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December 2012
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December 4, 2012 [LINK / comment]

More winter trades

The Washington Nationals weren't expected to do much roster-wise in the off-season, because their team is already one of the best in baseball. Mike Rizzo has been busy, trading a top pitching prospect to get center fielder from the Minnesota Twins. The Nats do need a fleet-footed center fielder, and Span is also a good leadoff hitter, so Jayson Werth will resume hitting duties further down in the batting order next year. All in all, it seems like a good deal to me. See MLB.com.

Also, the Tampa Bay Rays signed Evan Longoria to a ten-year contract worth $100 million. He has become the face of their franchise, or close to it, so that's not a big surprise. See MLB.com. It's a nice contrast to the situation further south in Florida, where the owners don't seem as willing to put up the big bucks to field a winning team. The Rays have remained competitive in a very tough conference, and can't be ruled out for another push toward the postseason next year.

Camden Yards 20th-year update

It has been 20 years since Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992. I barely noticed during the anniversary celebrations last spring, but there were some significant changes this year, as you can see at mlb.com and bizjournals.com. Most notably, they added a rooftop table-seating area in back of the batter's eye in center field, similar to the one in Nationals Park but deeper.

And so, I have updated the Camden Yards Camden Yards diagrams with several big revisions and many detail enhancements. For example, the "bends" in the lower deck grandstand are shown, in part because three of them intersect with the field fence in a non-regular position.

L.A. Galaxy wins MLS Cup

David Beckham went out with a bang last week, as the L.A. Galaxy beat the Houston Dynamo to become champions of soccer in the U.S.A. See mlssoccer.com

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski informs me that the Cleveland Indians are removing ten luxury suites from Progressive Field, combining them into a single "premium club." Eventually, the plan to reduce seating capacity, even though it is already among the lower-capacity "neoclassical" ballparks. See crainscleveland.com.


December 8, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Nationals sign Dan Haren

The Washington Nationals took another big step toward consolidating a championship-caliber roster for next year, signing free agent pitcher Dan Haren. After passing his physical exam, the formal contract ($13 million for one year) was signed on Friday. He has been selected for the All-Star Game three times, but he was out with a strained back for part of this year. I assume the reason they didn't offer him a multi-year contract was questions about his health. (Remember how the Nats' owners got burned by Chien-Ming Wang and Jason Marquis?) Indeed, there is cause for concern, as reported by MLB.com: "The Angels declined Haren's 2013 option and bought him out for $3.5 million after trying to trade him to the Cubs last month for Carlos Marmol a deal that was reportedly called off because Chicago did not like the medical reports on Haren's hip." Less desirable than Carlos Marmol??!! smile OMG! Assuming he's OK next spring, Haren will fill in the fifth slot in the starting rotation, vacated by Edwin Jackson.

The departure of Jackson means that the Nationals will only have one African-American among their starting pitchers and position players: newcomer Denard Span. That's a rather awkward situation for a team located in a city that is mostly African in terms of ancestry. Span was born in D.C., but the other black Nationals are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Chief among them is Roger Bernadina, a talented outfielder with hustle who was born in Curacao. He was a semi-regular backup player this past year, and is expected back next year.

I just checked Denard Span's stats and learned that his real first name is Keiunta.

Washington Post columnist Adam Kilgore says that Dan Haren's eagerness to sign with Washington shows that the Nationals have become a desirable place for ambitious players to seek. That is probably the case, but Haren will remain an unknown quantity until next April.

How Do You Know?

Tonight was the world "broadcast" premier (on the USA cable channel) of the movie How Do You Know? (2010), starring Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson. Why do I mention that? Because the character played by Owen Wilson is a Washington Nationals pitcher, and there is a scene filmed in Nationals Park! The movie only has a 5.3 rating out of 9 on imdb.com, lower than I would have figured. I guess people expected more from all those top-notch actors, and I agree that there wasn't much personal chemistry between them. The writer and director was James Brooks, who has had some great cinematic successes in his career. Someone caught the obvious (to me) error in which the Nationals relief pitchers were sitting in the visitors' bullpen at Nationals Park. The left-center field location is sunnier and therefore more conducive to movie-making.

