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September 23, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Final week of the regular season

Most teams have just seven games left to play this year, as summer officially comes to a close. Five teams are already making plans for October, while another eight teams are vying for the five remaining playoff berths. Some of those teams have very little realistic hope of making it, however. You can see the most likely pairings for the wild card and divisional series on the Postseason scores page -- mere projections, subject to change, of course.

Nationals sweep the Marlins

After pausing one day to give the starting players a rest after clinching the divisional title in Atlanta last week, the Washington Nationals got back to business in a four-game series in Miami. In the game on Thursday, the Marlins took a 1-0 lead as Gio Gonzalez looked a little shaky on the mound, but he kept getting out of jams. Then in the fourth inning, the Nats exploded with a five-run rally led by the lower half of their batting order. The Nats held on to win, 6-2, as Gonzalez raised his win-loss record to 9-10.

On Friday, Adam LaRoche put the Nats on the board in the first inning with a blast to the upper deck in right field. Miami rookie Justin Bour hit one even farther in the fourth inning, but that was the last run scored in the game, and the Nats won, 3-2. Doug Fister got win #15 of the year, and Drew Storen got the save.

The best news for Nats fans was the return of Ryan Zimmerman to the lineup on Saturday, after two months on the disabled list. In his very first at-bat, he swung at the first pitch and got a single to right field. In the seventh, he hit an RBI triple that began a three-run rally by which the Nats came back and won the game, 3-2. (Yes, the same score as Friday.) Jordan Zimmermann (no relation, of course) got his 13th win of the year, and Drew Storen got his ninth save.

One bright spot for the Nats is that Stephen Strasburg is finally pitching like the top-notch ace he is supposed to be. In the final game of the series in Miami, he went seven innings without giving up a run, and got his his 13th win of the year as well. Unfortunately, Rafael Soriano was entrusted with responsibility for closing the game, even though the Nats only had a 2-0 lead. Matt Williams is really giving him a lot of second chances. Sure enough, the first batter he faced doubled to left field, nearly getting a home run. The next three batters all made solid contact that could easily have tied the game, but fortune smiled on the visiting team, and all three were outs. Nats 2, Marlins 1. Whew! And that's how Washington swept Miami, keeping itself in good position to maintain the best record in the National League, which would give them home field advantage.

October baseball in L.A.

Both the Angels and the Dodgers secured postseason berths last week, as did the Cardinals, but the latter two teams (NL) are still fending off challenges for the divisional titles from (respectively) the Giants and the Pirates. The Giants are hoping to get revenge on the Dodgers as the two rivals begin a climactic series in L.A. this week. It's an extra-inning nail-biter right now, 2-2 in the 11th. Stay tuned...

[UPDATE: The Giants staged a three-run rally in the top of the 13th and won the game, 5-2, thereby narrowing the gap behind the Dodgers to 3.5 games. It's a lot to overcome with so little time left, but at least they still have a chance to repeat as division champs.]

AL Central showdown

Playing at home in Kansas City last week, the Royals had an excellent opportunity to retake first place from the Detroit Tigers. But all they could manage was one win out of three, so the Tigers widened their lead to 1.5 games.


[ Fenway Park fixup ]

[ Thanks (again) to Zach LaFleur for pointing out a broken link on the Fenway Park page, a first-deck diagram which is still a "work in progress." Actually, all of those diagrams need to be corrected slightly, as far as the length of the grandstand in the right field corner and the position of the gap between that portion of grandstand and the bleachers. ]


Nats' magic number: 0

September 17, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Washington, Baltimore clinch division titles

Boy, that sure felt good! The Washington Nationals became the first team in the majors to clinch a division last night, beating the Braves in Atlanta by a score of 3-0. The game was scoreless until the sixth inning, when Jayson Werth drew a walk and then Ian Desmond crushed a home run to the entry portal near the left field foul pole. Boom! That gave Tanner Roark a nice cushion, and he finished seven full innings without giving up a run. Desmond doubled in the ninth inning, reached third on a hard ground ball hit by Bryce Harper, and then scored on a wild pitch. Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen both had 1-2-3 innings as relief pitchers, and the Nationals jubilantly mobbed each other after the last out was made.

