Stadium capacity changes, 2023
Are you ready for some number crunching? Just like two years ago (April 30, 2021), I have compiled the current-year seating capacity figures for each of the 30 MLB stadiums and calculated changes in capacity compared to 2021. (I'll have to check to see whether there were any significant changes last year.) The three stadiums whose capacity changed by at least 1,000 (Rogers Centre, Busch Stadium III, and Great American Ballpark) are highlighted in yellow. Coors Field surged into second place ahead of Rogers Centre, reflecting the latter stadium's revamped outfield seating. A sizeable part of the second deck near the two foul poles was removed. Nationals Park has just barely surpassed Wrigley Field, while Minute Maid Park has dropped two steps, and now trails Comerica Park. Otherwise, the seating capacity rankings are almost the same as two years ago.
|Stadium name |
(current & recent)
|2023 capacity||2021-2023 |
|Yankee Stadium II||47,309||0|
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards||45,791||-180|
|Busch Stadium III||44,494||-1,000|
|Great American Ballpark||43,891||+1,572|
|Citizens Bank Park||42,901||+109|
|American Family Field (ex-Miller Park)||41,700||-200|
|Truist Park (ex-SunTrust)||41,149||+65|
|Minute Maid Park||41,000||-168|
|Guaranteed Rate Field (ex-U.S. Cellular)||40,241||-374|
|Globe Life Field||40,000||-300|
|LoanDepot Park (ex-Marlins Park)||37,446||+704|
SOURCE: Box scores published in the Washington Post.
Sometimes, reductions in stadiums' seating capacity are announced without any seats really being taken out. Most notably, Tropicana Field's 1998 capacity was 45,000, but it has been reduced sharply several times in the years since then, by closing the upper deck, etc. The same used to be true of Oakland Coliseum, but it now includes virtually all the baseball-suitable seats.
One might question why the capacity of Oriole Park at Camden Yards has remained the same (45,791) ever since 2011 even though they tore out a big chunk of the left field grandstand last year. (See April 17, 2022.) When I revamp all of the stadium pages this summer I will include the current (2023) capacity figures. My general practice is to ignore the minor year-to-year changes, often using figures rounded off to the nearest thousand. As the table above shows, that is exactly what some teams have done.
I read that this past weekend saw the biggest total attendance for MLB games before June since 2017 (mlb.com), which is a very good sign. Games played from Friday through Sunday drew 1,518,016 fans through the turnstiles, compared to 1,550,987 from April 7-9, 2017. Now that the U.S. government and the World Health Organization have officially declared an end to the covid-19 "emergency," there's really no reason for fans to shy away from ballgames.
NOTE: While I do my best to get accustomed to the rapid-fire stadium name changes from year to year, in the table above I have retained (in parentheses) the old names of three stadiums whose names are probably less familiar to most people. On the other hand, not even the Oakland Athletics bother to update their website with the new name of Oakland Coliseum, "Ring Central Coliseum." Whatever Ring Central is, they wasted their stadium naming rights money. The Athletics' lease there expires after next season, and they could relocate to Las Vegas by 2025. Also, I decided to emphatically repudiate the silly capitalization of what was called "Marlins Park" until two years ago: "loanDepot" has a lower-case L (which looks like an I) and an upper-case D. Instead, I shall henceforth refer to it in proper English: LoanDepot Park!
I should mention that the stadium capacity numbers will be used the soon-to-be-updated Baseball cities page, which compares metropolitan area population, stadium size, and attendance.
Soto returns to D.C.
The Nats' prodigal son Juan Soto returned to his former home in Nationals Park this evening, and got the last laugh when he hit a long home run (441 feet) to center field in the 7th inning. The Nats had hit back-to-back home runs off Yu Darvish in the 5th inning (by C.J. Abrams and Lane Thomas, respectively) to tie the game 3-3, but then relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez gave up four runs over the two innings he pitched, including the homer by Soto and then a two-run homer by Jake Cronenworth. It looked like the ball hit the top of the padding before rolling back onto the field, but the video review folks said it cleared the fence. Oh well. That opened up a four-run lead, which proved to be too much to overcome. Final score: Padres 7, Nats 4.
The Nats (now with a 20-28 record) began that series just one game behind the Padres in the overall National League standings, and they still have a chance to pull even if they win the next two games. It's an interesting situation, given that Soto left the Nationals (or made it clear that he wanted to be traded) last year because of his eagerness to play on team contending for the postseason. Oops! This year the Padres are going nowhere fast, while the Nationals are headed upward. In today's Washington Post, Barry Svrluga raises the possibility that the Nationals might want to invite Soto back with a long-term contract after he becomes a free agent following the 2024 season. Hmmm.....
Elsewhere in the majors
Believe it or not, all five teams in the American League East Division now have a better record than the first-place team in the AL Central Division, the Minnesota Twins (25-24)! The New York Yankees have rebounded from a miserable first month, and after winning their 5th game in a row are now in third place at .600 (30-20). The team they beat, the Baltimore Orioles, are in 2nd place, only 3 games behind the first place Tampa Bay Rays. The last place Toronto Blue Jays beat the Rays 20-1 tonight, with 9 runs coming in the 9th inning off position players who were filling in as relief pitchers to give the bullpen some rest. Maybe the Rays' historically-good first two months can't be sustained for the whole season after all. Meanwhile, the 4th place Boston Red Sox are a half game ahead of the Blue Jays.
Urban eye candy
One of the ongoing enhancements to the stadium pages is a photographic "montage" showing some of the iconic scenes from each of the respective cities. (Or at least the ones I have visited.) I really like this one from Kansas City on the Kauffman Stadium page :