The movie title comes from a hilarious bit of dialogue in that bullpen scene. There are no game action sequences, however, and that was a disappointment to me. Maybe Owen Wison can't throw. smile

Memorial Stadium update

Partly because I recently redid the Camden Yards diagrams, and partly in recognition of the big football showdown between the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow, I have updated the Memorial Stadium Memorial Stadium diagrams, with two brand-new versions: one for 1950 (when Memorial Stadium was still just a single-decker) and one for 1996-1997, when the Ravens (ex-Cleveland Browns) played there. Compared to the previous "edition" (July 26, 2009), the two "forks" of the grandstand do not extend as far toward the north, and there a sharper bend behind home plate.

Those who are familiar with my work will quickly notice some of the detail enhancements. The entry portals are now depicted, and the ones in the upper deck happn to coincide with the ones in the lower deck. There is really no need for a separate lower-deck diagram because the new 1950 version (single deck) serves that purpose. Likewise, the lack of a roof means there is no need for a separate upper-deck diagram, such as I recently did for RFK Stadium. The grass slope beyond center field is now shown, and the bullpen, small bleachers, light towers, scoreboards, etc. are now much more accurate than before.

There are still a few lingering questions, such as when the red-brick annex on the southwest side of the stadium was built. (It is shown only in the 1996 football version, when the Ravens played Memorial Stadium, but I know it was there at least as early as 1991, the Orioles' final season there.) It's located where the Orioles players would enter, so it could be a fancy new clubhouse facility. Or it could be once of those posh restaurants geared towards fans with fat wallets. A quick check at baseball-fever.com yielded nothing, so I'll have to raise that question there.

I learned from SABR member Kevin Johnson that the Negro American League Baltimore Elite Giants played four home games at Memorial Stadium in 1950, when it was brand new. The league folded that very same year.


December 17, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Metrodome not-so-easy update

Once again, my decision to tackle a relatively "easy" stadium for upgrading proved to more time-consuming than expected. That's mainly because of all the new details on the Metrodome Metrodome diagrams, which raised unforeseen issues that I had to resolve. Actually, I finished those diagrams a few days ago, and updated the text on that page yesterday, but didn't have time to announce it via blog post.

The main change is that the entry portals in the upper deck are now shown, making it easier to pinpoint exactly where home runs landed in the upper deck. Also displayed are the support columns (tiny dots) to which the cables [which stabilize] the air-supported roof are attached. Guess what? The logical relationship between the positions of those columns and the entry portals was more complicated than you might think! The vehicle entrance near the right field corner is now more accurately positioned, the dugouts are slightly smaller, and of course the profile is more accurate. The playing field is virtually the same as before [the previous update was December 2009], and the stadium structure has the same external dimensions, except that the outer curves are slightly sharper than before.

Also, note that the football version diagram shows the six "cut-out" rows of seats between the dugouts filled in, with a black line to indicate that for some football games they didn't bother to add those extra rows. I had assumed that it was not until after the Twins had left that they put those seats in there, but further checking may be necessary.

New stadium for Vikings

I neglected to mention this when Mike Zurawski brought it to my attention last May, but the Minnesota Vikings finally got the local political approval to build a new stadium. After the Minnesota legislature passed a law providing limited-duration financial incentives from the state government, the Minneapolis City Council approved the funding plan, by a 7-6 vote. Gov. Mark Dayton was a strong supporter of the proposal. The Vikings and private sponsors will pay for just over half of the total "project life cycle costs," which includes future maintenance, etc., far beyond the estimated construction cost of $975 million. See usatoday.com, via fieldofschemes.com. I tried to get the latest news on construction plans, but there is little to be found at vikings.com. They have chosen an architectural firm, HKS, but that's about it. Details on the Vikings' future stadium are sketchy, and even the design has yet to be finalized. One proposal features a massive transparent dome. As far as I know, demolition of the Metrodome could begin next year. Do any Minnesota fans out there know for sure? Please let me know via e-mail, or blog comment.

