Vikings stadium design could squeeze out college baseball

A leetle problem has emerged with the new Minnesota Vikings stadium: Turns out somebody remembered that the Metrodome, which the new building will replace, is also used for high school and college baseball, which needs to be played indoors in the spring because Minnesota is so durn cold. And so the new stadium, as part of its promise to be a “people’s stadium” (and not just because it’ll be using more than $1 billion of the people’s money), is to be used for baseball as well. Except that the Vikings are insisting on seating that runs super-close to the football sidelines, which would result in a right field foul line only 285 feet from home plate.

The Vikings insist that they’ll build a Green Monster-style wall to make home runs to right field less ridiculous; University of Minnesota baseball coach John Anderson retorts: “We won’t get any opponents to play at a configuration like that.” You’d think it’d be possible to install a few rows of removable seats along that sideline, which can be wheeled out and then replaced when switching from football to baseball and back again — you could even make them bouncy! — but I guess when you’re the 800-pound gorilla that got the state to build this thing in the first place, you don’t feel the need to compromise.

8 comments on “Vikings stadium design could squeeze out college baseball

  1. I can see the Vikings’ point here. Retractable seats stink. It’s a big reason that Portland had to axe minor league baseball when MLS moved in. You just can’t charge an outrageous price and then ask people to be jostled anytime someone in their row gets up.

  2. from the first link in the second paragraph:

    “The Vikings, hoping to put ticket holders and stadium suites as close to the action as any team in the NFL, favor a preliminary design that places the first row of seats 44 feet from the football playing field. Only one other recently built NFL stadium — Lucas Oil in Indianapolis, designed by HKS Inc., the architect for the Vikings stadium — puts ticket holders that close.”

    44 feet from football sideline to first row also, most likely, squeezes out the ability to stripe a legitimately sized soccer field from the People’s stadium as well. Considering the Wilfs used soccer to get more people on board with the stadium plan, that’s another betrayal right there. At least the Seattle people went ahead accommodated a soccer width when they milked soccer to get the votes to pass the Seahawks stadium.

    Assuming that 44 feet is taken from the 50 yd line, that makes the maximum width of the playing surface 82 yards. Does the seating bowl pinch closer to the field in the endzone corners, as most NFL stadium designs too? (about 5 yards per sideline, it seems is the norm). Unless the design is different in the corners from the recent NFL stadiums, that would rule out a legitimately sized soccer field as there would be about 72 yards of width in the endzones to work with, which doesn’t leave enough breathing room to safely fit the barely-tolerated FIFA minimum width of 70 yards.

    Raymond James, LP Field and BofA Stadium don’t have a tapered in the corner seating bowl – each of them can fit a nice wide soccer field, but most of the other recent football stadiums seem like they pinch in the corners. Gillette Stadium, Century Link Field and Invesco Field were among the NFL stadiums with tapered corners that still had soccer dimensions in consideration when they were designed.

    Gillette is 60′ from first row to midfield (45′ from 1st row to sideline at football endzone)
    Invesco is 48′ from first row to midfield (36′ from first row to sideline at football endzone)
    Century Link is about 56′ from first row to midfield (41′ from first row to sideline at football endzone).

    Gillette and Century Link typically stripe at 74 yards for soccer width. I forgot what Invesco does (did).

  3. RFK was built over 50 years ago, there’s no reason that 21st century retractable seats would have to be bouncy. Unless you like that sort of thing.

  4. The Vikings’ new stadium should include retractable seats for baseball!!!! If the Twins face emergencies at Target Field and/or decades from now desire a new ballpark on downtown’s west end, they could use this football facility for at least a short time. Backup plans are helpful!! The Gophers baseball team certainly deserves chances to utilize Downtown East’s new sports palace during nasty weather. The Vikings’ new house can be both similar to and improved over the HHH Metrodome. Similar means an oval or a rectangle…each option typically provides better sight lines than circular layouts give. Superior means more bathrooms, wider concourses, more space between the seats, and no obstructed views from the top. Partially because this facility gets “public money” (AKA tax dollars), the Vikings have no right to run roughshod against other sports (such as baseball, soccer)! And believe me…you can sustain adequate distances from home plate to the fence for both college baseball and Major League Baseball in a well-planned football/soccer structure! The HHH Metrodome, while not a perfect venue, proves that!! The Vikings’ managers can go to hell for their arrogance, for their betrayal, and for their theft of taxpayers’ dollars!!

  5. I the Vikings are focused on making it a state of the art football field, soccer field, and then baseball is third on the list. Who cares about baseball at the the new stadium anyways? Its interesting that the football team needs to take care of college baseball and highschool baseball while the twins enjoy their own outdoor stadium. The vikings deserve to build their stadium…and as for who is paying for it. No one in Minnesota right now is paying taxes for the new stadium, that is what the electronic pull tabs are for and to speculate anything different is only that…speculating.

  6. So long as you don’t count the $380 million in property tax breaks:

  7. C’mon now….High school baseball championships are played from mid May until early June. Are you telling me baseball can’t be played at Target Field for colleges and high school starting in mid April?

  8. You see……. now if the Minnesota Twins had Target Field in another location where a retractable roof can be added to the ballpark, their would be no discussion about trying to fit high school and college baseball in a footbal-only stadium. But than again you could say something simillar like that to the Vikings. Had the new football stadium been in a another location, high school and college baseball would still be played at the Metrodome.