January 25, 2007 [LINK / comment]

More Fenway Park renovations

The Red Sox are investing more money into improving Fenway Park this year. The main change is the addition of a new concourse deck behind the grandstand on the third base side, which will have a women's rest room for the first time. They are also adding an inside batting practice area for the visiting team on that side, replacing the one under the bleachers, which will leave room for a new restaurant beyond center field. The capacity for this year will be 38,808, more or less. See MLB.com. It is gratifying to see that the owners are putting enough money into Fenway Park to keep it in prime condition for the indefinite future. In five years, it will celebrate its 100th birthday; will Willard Scott take notice?

Nats owners buck the trend

The Washington Post had an interview with Nationals owner Ted Lerner, who explained his refusal to go along with the insane bidding frenzy for free agent players. The Nats will have one of the lowest payrolls this year, and finishing last in the NL East is almost a given; they will be lucky just to finish the season within striking distance of the fourth-place team. As a fan I grumble at his decision to let some of the best Nats players go, especially Livan Hernandez and Alfonso Soriano, but I have to admit that logic is on Lerner's side. Rich people generally get that way by shunning the herd mentality of other investors, and he probably knows what he is doing. Chances are, his team will become solid, consistent winners two or three years down the road. Let's just hope Washington fans are patient enough. The Nationals just signed outfielder Alex Escobar to a one-year contract, which leaves just three key arbitration-eligible players to go: John Patterson, Chad Cordero, and Austin Kearns. Spring training is drawing very close...

The mail bag

Matt Kuchna wrote to say that Cleveland (Municipal) Stadium was not really oversized at the time it was built, given that the city was growing by leaps and bounds back then. How times change, indeed. He also mentioned it always filled to capacity for Browns football games, and often for city high school championship football games as well.