The mail bag

A reader named Evan asked how I calculate the asymmetry factor in my set of five criteria for each stadium. I replied, "There is no calculation involved; it's just a subjective assessment on my part that takes into account all sorts of irregularities in the outfield, including right-left imbalance, odd corners, different fence heights, etc."


December 22, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Hark! The L.A. Angels spend

The winter season's first true blockbuster transaction took place last week, as the L.A. Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year contract worth $125 million, with a full no-trade clause. Preliminary negotiations began on December 4, and after no comparable offers came forth, the deal was made on December 12. Hamilton is 31 years old, and the owners of his old team (the Texas Rangers) evidently didn't think he was worth competing with big-market teams. He said of that, "I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't bother me a little bit, that they didn't put the press on." But the main thing is, he is excited to be with a team that is determined to compete in the postseason. See MLB.com. Hopefully they'll get more bang for the buck than they did with Albert Pujols, who is past the peak of his career but with nine (9) years left on his $200+ million contract.

The Angels also acquired free agent pitcher Sean Burnett, one of the most reliable relief pitchers for the Washington Nationals this year. That's too bad for the Nats, who are going to need a solid left-hander in the bullpen. The Angels also obtained starting pitcher Jason Vargas from the Mariners in a trade for their designated hitter Kendrys Morales. Franchise owner Arte Moreno is getting eager for his team to make it back to the World Series, but he denies his big spending is motivated by the cross-town rivalry with the Dodgers (see below); see MLB.com. It was just after the Angels' first (and only) world championship in 2002 that he bought the team for $184 million.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Dodgers acquired free agent Zack Greinke, who was demanding more money than the Angels were willing to pay. He spent the first two months of 2012 season in Anaheim, before returning to the Milwaukee Brewers. He played his first seven years in Kansas City, and had his best year in 2009, with an ERA of 2.19, a 16-8 win-loss record, and 242 strikeouts. A player of his caliber is surely tired of bouncing around like he has been for the past couple years. See MLB.com.

Other big transactions

Supposedly, negotiations between the Nationals and Adam LaRoche are getting close to a positive resolution. See MLB.com. If they sign LaRoche, I don't see how they can keep Michael Morse, who would return to first base if LaRoche plays elsewhere next year. Of course, anyone who has been following the budget negotiations between the White House and Congress should have a skeptical view of [this]; talks in Washington often go right down to the last minute. smile

John Lannan, the former ace pitcher for the Washington Nationals until he was relegated to the minors for most of this past year, signed a one-year contract with the Phillies. He's usually very good, and will get many more opportunities to prove himself in Philadelphia.

Outfielder Raul Ibañez reportedly signed a one-year contract with the Mariners; he had played in Seattle on two prior occasions. He made a big splash with the Yankees in Game 3 of the AL divisional series against the Orioles in October, hitting both the game-tying home run in the 9th inning and game-winning home run in the 12th inning.

Finally, the Cubs are close to finalizing deals with two free agent pitchers, Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva. Jackson was the fifth man in the Nationals' rotation this year, but did not receive an offer for a new contract. By the way, on November 22, discussing upcoming nuptial ceremonies of Nationals players, I mistakenly referred to Edwin Jackson as "Henry Jackson." I may have confused him with former U.S. Senator Henry Jackson from the state of Washington, the guy who was nick-named "Scoop." smile

Wrigley Field (L.A.) update

In recognition of the recent ambitious acquisitions made by the Angels, I have updated the diagram of their original home, Wrigley Field (L.A.) Wrigley Field (L.A.). It reflects various minor corrections in the positions of the light towers, bleachers, etc. If you look closely you can see the architectural embellishments that mark each section of the grandstand; in the future I intend to include a lower-deck version showing the entry portals, and those section divisions are important for that.

Of perhaps greater interest is a brand-new feature on that page: a "hypothetical alternative" diagram, based on the proposal that the double-decked grandstand be extended around the corners, toward center field. The Dodgers would have moved into it rather than the outrageous Memorial Coliseum when they relocated from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1958.

