August 18, 2012
By Jove, I think I've got it! After spending hours and hours squinting at all the photos I took at the game on July 19, the Wrigley Field diagrams are now 100% up to my highest standards. And they said it couldn't be done! The biggest change is that the upper deck is positioned about ten feet forward of where it had been in the previous diagrams. I have also included a few special details, such as the ivy which covers the outfield wall. One thing I noticed right away while exploring the upper deck is that there is a 6-foot wide walkway that stretches almost all the way from the right corner to the left corner. That is visible as a "notch" in the diagram profile. One of the things I was most curious about during my inspection was the relation between ground level outside and the playing field. That too is illustrated by the profile, showing the two stairways by which fans get access to the lateral walkways in the lower deck. To get to the up-close box seats, you have to walk about eight feet down a ramp-tunnel, and then back up again.
Of particular note is the all-new lower-deck diagram, which shows the ramps along the narrow concourse at the rear of the lower deck. For a stadium with so much overhang, that is especially useful. The "UP" symbols are experimental, and I may remove them later on. Another change is the letter "B" to indicate the bleachers. I tenatively plan to do this on the rest of the diagrams, eventually. Some of the diagrams show buildings across the street; I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with those neighborhood features. Finally, please note that the 1914 version diagram is a "work in progress," since I still haven't reconciled all the various photographs and other information from the early days, when it was called "Weeghman Park."
Those are merely the technical details, however. I will elaborate more fully on the aesthetic aspects of Wrigley Field in the days to come. Needless to say, it was a pretty big experience for me. And of course, that page now features several new photos that I took on July 19. Too bad it was cloudy that day.
There is still no work on the triangular plot of land just west of Wrigley Field, just a trailer with a store selling official Cubs merchandise. See the Chicago Tribune for details on the plans for developing that area, with a parking garage (desperately needed!), etc.
Thanks to a grand slam by Michael Morse, and a two-run homer by Bryce Harper, the Nationals took the first game against the Mets in the weekend series back home in Washington. Ross Detwiler got off to a shaky start, giving up two runs in the top of the first inning, but then he pitched four scoreless innings before giving up a third run. He still got the win, and now has a 7-5 record. See MLB.com for a full game recap. The Mets' Johan Santana is suffering from some kind of ailment, and it's possible he may be shut down for the rest of the season to recuperate.
That was the 24th grand slam hit by the Nationals since their D.C. "rebirth" in 2005. Surprisingly, it was the first grand slam hit by a Nationals player this year. The last such blast occurred almost exactly one year ago: August 19, 2011; Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nats beat the Phillies 8-4. See the Washington Nationals page.
Friday's game marked the return of Ian Desmond to the lineup. He didn't get any hits, but his defensive abilities are very much welcome. That pushed Steve Lombardozzi, who had been playing second base while Danny Espinosa was filling in for Desmond at shortstop, back to the bench. Lombardozzi has had a great year, illustrating once again the incredible depth the Nationals roster has this year.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves won as well, and in fact they gained a half game in the NL East race since the Nats were resting on Thursday. The Braves are now four games in back. What an incredibly competitive race there is for the National League Eastern Division!
Famed Red Sox right fielder Johnny Pesky, for whom the "Pesky pole" in Fenway Park was named, passed away this week [at the age of 92. His real last name was Paveskovich, and his parents were from Croatia, then part of Yugoslavia. He played with the Red Sox for ten years, beginning in 1942, and was then traded to Detroit, and finally to Washington, retiring after the 1954 season. He led the American League in hits three times, and later managed the Red Sox and worked as a broadcast announcer. He had a lifetime affiliation with the team and with the city of Boston.] Read a full obituary in the Washington Post.