(Mr. T’s Sports Report) The power of the ballpark

twins_stadiumBefore we ease into a new era of iconic urban baseball and collegiate football stadiums, I thought it important to acknowledge the importance of those parks and the people that fill them.  I have mentioned each of the two new parks in previous articles, but recent discussion about the best baseball towns in America gave me the feeling that Minnesota doesn’t get its propers for sports “fanship”(“propers” and “fanship” should be words).  Like many other industries where Minnesota quietly thrives, Minnesota sports industry seems to be recognized, but not celebrated.

In my experience, visitors to Minnesota most often leave with a general sense that they had a good time no matter what they got into for recreation.  I mean, some nights at the Target Center can be pretty lame, but overall…Minnesota represents. But I guess like Rodney Dangerfield, the ‘Soootans don’t get respect all around, like they should; maybe it’s the accent, yah?

Some vocal accents sound goofy, some sexy, but the accent of a city with beautiful and iconic ballparks, just seem to add something unifying and picturesque in a sporty construction kind of way.  Small crowds continually gather outside of the University of Minnesota TCF Bank Football Stadium set to open in about 50 days (they have a cool countdown clock on 

Heavy compliments should be given to the designers and constructors of the stadium for many noticeable aspects in its creation.  The positioning and stunning burst of school colors leap all over the campus, and I am sure the views from inside campus facilities must be quite assuring and emboldening of school spirit.

I have yet to find myself in a downtown high-rise building in Minneapolis, but I’m sure that the view from offers at least a little something extra with the construction of Target Field for the Twins baseball.  The development of downtown Minneapolis over recent years has been fun and painful to watch, but the outdoor Twins Stadium shows a strong symbol of hope as businesses overall battle their way out of a difficult worldwide recession.

Sports always seem to deliver some hope.  It’s fairly difficult for me to understand the few whom fervently root against its development.  Confidence manifests itself in many different ways, and as long as it is a positive manifestation, then it’s fine by me. 

The two new ballparks in the Minneapolis urban setting display and instill confidence.  People gravitate to entities that grow, or that they hope will grow.  More and more people from all areas of the world have been gravitating to the Twin Cities over the last few decades, and I would imagine ever since their founding it has been that way.  There is something special about the Twin Cities.  Even as a transplant from California, I bare the cold weather like a mountain man, and dig into the abundance of nooks and crannies that both St. Paul and Minneapolis have to offer.  I suppose if we are going to deal with this cold, then we are going to have some very good outlets to get our minds off of it.  The result of the whole soup, that is the Twin Cities, is tasty.  

The ballparks of other celebrated cities seem to set a tone towards confidence and regional pride.  Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, The Staples Center, The Rose Bowl, The Superdome, and many others are highly celebrated ballparks, and seem to embody the natural character of the surrounding people and neighborhoods.  The celebratory, and business friendly, stirrings of activity surrounding sports stadiums is highly contagious.  The phenomenal examples of sports stadiums as a place of overall unification were on display in textbook fashion following 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina; in the case of Hurricane Katrina, not only following, but also during.

Now as for Minnesota getting no respect, I can see how the temperatures that flash across Al Roker’s weather map can make someone from Russia cringe (I’m amazed when Russians say it’s colder here).  That being the case, you have to give extra credit to the Minnesota people who weather it…pun intended, and lame.  The simple fact that people pour out to local stadiums for the Vikings, Wild, Gopher, Timberwolves, etc…games, says something about the people:  ”We ain’t no punks”.  Perhaps we can lobby to have that replace Minnesota Nice as a motto.  I don’t know about all that , but what I can say is that the two new stadiums “Ain’t no punks.”  I think many people young and old are looking forward to them including myself. (Whew. Made it the whole way without saying, “Build it and they will come.”)

July 16, 2009
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