August 5, 2016 [LINK / comment]
New!!! After many hours of graphical drudgery, I have finished a brand-new Web page that allows you to compare the profiles (side views) of all current and past MLB stadiums: Stadium profiles. It's one of those projects I've had on the back burner for many months (or years, in this case), and I think I figured out an ideal way to present the graphical information. The profiles are twice the size of the profiles that are seen in the corners of each stadium diagram, and in each one the front edge of the grandstand is "anchored" to the same exact spot, with the same field level for all of them, or almost all. That allows you to compare the total height of the stadiums, or the height of each respective deck. In some cases, such as Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field, the field was lowered at one point in time, complicating matters slightly. There are presently two such profiles each for Yankee Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field, since both of those grandstands were rebuilt. I may add a second (early years) profile of Wrigley Field later on. In some cases, such as Shibe Park or RFK Stadium, there are multiple profiles, just as there are on the diagrams on those pages. I decided there wasn't much point to including a second profile for outfield bleachers.
For example, here is the Washington Nationals current home, which you can compare to their previous home (RFK Stadium) by rolling your mouse over the image:
One particularly useful feature of the new page is that gray lines indicate the highest seating row, and the field level. I didn't realize this before, but if my estimates are correct, the very highest seats at Nationals Park are the same height above the field as the highest seats at RFK Stadium: 117 feet, plus or minus a few. Who wants to guess what stadium has the very highest seats of all? (Hint: I was there!)
Bear in mind that some of those profiles are more accurate than what are currently displayed on the diagrams themselves, several of which are still in the process of being refined and enhanced. (See the current list of "Coming Attractions.") As I finalize the rest of those diagrams over the next few months, I may have to revise those profiles as well. For example, I suspect that in my Camden Yards diagrams, the profile may be a bit too short.
Note that there is a link with a mobile device icon () near the top of the new page. Clicking on the link toggles between desktop display mode and mobile display mode. In desktop mode, you generate dynamic diagram effects by rolling your mouse over the link, and clicking on the links takes you to the page in question. In the latter mode, where there is no mouse rollover, tapping on the links does NOT take you to that page. For now, mobile display mode is suitable for larger devices such as iPads but not for smart phones. I will work on making that page more accessible to smaller devices in the next couple days.
Daniel Murphy was chosen as National League player of the month, and Stephen Strasburg was chosen as NL pitcher of the month. It's just like May of last year, when Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer were chosen for those monthly honors; see June 8, 2015 (scroll down). Murphy had a .346 batting average in July, maintaining the #1 ranking in the National League, and he hit six home runs. Plus, he got two hits in the All-Star game. Murphy previously received that honor in May, after Bryce Harper was chosen in April. Strasburg had a 4-1 record in July, and it's ironic he received the honor in a month during which he lost his only game! But the dominance he displayed was unquestionable, holding opposing players to a .127 batting average in July. It was the second time Strasburg won the NL Pitcher of the Month award, the first being in April 2012. See MLB.com.
Tonight the Nationals welcomed the San Francisco Giants to Our Nation's Capital, after a fairly successful 6-3 road trip out west during which they went 2-2 against the Giants. The Nats started off on the right foot with three hits and two runs in the first inning, and added three more runs later on, with solo homers by Trea Turner and Wilson Ramos. It was Turner's second homer of the year and the second of his last two games! On the mound, Gio Gonzalez had his best outing of the year, giving up just two hits (one a solo home run) over seven full innings. The Giants threatened in the eighth inning, but Sammy Solis got three outs without allowing a run. The Nats' new closing pitcher Mark Melancon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, but it wasn't a save situation. It was his first appearance in Washington since being traded from Pittsburgh, and the home crowd gave him a warm welcome. Final score: Nats 5, Giants 1.
In the southern hemisphere this evening, meanwhile, the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games were held in Rio de Janeiro. There a somber background to the pomp and gaity, as Brazil is suffering a series of simultaneous crises: economic (major recession), political (impeachment of the president), and public health (the Zika virus). Anyway, I suppose this means I'd better get to work on my Olympic Stadium diagrams, as I did four years ago... Since I have some interest in major sports stadiums in Latin America, I may have something to say about Brazil's big stadiums. I wrote a brief piece on "Baseball in the Olympic Games" in August 2008, the last time the Olympics included a baseball competition. Baseball will return to the Olympics four years hence, when Tokyo hosts the quadrennial sports extravaganza.