December 12, 2010
Yesterday the big weather-related sports news was that the New York Giants got stranded in Kansas City en route to a planned football game today against the Minnesota Vikings. This morning came news that the game had to be moved elsewhere because the heavy snow caused the fabric roof at Metrodome to collapse. The NFL announced that the Giants-Vikings game will be relocated to Ford Field in Detroit, across the street from Comerica Park. (See NFL.com.) I saw a video replay of the snow falling onto the field while I was watching football on TV this afternoon, and it looked totally awesome! The last time such an event caused a football game to be cancelled at the Metrodome was December 30, 1982. (There were also roof collapses due to snow in 1981 and 1983, but they did not affect any football games. A thunderstorm caused a minor roof tear at a Twins-Angels game in 1986, but the game resumed play after a brief delay.)
This minor catastrophe in the Twins Cities provides an opportunity for me to present a rather offbeat stadium page that I started a while back: the Dakota Dome, home of several athletic teams at my alma mater, the University of South Dakota. It was first built in 1979, with an inflatable roof that was later imitated at the Metrodome. In contrast to its "big brother" in Minneapolis, however, the DakotaDome was outfitted with a brand-new, solid roof in 2001. Besides being largely impervious to blizzards, it just looks much better than it used to. As you can tell from the thumbnail diagram, the DakotaDome is small by pro sport standards, with just enough room to house a football gridiron, with about 15 or so feet beyond each end zone.
I know, most of you are probably thinking that this has nothing to do with baseball, but as I learned from plaintalk.net, a "Youth Baseball Classic" was held there last spring. Well, what do you know?!
The only really prominent indoor college football stadium is the Carrier Dome, in Syracuse, New York. It too has a fabric roof and looks a lot like the DakotaDome from the outside. Otherwise, most of the stadiums in this category belong to smaller schools. Interestingly, two of them are in southern states. According to the usually-reliable wikipedia.org, here are the covered stadiums used for college football, listed in chronolgoical order:
* The football program at ETSU shut down after 2003.
Fear not, loyal fans, other baseball stadium diagram updates will follow shortly.
I learned from Mike Zurawski that as one consequence of the winter meeting of MLB owners, they plan to recommend that the A's stay in Oakland. They seem to hold out high hopes of building a ballpark on the Oakland waterfront, as I mentioned a few days ago. See ballparkdigest.com. Coincidentally, I was talking to stadium architect and author John Pastier [about that situation] yesterday, and he says that there are multiple problems with the alternative ballpark site in San Jose [clause deleted].
Mike also found an item at tampabay.com about how the city of St. Petersburg is going to have to pay about $7.3 million to sustain baseball at Tropicana Field this year. Estimates of future attendance continue to err on the high side, and the Tampa Bay Rays are not nearly as much of a money-maker as once expected. That's a shame.
Speaking of the Rays, free agent Carlos Peña signed a one-year, $10 million agreement with the Cubs, despite batting only .196 this past year. That deal just makes no sense at all to me. See MLB.com. Peña has played in Tampa Bay since 2007.
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller has entered hospice care, after being treated at the Cleveland Clinic. The former Cleveland Indians hero has been active this year, and commented on the Washington Nationals rookie pitcher, Stephen Strasburg [, who has been compared to Feller]. See examiner.com.
Finally, I recently came across a list of the "Quirkiest Stadium Naming Rights Deals" at businessweek.com.