November 20, 2010 [LINK / comment]
Football in baseball stadiums??!!
Talk about indulging in sports nostalgia! Playing college football games in Wrigley Field and New Yankee Stadium sounded like a great idea when it was first proposed, but in the former case it turned out to be pretty awkward in practice.
In Chicago, Northwestern University (whose campus is on the north edge of Chicago, not far from Wrigley Field) hosted the University of Illinois. There was a lot of hoopla as the game day approached. The football gridiron was laid out along the first-base line, at a slight angle, and it just barely fit within the "friendly confines." Mike Zurawski sent me a relevant news story: chicagotribune.com, and Al Kara from Elkhorn, WI brought this blog to my attention: laketheposts.com; from it, I found these items: sportsgrid.com, a discussion forum at illinoisloyalty.com.
Just yesterday, they decided that, because the brick wall was so close to the end zone, all offensive plays would go toward the home plate side. Kind of like playing half-court basketball -- very weird. And so, all the trouble they took to install goal posts above the brick wall in right field ended up a total waste. (Actually, the far end zone was used during one play, as an Illinois defensive receiver intercepted the ball and ran for a touchdown.) Illinois beat Northwestern by a comfortable margin. For a game wrap-up, including a video showing Wrigley Field, see ESPN. It's too bad the Chicago Bears didn't play in Wrigley Field during 2001-2002, when Soldier Field was under reconstruction. That was before the extra rows of box seats were added, making football extremely problematic. The Bears spent those two years playing at the home field of the University of Illinois, in Champaign.
In the second game, Notre Dame and Army are resuming a matchup that was a tradition in old Yankee Stadium for many years. The football gridiron was laid out from home plate to center field, angled slightly toward the left side, which is deeper. From watching the game on TV, I noticed they installed small bleacher sections in the right field and left field corners, in front of the permanent seating sections. Army scored first, with a field goal, but after that Notre Dame was in control. The Fighting Irish won pretty handily, 27-3. Take a look at the preparations for the football game at sportsgrid.com.
Because of these special games, the Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium II pages will be updated shortly to display the 2010 football versions for both stadiums, shown below. The version of Wrigley Field below includes some corrections and refinements that will soon be incorporated into the rest of the versions. For example, the curvature of the bleachers is a bit broader than before, and the grandstand on the first base side is angled inward about one degree more than I previously estimated.