Sunday, April 26, 2009

Part 1: Birth of the Project

A few weeks back we took our 4-year-old daughter to Legoland. She had a great time, but I think Dad had an ever better time! I was fascinated by the miniature versions of Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, and D.C. (see pic). It took me back to my childhood days of playing with Legos - which were among my favorite toys (Star Wars and baseball cards being the others). But I had never conceived of building anything of such scale with them - and the thought of that was very intriguing and challenging to me. I commented to my extremely talented and beautiful wife (I know she'll read this) while we were there that the mini-cities were somewhat incomplete without the sports stadiums. That's when it dawned on me that building a stadium could be my project!

I kicked the idea around for a couple of weeks after we returned - not sure whether or not I wanted to get involved in such a large-scale project. It seemed a little impractical - it would certainly take up a lot of time and money, and given the economy (and the fact that I work in financial services!) the timing didn't seem right. But something told me I could do it, and that I should do it. Then I heard a voice - it said "if you build it, he will come." Just kidding - but I did quickly come to realize that this was going to be my Field of Dreams. I'm in my mid thirties, I really don't think my dream of playing professional baseball is going to happen, and I don't necessarily have a reputation for doing impractical things or taking huge risks (I can get sick on a playground swing). So instead of plowing under my corn and building a field in the middle of Iowa, I'm going to invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars building one that I won't be able to do anything with other than look at it - and yet I can't wait to get started!

As a Twins fan, the Metrodome was obviously the first consideration. But let's face it, its a monstrosity of a stadium - a giant concrete and plastic dump. I love that stadium for the memories I have of it, but as a physical strucuture its awful and I can't transform my memories into anything I can build out of Legos. So I next thought about building Fenway Park (Boston) so that I could build the Green Monster and the other elements of the Red Sox 97 year-old ballpark. But as I thought through all of the elements, the only piece outside of the stadium itself worth creating would be the giant Citgo sign beyond left-center field.

The thought of incorporating elements outside of the stadium led me to considering Wrigley - which would provide the opportunity to build not only a stadium, but the surrounding "Wrigleyville" area as well. I visited Flickr and was pleased to find over 46,000 pics of Wrigley and the neighborhood that had been uploaded. It seemed that just about every angle of the park was captured in a pic at their site. As I began scanning through them I became certain that there would be no better stadium project to build. But where to begin?

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