The mail bag

Mike Zurawski kindly responded to my query about the Vikings' future stadium plans. It appears that they expect to play the entire 2015 season at TCF Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota across the Mississippi River, and possibly at least part of the 2014 season as well. See dailynorseman.com. [In other words, the Metrodome has at least one more year to go before any demolition begins. The Vikings' future stadium will occupy the same land where they now play.] It's very strange that the plans are still up in the air, however.

Finally, you might want to check out Fantasy Baseball Hub, soon to appear on the list of baseball-related Web sites in the left column of the Baseball blog page. (I know, that list is really out of date. Stay tuned...)


December 22, 2012 [LINK / comment]

End of the world? Not yet!

I was amused by all the recent flurry of fretting about the end of the world which was allegedly predicted to happen on December 21, 2012 by the ancient Mayans. Newspaper cartoons, movies on TV, and news today were all about The Apocalypse. Well, it didn't happen yesterday, obviously, so does that mean we can relax and calmly go about our daily lives? Not yet! According to A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya, by Linda Schele and David Freidel (1990), page 82, tomorrow is the big day:

December 23, 2012, will be 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahau 3 Kankin, the day when the 13 baktuns will end and the Long Count Cycles return to the symmetry of the beginning. The Maya, however, did not conceive this to be the end of this creation, as many have suggested. Pacal, the great king of Palenque, predicted in his inscriptions that the eighieth Calendar Round anniversary of his accession will be celebrated after the first eight-thousand year cycle in the Maya calendar ends. In our time system, this cycle will end of October 15, 4772.

The Mayans had a complex calendar system, with tzolkins (260 days) overlapping with haabs (365 days), which consisted of 18 months lasting 20 days each, and then a five-day period of rest. It took 52 years to complete the cycle, such that the tzolkins and the haabs would (briefly) be in sync once again. A baktun is a cycle of 400 years. The photo below depicts the ancient calendar system, engraved in a huge stone wheel.

I visited the archelogical ruins of camera Palenque in 1985, with my late friend Joe Cash. See the Mexico photo gallery (1985 and 2003) for more.

The Washington Post reported that some New Age enthusiasts in Mexico are taking a more benign view of the impending calendar milestone, something akin to the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Groovy!

Aztec calendar

A calendar stone in the Museum of Archeology in Mexico City, February 2003.


December 24, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Sunshine state mass update

With all the college football bowl games on TV this time of year, I got started on updating stadiums used for football, such as the Superdome, and then one thing led to another, and instead I ended up doing all three baseball stadiums in Florida. With the icy-snowy "wintry mix" outside right now, it helps to think about places with sun and palm trees. Anyway, the main new detail you will notice is the entry portals, and in each case they served as useful reference points that helped me make other corrections.

Tropicana Field update

I decided to update the Tropicana Field Tropicana Field diagrams after Matt Ereth informed me that temporary bleachers were installed there for the Beef O'Brady Bowl football game, which was held on December [21]. The University of Central Florida easily beat the Ball State Cardinals [, 38-17]. That bowl is a matchup between Conference USA and the Big East Conference, which recently suffered a defection by several basketball-focused schools such as Georgetown, and may even dissolve. What a pity.

As for the diagrams, the main changes involve the curvature of the upper deck behind home plate (more gradual than before) and the external structures around the periphery of the dome. I also modified my "proposed alternative," leaving intact the lower deck between the foul poles, and removing them (as before) from left field, where the bullpens ought to go.

Marlins Park update

That, in turn, prompted me to update the Marlins Park Marlins Park diagrams. Once again, including the entry portals proved very useful for the purpose of getting other details as accurate as humanly possible. With more photographs to anaylyze than were available when I did those diagrams last spring, I was able to make a number of improvements in accuracy. For example, the upper deck under the scoreboard in center field tapers a lot more than I had realized, but the lower deck does not. (It extends back several rows from the rear of the upper deck.) The concrete support pillar in back of the Marlins' dugout (third base side) is about 15 feet further to the east (left field) than I had thought. There are a few other minor changes as well.