Unfortunately, I was unable to watch the game live, as I was lecturing for a night class. I got to share at least a little excitement, nevertheless, as I happened to be watching the MLB.com online scoreboard during a break when Ian Desmond hit that home run. Likewise, I was checking the scores just when the Nats made the third out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Yes!!! So today, I watched the rebroadcast on MASN, the game as well as "MASN Dan" Kolko's half-hour of interviews with the champagne- and beer-soaked Nationals players. I guess a little wretched excess is OK once in a while, as long as the cleaning bill for the visiting team locker room is not too high. But as manager Matt Williams told his team, they "have promises to keep ... and miles to go before [they] sleep." That was a nice reference to poet Robert Frost, an uplifting way to keep the focus on the ultimate prize next month.

Just 10 or 20 minutes after the Nats-Braves game ended, the Baltimore Orioles emerged victorious in their game against the Blue Jays, by a score of 8-2, thereby clinching the American League East championship for the first time since 1997. The heroes of that game were two guys I never heard of: Steve Pearce hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Alejandro Da Aza hit a three-run triple in the seventh inning. It was quite a coincidence that such clinching victories took place almost simultaneously for baseball teams in neighboring cities!

So now the prospect of a Washington vs. Baltimore World Series becomes very plausible. Wouldn't that be something!

Sun Trust Field groundbreaking

This is almost too weird to believe, but from everything I have read, it seems to be true. In suburburban Cobb County yesterday, the Atlanta Braves held a "groundbreaking" ceremony for their future home, which is to be called "Sun Trust Field." I didn't see any golden shovels or actual dirt in the video, but it is still considered legitimate. The design reminds me a little of Minnesota's Target Field, but details are still sketchy. The actual construction is set to begin early next year, and will presumably be completed in time for the 2017 season. This will put an end to the hiatus in baseball stadium construction that began after Marlins Park opened in 2012. How bizarre that after 20 brief years, Turner Field will end up in "limbo" sooner than either Oakland Coliseum or Tropicana Field! See MLB.com.


Nats' magic number: 2

September 15, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Nats on the verge of clinching

After taking three of four games from the New York Mets over the weekend, and then beating the (second-place) Braves in Atlanta tonight, the Washington Nationals are now just one game from clinching the National League Eastern Division title. With their magic number down to just two, all they need is to win either the Tuesday game or the Wednesday game.

It's quite a contrast from two years ago, when the Nats first won the NL East. The Braves were much better then, and even though the Nats had already secured a postseason berth by September 20, they didn't clinch the divisional title until October 1, with two games yet to play. The Nats ended the 2012 season at 98-64, the best record in the majors, and the Braves were only four games behind them!

In tonight's game, beset with steady drizzle, the Nats got on the board first with another home run (solo) by Wilson Ramos, and scraped together three more runs in subsequent innings. Stephen Strasburg pitched superbly, going seven innings without allowing a run. Unlike past outings in Atlanta, he kept his cool when the pressure was on. He even got an RBI single! But in the bottom of the ninth inning, Matt Williams gave the ball to Rafael Soriano, figuring that a four-run lead was safe enough to entrust to the shaky-at-best former closer. And sure enough, Soriano gave up two doubles and a walk before Williams yanked him, and then Drew Storen struggled to limit the damage, giving up just one more run. A great play by Ian Desmond at shortstop to get the final out may have kept the score from being tied. Final score: 4-2. Whew!

Nats clobber the Mets

Perhaps furious at the way the Mets closing pitcher Jose Mejia taunted them after getting the final out on Friday night, the Nats roared back with a 10-3 win on Saturday. Bryce Harper and Denard Span homered, while the red-hot Anthony Rendon went four for five at the plate. Ian Desmond stole his 20th base of the season, thus becoming the fourth shortstop in Major League history to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases at least three times; the others were Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins and Alex Rodriguez. Quite an elite grouping! Desmond has been in a slump lately, but he has done more than his share throughout the season, a big reason why the Nationals keep winning. Doug Fister got his 14th win, once again leading the team. (Tanner Roark has 13 wins.) See MLB.com. That win, plus the loss by the Braves earlier that day, raised the Nats' lead to 8.5 games, cutting their magic number to six.

