December 27, 2009
After doing Target Field and the Metrodome, I figured I ought to finish the state of Minnesota, so I updated the Metropolitan Stadium page with a set of revised diagrams. The most notable changes involve the diagram profiles, rendering the concourse levels and access ramps more accurately. Also, my estimate of the stadium's height has been reduced from about 105 feet to 95 feet. I added a new 1956 version diagram as well as a 1964 version football diagram, and while I was at it, I modified my "hypothetical alternative" design as well. The main difference is that the upper deck of the movable grandstand is smaller than before, and the upper deck now extends all the way to the end of the grandstand near the right field corner. As was the case at Mile High Stadium in Denver, it would have been hard to carry out the baseball-to-football conversion without doing a lot of damage to the grass in left field, which is why it would have been better to have a smaller movable grandstand.
While attending the SABR convention last summer I had the pleasure to see former sportscaster George Michael, when he introduced baseball greats Frank Howard and Rick Dempsey. I was surprised that he looked so frail, and now I know why. The famed creator of the innovative "Sports Machine," which came to franchised nationwide, passed away on Thursday morning after a long battle with leukemia. I was an avid fan of Michael's show when I lived in the Washington area during the 1980s, the glory days of the Redskins, and only rarely did I miss his weekly sports wrap-up at 11:30 every Sunday night. (I never did find out what he thought about the British pop singer of the same name who rose to stardom during the latter part of that decade.) For a look at the life of the sportscaster George Michael, see the Channel 4 Web site at nbcwashington.com. It's just too bad that baseball did not return to Washington until his career was just about over.
Continuing their off-season campaign to acquire enough top-rate talent to compete with the Phillies and the rest of the NL East, the Washington Nationals reached a one-year, $3.5-million agreement with relief pitcher Matt Capps. His main alternative ball club was the Chicago Cubs, and the fact that they are getting stars like Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Marquis to sign with them is a beneficial side-effect of the deal with Stephen Strasburg last summer. I wasn't entirely convinced at the time, but it was a gesture of serious intent that has really paid off this month. Credit is also due to general manager Mike Rizzo, who assumed that role on a temporary basis last March, and was given a secure position in August. See MLB.com.
Finally! The Washington Nationals front office is getting realistic about its seat prices, radically simplifying the pricing structure, and lowering the price of most outfield seats and some seats in the upper deck. "Prices on over 3,000 seats will be reduced through the creation of the Outfield Reserved area (101 through 107 and 138 through 143) with all tickets cut to $24, and Lower Right Field Terrace seats (Sections 222 through 236) cut from $20 to $17." Another change is the elimination of the "Nats Express" free parking arrangement at RFK Stadium, in conjunction with new lower-cost parking areas closer to Nationals Park. See MLB.com. Some people complained about the end of the "Nats Express," but it was bound to go eventually. I tried that option once, and enjoyed the "sightseeing tour" of southeast D.C., but the trip takes at least 15 minutes and would get boring after repeated visits.
The future Marlins stadium will have a rather unique home run "feature," consisting of a fountain and some kind of psychedelic jumping fish animation in center field. It looks kinda cool, but is it baseball? Read all about it at the Sun-Sentinel; hat tip to Mike Zurawski.