August 21, 2008
It is only since 1992 that baseball has been an official Olympic sport, and it was rather ironic that, in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War, America's Caribbean nemesis -- Cuba -- won the first two gold medals in our "National Pastime": Barcelona, 1992 and Atlanta, 1996. Team U.S.A. took the Gold Medal in Sydney Olympics of 2000, but Cuba once again took the top prize in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens. See MLB.com and the official Olympic Web site, Beijing 2008. Cuba and the United States will play each other in the semifinal game on Friday, as South Korea vies with Japan. The Gold Medal game will take place on Saturday. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
With the Beijing Olympics well underway, and American swimmer Michael Phelps having broken so many historical records, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight the Stadiums of the Olympics which have also served as the home field of Major League baseball stadiums, including one "also ran" (Cleveland). None of them served as a venue for Olympic baseball games, of course. All stadiums are/were very large, but there is great variety in terms of their suitability for baseball. But of course Atlanta's Olympic Stadium, which was later transformed into Turner Field, was designed that way from the beginning.
So now you know why I scheduled Turner Field for a revision. To my surprise, I erred in my previous revision of that diagram, making the upper deck a bit too small, so now it's back to where it should be. On deck" is Montreal's Olympic Stadium, where the Expos (now the Nationals) used to play...