On Sunday, Jordan Zimmermann outdueled the Mets' Jon Niese, with neither team scoring for the first six innings. In the top of the seventh, Ian Desmond hustled for an infield single, and then Wilson Ramos crushed a ball into the bullpens in right field, showing amazing opposite-field strength. In the top of the ninth, Ian Desmond led off with a double, but only made it to third base after two outs. Danny Espinosa walked, and then in one of the weirdest plays I've seen in a while, he attempted to steal second ... but not really. He actually could have made it to second, but he paused before he got there, trying to draw a throw from the catcher and hope that Desmond would run home before Espinosa was tagged. And what do you know? It worked! A nice insurance run to make the final score 3-0. With another loss by Atlanta, the Nationals' lead rose to 9.5 games, more than at any time during the 2012 season, while their magic number dropped to just four.

Rangers sweep the Braves

The Texas Rangers, currently in last place in the AL Central, did their part to help the franchise's former home city (Washington, D.C.) get to the playoffs this weekend. They swept the Atlanta Braves in three games. Not many people saw that coming.

Dodgers clobber Giants

After Friday night's game, in which the Giants beat the Dodgers 9-0, some people may have questioned my statement about L.A. teams "dominating" the Bay-area teams. (In fact, someone did!) But on Saturday, the Dodgers came right back with four runs in both the first and second innings, and ended up beating the Giants by a score of 17-0. Pitcher Zack Greinke not only won his 15th game of the year, he had two hits, one of which was a two-run homer. Altogether the Dodgers racked up 24 hits, while the Giants managed just five. The Dodgers also prevailed in the rubber match on Sunday, by the relatively normal score of 4-2.

Statistical table updates

I have continued with the work of updating the statistical tables on the stadium pages, taking care of Canadian ballparks, and miscellaneous ballparks such as Seals Stadium. After verifying my results with an alternate estimation method, I realized that I had to recalculate fair territory in all stadiums, because of slight flaw in my estimation methods. So, pending further updates over the next week or so, most of the stadium statistical tables currently understate fair territory by about 800 square feet. (For most stadiums, that's less than one percent.) After that work is done, I'll post a virtually complete (and corrected!) Stadium statistics page. Then I'll have a lot more to say about fair and foul territory!


Nats' magic number: 8

September 12, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Divisional races start to heat up

With a little more than two weeks left to go in the 2014 regular season, three of the divisional races (NL-C, NL-W, AL-C) are very close, while the other three (NL-E, AL-E, AL-W) are pretty much wrapped up.

Until late July, it appeared very likely that there might be another Bay Area World Series, between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's, just like in 1989. But now it's the Los Angeles teams that dominate their respective leagues, or their divisions at least. We could have the first-ever Los Angeles-only World Series next month, or the first-ever Baltimore-Washington World Series.

NL East: not much drama

In the National League East, the Washington Nationals are still 8.5 games ahead of the Braves, even though they lost 4-3 to the Mets tonight. (Thanks go out to the Texas Rangers, who beat the Braves, 2-1.) Anthony Rendon hit a solo homer and went 3 for 5, but his teammates grounded into double plays three times, killing potential rallies. Gio Gonazalez gave up a three-run double in the bottom of the first inning, and even though he composed himself and went another five innings, he still got charged with the loss. (He's 8-10 this year.) Jayson Werth was out of the lineup tonight with those "flu-like symptoms." I sure hope it's not that dreaded enterovirus that has afflicted so many people in the Midwest.

I'll admit I'm a bit worried about Bryce Harper. He's getting semi-regular hits and occasional homers, but is still not performing like he ought to, and you can tell he is getting very frustrated with himself. In yesterday's Washington Post, there was a big photo of him angrily yelling after hitting a fly ball out. He really needs to keep his composure.

On a brighter note, the Nationals pitchers have the best team ERA in the National League (3.11), just behind the Mariners (3.01), who are the best in the majors. The Nats' starting rotation is solid as can be, and their relievers are very reliable for the most part. The question of who (if anyone) will be the regular closing pitcher during the postseason is the only problem.

