January 24, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Designing Nationals Park

As the countdown to Opening Day nears the 60-day mark, anticipation of D.C.-area sports fans is building steadily. Yesterday's Washington Post had a background article on the process by which Nationals Park was designed, including the original crude sketch. I have to give a lot of credit to the lead architects Marshall Purnell and Joseph Spear for making the stadium a perfect fit to the surrounding street grid. It takes a while to appreciate some of those subtle design features. Students from Cardoso High School were recently given an exclusive tour of the ballpark, which is almost finished. Lucky kids! Based on the photos shown at jdland.com, which I mentioned previously, I've tweaked the Nationals Park diagram. It occurred to me that with the scoreboard and right field wall angled the way they are, they could put a football gridiron in there, and most seats would have very good sight lines. Was it done that way intentionally, in case of some emergency faced by the Redskins at FedEx Field?

Bosox vs. A's in Tokyo

The 2008 schedules were released today, and it was confirmed that the Boston Red Sox will play a series in Japan, against the Oakland Athletics. The March 25 date will be the earliest "Opening Day" in MLB history, but for purists, only games in North America really count. The real "Opening Day" will be in Our Nation's Capital on March 30, with the Nats against the Braves. See MLB.com

The mail bag

Jacobs Field no more: The Cleveland Indians have sold the rights to their ballpark for $58 million; Jacobs Field will henceforth be called "Progressive Field." See ESPN. Groan... Orlando Rays? Also, the Tampa Bay Rays hope to expand their fan base by playing a series in the Disney Company's "Wide World of Sports" ballpark in Orlando in April, like they did last year. It will depend on approval from St. Petersburg officials; see ESPN also. Hat tip to Mike Zurawski for both stories.

Bronx construction update: Some more great photos of the future Yankee Stadium are at Sliding In To Home; hat; tip to Bruce Orser.