New Vikings stadium will work for baseball

Feb. 23, 2013 at 5:01 PM   |   Comments

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The design for Minneapolis' new football stadium for the Minnesota Vikings has been reworked so baseball can be played, too, team and project architects say.

Construction of a nearly $1 billion replacement for the Metrodome, slated to open in 2016, was threatened to be delayed after college baseball officials complained the right-field foul pole, initially at just 285 feet, was far too short, compromising the integrity of the game, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Saturday.

Representatives of the Vikings, the stadium's primary tenant, said the configuration was necessary to create enough top-dollar luxury suites and stadium seats close to the action.

Eventually, the design firm HKS Inc. reconfigured things to move some of the closest football seats back some, allowing the right-field foul pole to be 300 feet away, with a vertical extension to make it necessary to hit a ball a greater distance for a home run.

The University of Minnesota baseball team plays its home games at the Metrodome and school officials had lobbied for a right-field line at least 308 feet and a power alley in right-center of at least 340. Under the new configuration, the power alley is 341 feet.

Fans with front-row seats to NFL games will sit as close as 44 feet from the sideline. Only one other NFL stadium, Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, puts fans that close to the action.

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