NL Central: back & forth

In the NL Central Division, the first-place St. Louis Cardinals lost three straight games (until winning tonight), while the Pittsburgh Pirates have surged ahead of the woebegone Milwaukee Brewers and are now just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals. I get the sense that many people were surprised that the Brewers were doing so well earlier this season, almost expecting them to fall back eventually. The Brewers lost 13 out of 14 games from August 26 through September 9, a disastrous reversal of fortune. But in Miller Park tonight they got a much-needed jolt of energy when pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay hit a game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth inning, beating the Reds, 3-2. That makes three wins in a row, so maybe there's still hope.

NL West: long, hard grind

In the NL West, the Giants continue to keep pace with the Dodgers, who surged into first place toward the end of July. The Giants won three straight games against the Diamondbacks, putting them just two games behind the Dodgers. Their rookie infielder Joe Panik, who briefly caused panic in Washington with his slugging prowess last month, was voted "Mr. Energy of the Month." (See MLB.com.) He is considered a future team leader. After losing two out of three to the visiting Nationals last week, L.A. won five out of six games. The Giants and Dodgers are playing a high-stakes series in San Francisco this weekend.

AL East: Orioles fly high

The big news in the American League is the Baltimore Orioles, who have won six in a row after beating the visiting New York Yankees in a double-header today. Their magic number is now five. In the afternoon game, neither team scored for the first ten innings, and then the Yankees' Chris Young hit a solo homer in the top of the eleventh. But the Orioles loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, and with two outs, Jimmy Paredes hit a two-run double to win the game in dramatic walk-off fashion. This came one day after the Yankees came back from a 4-0 deficit against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, getting two runs in the eighth and three runs in the ninth, thus winning 5-4.

The Orioles got a rude shock when they learned that first baseman Chris Davis received a 25-game suspension after testing positive for the prescription drug Adderall. (Perhaps he was flying too high.) That means he can't play for the rest of the regular season, and will miss at least the divisional series in October, depending on how far the Orioles go. See MLB.com.

AL Central: Tigers-Royals

The Kansas City Royals withstood a fierce challenge from the Detroit Tigers in this week's series in Motown, winning the final game on Wednesday to avoid being swept, thereby remaining in first place. But the Royals lost the first two games of a four-game series against the Red Sox yesterday and today, while the Tigers beat the visiting Cleveland Indians. That puts Detroit in sole possession of first place in the AL Central for the first time in two weeks, with a half game lead. But don't think that the traditional powerhouse in the AL Central has got the inside track to another division title. The Royals have proven themselves worthy competitors, and they've got plenty of support from the community. (Perhaps the Royals will benefit from the lackluster performance of the Kansas City Chiefs, attracting football fans from next door in Arrowhead Stadium over to Kaufmann Stadium.)

Kansas City Royals newspapers

These newspapers posted at the Kansas City airport show how strong fan support is for the Royals. (Courtesy of Dan Clem.)

AL West: Angels astound

The L.A. (Anaheim) Angels are simply awesome this year, and with a winning percentage of .623 (91-53), it's hard to see how anyone except perhaps the Orioles can beat them. The Angels' magic number is now seven. Their big-salary roster of sluggers (Pujols, Trout, Kendrick, Aybar, Hamilton*) is well known, but their pitchers are less prominent, from what I can tell. *Josh Hamilton has been out with a sore shoulder since September 4, and in spite of cortisone shots he isn't making a very fast recovery. As for the Oakland A's, it's a mystery what befell them after doing so well for the first four months. All they can realistically hope for now is to get home field advantage for the wild card play-in game. Meanwhile, with a best-in-the-majors pitching staff, the Seattle Mariners are just a half game behind the Kansas City Royals for the second AL wild card spot. Many possible outcomes still remain...