I also had to modify the text in the final paragraph, in light of the recent "fire sale" by franchise owner Jeffrey Loria. Boo-oo!!

Dolphin Stadium update

But wait, there's more! I also updated the Dolphin Stadium Sun Trust (Dolphin) Stadium diagrams. With perfect external symmetry and zero curves to deal with, that one was a cinch, relatively speaking. Aside from including the entry portals, the only thing that really changed was the position of the light towers, which are aligned with the stadium sections and hence the entry portals.

Speaking of which, the Miami Dolphins are seeking further renovations to Dolphin Stadium, which had its 25th "birthday" this year. Among the changes being contemplated are some kind of canopy or even a retractable dome, but that's absurd, I think. According to stadium expert Marc Ganis, Dolphin Stadium is

too big for regular-season Dolphins games. Sun Life Stadium is the sixth-largest in the NFL, but Miami-Fort Lauderdale is the 16th-largest TV market. And the upper deck, with approximately 35,000 seats, is the largest in the NFL.

The NFL's newest stadiums in suburban Dallas and East Rutherford, N.J., have taken the bigger-is-better approach, but most new or renovated stadiums, including those in Indianapolis, suburban Phoenix and Chicago, are reducing capacity to increase ticket demand.

"The ideal NFL stadium for regular season is in the low- to mid-60,000s," Ganis said. "In many ways, smaller is better."

See palmbeachpost.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. That mentality would explain why they have been shrinking FedEx Field so much that fans won't be able to buy any game day tickets for the upcoming showdown between the Redskins and the Cowboys. Stupid, stupid, stupid...

More hot stove news

Thanks to Larry from California for calling my attention to the Giants, who signed second baseman Marco Scutaro to a three-year, $20 million contract in early December. He was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in a trade last July, and became a free agent at the end of the season. He of course played a big role in the Giants' triumph last October. He probably would have gotten a better deal if he were younger, but he is 37 years old. And the Giants also signed center fielder Angel Pagan to a four-year, $40 million contract. See MLB.com.

And another former Yankee has signed a contract elsewhere. Pending a physical exam, Nick Swisher will get $56 million in a four-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. It's the "biggest free-agent signing in Indians franchise history." See MLB.com; hat tip to Bruce Orser.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, baseball fans! smile


December 24, 2012 [LINK / comment]

New Anglican archbishop named

In the United Kingdom last month, Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed the Very Rev. Justin Welby to be the next archbishop of Canterbury. See www.telegraph.co.uk. Welby is currently the The Bishop of Durham, and will replace Dr. Rowan Williams, who has served for ten years. Welby has an interesting background, working in industry for many years. He says he supports the Church of England's opposition to same-sex marriage, but he promised to keep an open mind, and repeated his support for civil partnerships.

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reacted to the appointment by saying she is "delighted to hear of Bishop Welby's appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury." episcopalchurch.org. Her opinion is crucial because of global tensions within the Anglican Communion over social issues. The Church of England recently voted against ordaining women as priests, something that was done in the U.S. branch of the faith 30-some years ago.

Last summer, the Episcopal Church authorized blessings for same-sex couples, a possible step toward holding marriage ceremonies. "At the General Convention in Indianapolis, 78 percent of laity and 76 percent of clergy in the House of Deputies voted to support the new liturgy Tuesday. The change went into effect on December 2, but ssage is restricted. A bishop's permission is required, and it may not be used in civil marriage ceremonies. See csmonitor.com, which quoted a leading Episcopal theologian, who is very dubious:

"It means the Episcopal Church is now separating itself that much more from the Anglican Communion," says Hood College historian David Hein, co-author of "The Episcopalians," a standard history of the church. "The American Episcopal Church is trying to set itself up as a separate denomination, although they would claim that they're not."

