April 11, 2007 [LINK / comment]

The mail bag: Spring cleaning

During my recent brief blog semi-hiatus, a lot of news bits accumulated in my in-box. Thanks to Bruce Orser for brightening a gloomy, rainy day by sending a link to a video at youtube.com: YANKEE STADIUM BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR. It features a soundtrack of a variant of Terry Cashman's "Talkin' Baseball" song, with each refrain ending, "The Bambino, The Clipper, and The Mick."

On a related note, Bruce also came across a review of a superb new book by Bill Jenkinson, Babe Ruth the Home Run King, at the Two-edged Sword, which I find very interesting for its non-baseball material. I took a look at that book at Books a Million, and was deeply impressed by its thorough research and the great collection of aerial stadium photos from the 1920s and 1930s.

Prospects for the Twins' future ballpark brightened in late March, as officials from Hennepin County pursue condemnation of the land whose owners are holding out for a higher price. See KARE TV-11.

Mike Zurawski sends even more juicy news items: The Florida Marlins may not know if the state government will provide enough money to get a new stadium built until the very end of the legislative session on May 4. State political leaders seem inclined to approve the relatively small contribution of $60 million out of the total stadium cost of $490, but other pro sports teams in Florida might demand a piece of the proverbial "action." In any case, the site of the new stadium (Orange Bowl or downtown?) is yet "to be determined." See palmbeachpost.com.

The Tribune Company recently changed hands, and the new owner Sam Zell has put the Chicago Cubs up for sale, saying he might sell Wrigley Field in a separate deal. Jerry Colangelo (former owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks) is already licking his lips at the prospect, and in a radio interview he hinted that Wrigley Field might not be preserved indefinitely. Can't they learn a lesson from the Red Sox? See Chicago Sun Times. It may be time to launch another baseball fan activist movement...

There is a new bleacher section with 200 seats on the roof deck in right field of Fenway Park, and it has been named "Conigliaro's Corner" in honor of Tony Conigliaro. (I always thought that was a cool name.) See southcoasttoday.com.

Also, the Devil Rays are making more improvements to Tropicana Field, mostly aimed at fan convenience and pleasure. See ballparkdigest.com.

Speaking of which, Matthias Koster, one of the bloggers at mopupduty.com, was in Tropicana Field recently and reports that they have lowered the height of a portion of the left field wall to 5 feet. "The reasoning behind this is to allow [Carl] Crawford to make some spectacular catches."