Stadium chronology fixup

The Stadium chronology, annual page has been updated to include the impending demolition of Candlestick Park and possible demolition of the Astrodome next year. It also lists the expected 2015 groundbreaking on the new Atlanta Braves stadium, yet to be named. In addition, that page now shows the years lights were installed in the "Classical" (Early 20th Century) and "Early Modern" (1920s & 1930s) baseball stadiums. Previously, the only place where that information was compiled was on the Stadiums by class page, soon to be updated.

More on Braves Field

After taking a close look at some old photos of Braves Field (found on baseball-fever.com), I made some significant discoveries. In particular, in 1937 there were distance markers of 407 feet and 404 feet to the left and right (respectively) of the corner in right-center field. Also, home plate was only about 45 feet from the backstop, rather than about 60 feet as it was for most of its lifetime. Those clues allowed me to reconcile the reported distances of 368 (left field) and 376 (right field), which had seemed implausible to me. It also explains why such a big chunk was taken out of the pavilion near the right field corner that year: All of that space was in fair territory until 1940, when an inner fence was added. And so, I added a 1937 version diagram to the Braves Field page. Fortunately, I didn't have to make any noticeable changes to the other diagrams, as was the case with Angel Stadium recently. ("Take two!")

Oops, I did it again

Thanks to Zach LaFleur for pointing out (via the stadium impressions feedback feature) that I had a broken link on the Busch Stadium II page, after doing a big batch of stadium page data table updates earlier this month. That's because I have been working on an upper-deck version diagram for that stadium, but it's not yet ready for publication. [That page is] fixed now. I do depend on fans to bring such mistakes to my attention, which reminds me that I need to streamline the feedback mechanism. Plus I need to reformat the pages to more suitably display on mobile devices, etc., etc., etc. Sigh...


Nats' magic number: 9

September 11, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Nats widen lead over Braves

The Washington Nationals took two of three games from the Atlanta Braves at home in D.C. this week, thereby widening their lead in the NL East Division to eight games and cutting their "magic number" to just ten. It was a big relief to get past one of their arch-nemeses, pretty much eliminating the Braves' hopes of contending for the divisional title this year. On Monday, Doug Fister pitched a masterful seven innings, in a pitchers' duel with Mike Minor, exiting the game with a 1-0 lead. The Nats' bullpen did their job, and Washington won by a score of 2-1. Now Fister has a 13-6 record.

On Tuesday, the Nats jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, as batter after batter got hits. They cooled off after that, but Jordan Zimmermann prevented the Braves from closing the gap. He left after six innings, having given up four runs, two of which were earned. Final score: Nats 6, Braves 4.

Wednesday's game was scoreless for the first four innings, as Stephen Strasburg pitched well, but gave up three runs in six innings. The Braves got three more runs in the eighth inning, so even though Bryce Harper hit a dramatic (solo) home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Nats still lost, 6-2.

Then tonight in New York, the Nats beat the Mets 6-2, thereby shrinking their "magic number" to just nine. For a while, it looked like a rout, with the Nats getting a 6-0 lead before the Mets started clawing their way back. Adam LaRoche homered in the first inning, and Anthony Rendon followed suit in the third inning. Things got dicey in the seventh and eighth innings, when the Mets loaded the bases with just one out. The relief pitchers got into a couple jams, as the bases were loaded with only one out in both the eighth and ninth innings, but they got out of it both times. Tanner Roark got his 13th win of the season, pulling even with [Doug Fister] Cabrera.

Next week the Nats travel to Atlanta, where they will play three games against the Braves in Turner Field.

Ryan Zimmerman has started hitting balls in batting practice, and even knocked a few of them into the outfield seats. (NOTE: On September 1, I erred in suggesting that Zimmerman's return was expected in the next week or two. If he returns to active duty soon, it would greatly boost the Nats' postseason prospects.

On this date two yers ago, the Nats had an 88-54 record, with a 7.5-game lead over the Braves and a magic number of 13.

Braves Field

Braves Field update

Last year Bruce Orser sent me information on the exact structural dimensions of Braves Field, so I made the diagrams slightly bigger for the sake of accuracy. The field itself is the essentially same as before, but the entry portals in the pavilions have been moved, and a few tiny details have been corrected as well. While I was at it, I added a "roofless" diagram version, showing where the entry portals and (obstructing) roof support columns were located. That diagram shows the restrooms that were situated at both ends of the concourse at the rear of the grandstand, but the one on the third base side was evidently a few feet lower, as the space constraint imposed by the property line on that side reduced the number of seat rows from about 55 to about 50.