SW Va. bishop to retire

There is also a transition of church leadership in our diocese of southwestern Virginia. The Right Rev. Bishop Neff Powell announced early this year that he would retire in 2013. The diocese has been undertaking a search for a replacement. From dioswva.org, the four final candidates are:

  • The Very Reverend Mark Bourlakas
  • The Reverend Jeanne Finan
  • The Reverend Gail Greenwell
  • The Rt. Reverend David Rice

New priest for Emmanuel

And in local religious news, finally, a new priest has been selected to replace the Rev. Ed Covert, who retired as Rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church last month because of health problems. As of February 2013, the Rev. Shelby Ochs Owen will become the Priest in Charge. Shelby is well known to most of our members already, as she has served for the past few years as Associate Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, which is located just two blocks from us. See emmanuelstaunton.org. (I'm the Web master.)


December 29, 2012 [LINK / comment]

No deal yet with LaRoche

The negotiations with Adam LaRoche are still dragging on, with the only sticking point being the length of a new contract. The fact that neither the Boston Red Sox nor the Texas Rangers (two likely alternative teams) have offered him more than a two-year contract might suggest that the Nationals' front office has more bargaining leverage. As Matt Snyder writes at cbssports.com, "The Nationals should let Adam LaRoche walk." I tend to agree, but that's partly because I'm a bigger fan of Michael Morse, who would likely get squeezed aside if LaRoche returns to first base in Washington. That article notes that the Red Sox are negotiating a three-year deal with Mike Napoli, but have yet to finalize the terms.

College bowl games

Today there were two games played in major league baseball stadiums: the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, at New Yankee Stadium, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park. In the former game, played in the middle of a snow storm in The Bronx, Syracuse beat West Virginia 38-14. I noticed they didn't have the temporary bleachers along the sidelines (in what would be the left and right field corners) as they did in past years. And in the latter game, played in San Francisco, Arizona State beat Navy, 62-28. Ouch!

Also, a there was another bowl game today that used to be played in a baseball stadium: the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which had been known as the Insight Bowl.* From 2001 to 2005 it was played in Phoenix's Bank One Ballpark, which is now called Chase Field. Then the event relocated to Sun Devil Stadium in nearby Tempe, Arizona. The same organization that manages the Fiesta Bowl runs this bowl, hence the event Web site under the domain name of the other event: fiestabowl.org (My blog post from December 2008 discussed this and other college bowl games played in baseball stadiums.)

* It's almost as if they are trying to make all those miscellaneous also-ran bowl games seem even more ridiculous by giving them goofy names.

And earlier this week, the Military Bowl was held in RFK Stadium in Our Nation's Capital. San Jose State beat Bowling Green, 29-20. For all the scores, see ESPN.

Chase Field update

All those bowl games got me thinking about revising the Chase Field Chase Field diagrams, even though it's no longer used for football. It was a fairly easy job, and very little changed other than including the entry portals and handicapped balconies in the upper deck. Note that the bankoneballpark.com Web link which was formerly on that page is dead, and probably has been for years.

Many other diagram revisions are in the works, some coming sooner than you might expect... And believe me, some of them were not easy at all!

Hideki Matsui retires

Bulky slugger Hideki Matsui, who joined the great migration of Japanese baseball superstars to the United States a decade ago, has announced that he is retiring. After playing with the Yankees from 2003 to 2009, he played for the Angels, Athletics, and Rays. He had 175 home runs and a batting average of .282 in his U.S. career. Including the 332 home runs he hit in Japan, his aggregate career home run total would be 507. See MLB.com. For most of his years with the Yankees, he never really met the expectations, but he went out with a bang in November 2009, batting in six runs in World Series Game Six to tie a World Series record, helping the Yankees win another world championship. For that achievement he was named the 2009 World Series MVP.

I was fortunate to take a photo of Matsui hitting an RBI single in a game at Nationals Park last June.

