March 15, 2019
It took yet another sustained Herculean effort stretching over nearly two weeks, but I stuck with it and finally "got 'er done." Yes, the Olympic Stadium diagrams have been revised, on a massive scale befitting the massive size of the structure itself. The tragic, misbegotten former home of the Montreal Expos (who relocated and became the Washington Nationals in 2005) still stands as a monument to wishful thinking by public officials eager to establish a legacy. The public debt needed to finance construction of "the Big Owe" was not retired until after the Expos had departed. It still hosts occasional football and soccer games, as well as monster truck shows and assorted conventions, but for most intents and purposes, it is in a state of limbo.
Aside from minor corrections and detail enhancements, here are the more notable changes since the last diagram update in June 2012, nearly seven years ago:
The photos I have seen suggest that the rear of the roof, which covers the concourses behind the grandstand, is not directly supported but is suspended by balancing tension in the structural members. I may have to check on that to make sure. Or maybe I'll just drive up to Montreal this summer! In any case, I replaced the old profile with the new one on the Stadium profiles page, which I'll update as soon as the three remaining diagrams are completed.
Note that, for the time being at least, I opted not to render the lights which are attached to the front of the permanent roof. Too much clutter. I may do that later, and I may do a "combined" diagram, showing the football gridiron and temporary seats superimposed on the baseball playing field. Finally, I may add a 1980s diagram, without the original wide Olympic track behind home plate and the bleachers in center field. (I estimate it was about 495 feet to those bleachers from home plate!)
For what it's worth, the Washington Nationals have won four games in a row, with lopsided wins against the Twins yesterday and the Mets today. Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman both homered in today's game, while Victor Robles and Juan Soto are continuing the slugging peformance that they exhibited as rookies last year. (Soto played for 116 games last year, whereas Robles has only played in 34 games total over two years.) Hot infield prospect Carter Kieboom has hit three home runs already, and may be ready to replace Brian Dozier at second base next year. Anthony Rendon, whose contract expires at the end of this year, had a slow start this spring, but went four for four at the plate today. Michael A. Taylor, who is fighting for the center field position, got hurt while making a diving catch today, but it doesn't appear to be too serious. On the mound, starting pitchers Jeremy Hellickson and Stephen Strasburg have been very impressive, while Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, and Max Scherzer are only fair to middling so far. Opening Day in Our Nation's Capital is now less than two weeks away!
There is much talk about which team will end up signing closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel to a contract. I was initially opposed to the Nats making him a big offer, partly because I think Sean Doolittle is more than satisfactory in that role already. But apparently "The Doctor" says he'd welcome Kimbrel joining the Nats bullpen, so maybe it would work out OK.
The new star slugger of the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper, has yet to get a hit in five at-bats this spring, but he has reached base a few times on walks.
Mike Zurawski informs me that the Oakland A's are trying to jazz up their aging Coliseum with a new "Fan Stomping Ground" located in the middle level of the outfield grandstand on the right field side. Apparently it's a family-friendly place to hang out and amuse each other when the action on the field slows down. See MLB.com.
And speaking of Oakland Coliseum, the NFL Raiders are still not 100% certain where they will be playing football next fall. One possibility was Oracle Field (formerly called AT&T Park, home of the Giants), but the "San Francisco" (Santa Clara) 49ers vetoed that idea. The Raiders are being sued by the city of Oakland because of their plans to relocate to Las Vegas, once the new stadium is ready in 2020 or 2021. Awk-ward!
Terry Wallace sent me a photo of Forbes Field with temporary bleachers for the 1925 World Series; he seems eager for those diagrams to be updated, and I can't blame him!
And finally, Angel Amezquita sent me some images of the Canadian Football League Baltimore Stallions playing in Memorial Stadium in the 1990s, suggesting that I include a CFL gridiron diagram on that page. Anything is possible!
I'm going to take a short break from all the exhausting diagram work, and will try to get to other recent e-mail messages in the next few days. Thanks for your patience, as always!