There will be a workable baseball field at the new Minnesota Vikings stadium for college, amateur and high-school baseball after architects made changes to the seating design.
The Vikings had argued for one of the most intimate stadium designs in the NFL, with the goal to place fans as close to action as possible. Good goal in this age of high-def TV on 60-inch screens, but not good if you want to play baseball there. The initial design called for the right-field foul pole to be 285 feet down the line and the right-field power alley at 319 feet.
Given that the new Vikings stadium will replace the Metrodome — which is solidly booked 20 hours a day with college, University of Minnesota and high-school baseball in cold winter months — baseball advocates weren’t pleased with the proposed field.
But a compromise was reached to implement baseball in the new facility. From the legendary Sid Hartman:
[University of Minnesota baseball coach John] Anderson said he hasn’t seen the design, but he has talked to Ted Mondale, the CEO of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, about a design that calls for 44-foot NFL sidelines, a 26-foot right field wall and outfield dimensions of 300 feet to right field, 324 to left, 370 to left-center, 400 to dead center and 335 to right-center. Anderson said the changes are satisfactory.
In addition, the new design calls for a warning track of 10-foot-wide turf besides the 335-foot mark in center; portable dugouts with temporary walls in front of field suites; turf at home plate with a circular surrounding stripe; and club seating overhanging the right field wall that will be 4-by-11 feet and hang 39 feet, 9 inches over the field.
The new stadium is being designed by HKS; Mortenson will be in charge of construction.
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