If you drive by Husky Stadium at the University of Washington, you'll see a digital board out front, that often displays the newly-remodeled stadium's claim to fame: "The greatest setting in college football." Even after spending $250million to renovate the stadium, UW certainly can't claim to have the best stadium in the sport, but "greatest setting" is hard to dispute; the stadium is jammed between campus and Lake Washington, giving most of the stadium stunning views of the water on one end and campus on a hill on the other.
With this in mind, I present my rankings for the greatest stadium setting in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Note that this is entirely based on location, not on actual stadium quality:
1. Target Center. The stadium may be awful, but it's right where a basketball arena should be - smack dab in the middle of downtown.
2. Xcel Energy Center. It seems like every road in St. Paul leads to the hockey rink, which - given that it's St. Paul - they probably do. Plus: the river.
3. Target Field. Pros: Great views of Minneapolis; feels like a part of downtown. Cons: It's on top of a freeway; it's on top of a garbage burner.
4. TCF Bank Stadium. Luckily, the architects were smart enough to incorporate views of the other arenas and Minneapolis into the stadium, and close off the views of the nothing that surrounds the stadium's other sides.
5. Williams Arena. For being on campus, it feels disconnected from campus, somehow.
6. Mariucci Arena. One of the U stadiums had to be ranked the lowest, and Mariucci - hard by the parking lots / train tracks / random wasteland that is just north of the rink - is it.
7. Metrodome. The acres of unpaved parking lots that used to surround the Dome have been replaced by condos, which helps... but not much.
Link of the Week: Over at the TwinsCentric blog here on startribune.com, Parker Hageman has compiled a volume of random stats from this season. It's perfect for anyone who wonders how Aaron Hicks and Clete Thomas stack up against Ted Uhlaender, or why Anthony Swarzak is comparable to Juan Berenguer, or why Brian Dozier's numbers looked so good this year.
Bonus Link of the Week: This story may be apocryphal, but I couldn’t care less.
What to watch this weekend
- 7am Saturday, 11am Sunday - Golf: President’s Cup. Because America. (NBC)
- 9:30pm Saturday - College Football: #15 Washington at #5 Stanford. The game of the day, as the Huskies try to climb into the nation’s upper echelon. (ESPN)
- 9:55am Sunday, EPL: Arsenal at West Brom. The game of the week in English soccer, according to Dana Wessel. (NBC Sports Network)
- 12:00pm Sunday - NFL: Red Zone Channel. If you don’t have it, find a friend who does. With no Vikings this week, this is the best way to watch football by far. (NFLRZ)
- 3:30pm Sunday - MLB: St. Louis at Pittsburgh. Watch Francisco Liriano and Minnesota’s new favorite team, the Pirates, try to vanquish the enemy Cardinals. (TBS)