....NOT BASEBALL

Baseball needs to look and feel retro, ESPECIALLY with the trains intersecting outside of the leftfield stands. Retro is the most appropriate style for the warehouse district neighborhood.

I won't relax about this ballpark until the final design is released and they're shoveling dirt and not BS.

Alright I'm done whining....And they say Sid is a grumpy old man.

Posted by: kevin in az at January 20, 2007 10:47 PM

Hey guys, its my first time posting here, but I have been thinking about this design issue for a while now.

Personally, I am glad that they are not trying to build another Camden Yards. Camden Yards is probably one of, if not the best stadium in baseball, but its success has nothing to do with its style. In reality the exterior of the actual stadium is rather passive. The stadium is designed to set up a series of experiences that have nothing to do with brick arches. The seating bowl and concourses are designed to focus your attention on the game, the warehouse, and downtown. The exterior of the stadium does have some brick arches and other classical elements, but many fans never even see this side of the stadium. A game in Baltimore has become more of an event than just a game, with many fans spending the day at the inner harbor and then walking over to the stadium for the game. When a fan enters the stadium from the direction of the inner harbor they never even see the exterior of the actual stadium bowl. Instead they see the warehouse and the field beyond. This leads to the main reason that Camden Yards is such a success: Eutaw Street. This is the street that runs between the warehouse and the field and is where many fans congregate before and during the games. Eutaw Street is probably the best urban space in baseball, and one of the better spaces in all of Baltimore. The space works not because of a style, but because of scale. HOK managed to take this enormous warehouse and bring it down to a human scale at street level. This creates a comfortable space that people want to be in. The warehouse also forms a wall on one side of the street, ensuring that all attention will either be focused on the events in the street or on the game.

So in the end, many fans across the nation know Camden Yards because of the brick arches and the monumental warehouse and assume that these are the reasons for its success. In reality Camden Yards is a success because of the spaces and experiences that it creates and not because of its retro style. This is evident by the failure of many of HOK's newer retro stadiums. At Camden Yards architects took an existing set of conditions and created a ballpark that fit in perfectly. HOK wrongly assumed that since the retro style worked in Baltimore that it must work everywhere. At most of the newer parks they are not designing around existing conditions but instead are forcing the retro style into the park. The resulting stadiums are largely failures because they fail to create any of the spaces that Camden Yards is great for and because their scale is all wrong. I don't think I can stress enough how important scale is to the success of a baseball stadium.

To me the success or failure of the Twins stadium will not be judged on the style that it is built in, but in the quality of spaces and experiences it creates. On opening day the media types will show up and immediately hail the design as a success or failure depending on their taste, but for the city as a whole it will take much longer to see if the design is a success. Can HOK take that transportation hub and make it work? How will they handle the pedestrian connections to downtown over the highway? These are the types of issues that really matter and mean everything to the long term success of the project.

However, with all that said I personally hope that they go with a modern design here. The retro parks all seem very fake to me and most are just plain ugly.

Posted by: Tommy at January 21, 2007 2:30 PM

Wow. Thanks for the comments Kevin and Tommy. Kevin, I agree, I wouldn't mind a retro ballpark, but Tommy makes some fricken good points here! The Twins ballpark will be a success based on the experiences it creates and its use of the spaces surrounding it. Tommy, are you a ballpark designer or something? This is a really well thought out comment and I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the addition!

Kevin, this is not to say I don't agree with you. If we pulled off another Camden Yards I think that would be fantastic, but shoving that idea into that cramped area may not be the best plan. We shall see...

Posted by: Shane at January 21, 2007 9:31 PM

Those are two very well articulated positions! I tend to favor the non-retro approach because I do believe "retro-ness" that works is a function it's surroundings. If the new ballpark was going to be located at the old Nicollet Park site at 31st and Nicollet, then retro would be appropriated, a retro-park located next to the garbage burner and parking ramps just wouldn't work.

Having said that, we don't need a limestone and glass monstrosity either.

Posted by: Freealonzo at January 22, 2007 12:17 PM

Shane - did you get your Wii?

Posted by: Aaron at January 22, 2007 4:15 PM

Shane- I'm no ballpark designer. Just a lowly architecture student who really likes baseball, and especially the Twins. I grew up a few hours outside of Baltimore so I have been to Camden Yards many times. It really is a great stadium, even if I am not a huge fan of retro architecture.

Posted by: Tommy at January 22, 2007 5:35 PM

Aaron -- I did get my Wii. More about that later...

Posted by: Shane at January 23, 2007 5:14 PM

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