The mail bag

Marc Gilbert proved to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the outfield configuration at Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Landshark/Sunlife Stadium was essentially the same when the Marlins first played there in 1993 as when they left it at the end of 2011. I was previously under the impression that the center field fence originally cut straight across, with no irregularities, and that there were more temporary baseball-only seats along both the first and third base side than in later years. But, Marc writes, "the '434' notch was there on opening day, 1993. I remember it distinctly. The game was televised here in L.A. and I was a stadium junkie even then and thought how cool it was." You can see for yourself the first pitch, thrown by Charlie Hough. I wonder how many people in that crowd could have guessed that the Marlins would win the World Series just four years later?

So, I'm going to relabel the early version of that diagram "1990" rather than "1993," even though I'm not certain when the photo in the book Diamonds by Michael Gershman was taken. It could have been as early as 1988, which was the first time an exhibition baseball game was played there.

I should mention, if I haven't before, that I too was intrigued by the novel way Joe Robbie Stadium was modified for baseball use, and that -- along with the advent of Camden Yards and other "retro" ballparks in the 1990s-- was part of what stirred my long-dormant interest in baseball stadium design.


December 31, 2012 [LINK / comment]

Are you ready for some (postseason) football?

The Washington Redskins closed out the 2012 regular season with a "Big Bang" yesterday, beating the Dallas Cowboys in what had to be the most crucial and dramatic football game in (or near) Washington over the past two decades. It may be the first time in the history of the universe that two teams from Washington made it to the the playoffs in their respective sports. As I wrote on Facebook, the Redskins must have "Natitude"! smile

It occurred to me that there are six current NFL stadiums which have been used for baseball in the past, although one of them (the Superdome) never actually hosted a major league team. I redid one of them earlier this month (Metrodome), and three others are now updated as well. (See below.) Whew!

  • Candlestick Park
  • Dolphin (Sun Life) Stadium
  • Jack Murphy (QualComm) Stadium
  • (Mall of America Field) H.H.H. Metrodome
  • Oakland (O.co) Coliseum
  • (Mercedes Benz) Superdome

West coast dual-use mass update

The following updates to stadiums used for baseball and football concentrate mainly on the entry portals and profile views. In two of those three cases, it involved considerable re-working of the diagrams themselves.

Candlestick Park

The new Candlestick ParkCandlestick Park diagram for 1972 and before illustrate a peculiarity of that stadium: It originally had two levels of entry portals in the upper deck. At some point in the 1980s more or less, they decided they needed more seats, so they gradully closed the lower set of entry portals. The diagrams themselves (last updated about a year ago) are virtually the same as they were before otherwise.

NOTE: The Washington Redskins might play the 49ers in Candlestick Park, if they beat the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday in FedEx Field. The Redskins and 49ers were the dominant teams of the 1980s.

Kingdome

Redoing the KingdomeKingdome diagrams with entry portals helped me resolve a conunundrum about the relative position of the upper decks beyond left field. They are actually about 20 feet farther back than I had originally estimated. Note that the red sections in the rear of the lower deck are what I assume to be some kind of luxury suites, based on photos I have seen, but I can't be sure. Also, note that there is a new "opaque roof" version diagram, as is the case for Marlins Park. Other domed stadium diagrams will have something similar eventually.

Jack Murphy Stadium

I thought redoing Jack Murphy StadiumJack Murphy Stadium with entry portals was going to be a relative cinch, as it was with Chase Field, but along the way I discovered to my horror that certain basic estimates were off base. The vital clue was the position of the foul pole relative to the seating sections, which the entry portals delineate. It was off by an entire section! Somehow I had the movable portion of the lower deck about 15 feet deeper than it really is, and the overall diameter of the stadium was ten feet two big. Making the initial size adjustment wasn't too hard, but then getting all the details to fit once again proved to be very time consuming. But it was worth it, don't you agree!?

Don't worry, I'm not about to get started on doing football stadium diagrams such as FedEx Field, a.k.a. "The Incredible Shrinking Stadium." The Football use page has also been updated with minor corrections. Because that page is primarily a chronology, I'm think of adding a new page related to football/baseball stadiums with more useful information.

The mail bag

Joe Van Winkle informed me that some of the links on the Yankee Stadium page were broken, so I removed them for the time being. He is eager to see entry portals included on those diagrams, and so am I!


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