2004: A truly amazing year!
So what was the biggest baseball story in 2004? As if there is any doubt: The Curse was Reversed! (Or "eclipsed," that is, if you recall the lunar phenomenon that night.) The steroid scandal and the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington probably rank a close second and third behind the Red Sox long-awaited World Series triumph. Among individual player accomplishments, Randy Johnson's perfect game against Atlanta in May stands out, as well as Ken Griffey Jr.'s 500th home run and Barry Bonds' 700th.* Other milestones that may soon be forgotten include the publication of Pete Rose's autobiography and the passing away of former Reds owner Marge Schott. As for stadiums, the opening of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and PETCO Park in San Diego turned out to be great successes, certainly more so than Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark debut in 2003. Don't forget about the upper-deck truncation and re-roofing of U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, a commendable effort to make up for poor original design work. Construction of the new ballpark in St. Louis (Busch Stadium III) got into full swing, while politicians in Miami and Minneapolis kept haggling over financing of new stadiums in their downtowns. On the grim side, the Yankees announced plans to replace Yankee Stadium with a smaller, luxury-oriented venue next door. Boooo!!!
Done deals in D.C. & N.Y.?
On Wednesday D.C. Mayor Tony Williams signed the bill authorizing $535 million in bonds for the construction of the new baseball stadium in Washington. This supposedly marks an end to the long and perilous process of laying the groundwork for the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington, but you never know what surprises some of the key players may have in store.
Arizona has tentatively agreed to terms with the Yankees by which Randy Johnson will finish his career pitching in The Bronx. Just like Roger Clemens -- or so we thought! Their front office is still studying the terms to make sure they get their money's worth, and Commissioner Selig must approve the deal, since it involves so much money.
Has anyone noticed there were games being in two baseball stadiums in the last few days? Navy beat New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl at SBC Park in San Francisco (formerly Pac Bell Park), and Oregon State defeated Notre Dame in the Insight.com Bowl at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.