Weirdest Nats' names

I was watching one of the "Nationals' Classics" baseball games on MASN recently, reminding me of other present and former Nats players with weird names. I went back and checked the (partial) rosters for each year since 2005 on the Washington Nationals annual (history) page. Here's the list I came up with, in reverse chronological order:

  • Asdrubal Cabrera (2014)
  • Shairon Martis (2009)
  • Nyjer Morgan (2009-2010)
  • Lastings Milledge (2008)
  • Odalis Perez (2008): Threw the first-ever pitch at Nationals Park.
  • Terrmel Sledge (2005): Hit the first-ever Washington Nationals home run. (I was there.)

July 31, 2014 [LINK / comment]

The Wild, Wild West!   Baseball road trip 2014

I may not have set any records as far as number of stadiums, but I definitely covered more highway miles than in any of my previous baseball-focused road trips. Altogether, I tallied 6,861 miles over the course of six weeks, venturing far into the desert southwest. During these two months, I saw two Major League stadiums for the first time -- Globe Life Park in Arlington and Chase Field in Phoenix -- as well as one new collegiate stadium: TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. I also visited a few small-town ballparks along the way, including one that was just a stone's throw from the Mexican border. Finally, I attended three MLB games, two of which were in stadiums I had previously seen.

The four Major League stadiums I saw in June & July 2014 (clockwise from top left): Globe Life Park, Great American Ballpark (in Cincinnati), Chase Field, Kauffman Stadium (in Kansas City). [Sequence corrected.]

[UPDATE: My visit to the home of the Rangers in Arlington, Texas on June 24 was curtailed because my father was not feeling up to a full-fledged tour, so I just walked around the outside of the fortress-like stadium. Fortunately, that coincided with a special children's event when many people were milling around, so I managed to slip inside the main gates for a few minutes. That saved me some travel bucks, so I felt obliged to buy some souvenirs in the team store. I also photographed the "Dallas" Cowboys' semi-new home, AT&T Stadium, about a half mile away. In Phoenix, Arizona the very next evening (1,077 miles away!), I saw the Cleveland Indians come close to shutting out the Diamondbacks, with the only run for the home team coming in the bottom of the ninth, when Miguel Montero hit an RBI single. Final score: 6-1. See MLB.com. This was one day after the D-backs won 9-8 in spectacular walk-off fashion, getting a run in the bottom of the 14th inning after tying the game with two runs in the bottom of the 11th. Credit for the win goes to Aaron Hill for his clutch RBI drive into the left-center gap. I was lucky to see the dramatic finale of that game on TV in my motel room. The Indians were neck-and-neck with the Royals in late June, on the verge of contending in the AL Central, but have since fallen back.]

Nationals move into first place

Just before I left town in the middle of last month, the Washington Nationals had shown signs of improvement, and by the All-Star break they were sharing first place with the Atlanta Braves. Jordan Zimmermann was supposed to make the trip to [ Minneapolis ] Kansas City (where the American League won the Midsummer Classic), but he had strained his bicep and was replaced on the National League roster by Tyler Clippard. Actually, the two best Nats pitchers this year have been Tanner Roark (now 11-6) and Doug Fister (10-2), who was on the DL until mid-May. His presence has been a huge benefit to the team. Likewise, the return in June of Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper to the active roster (after recovering from thumb injuries) has helped the Nats greatly. With a full, healthy lineup at last, the Nats started to produce runs on a consistent basis, while the bullpen generally held the lead in the late innings of most games. Since the All-Star break, the Nationals have taken sole possession of first place in the NL Eastern Division.

Yours truly enjoying a great game at Great American Ballpark, this past Sunday.

It was in that context that I saw the Nats play in Cincinnati against the Reds last Sunday afternoon. It was only my second game at Great American Ballpark, and the previous time (2004) the team now known as the Nationals was still playing in Montreal, as the Expos. How time flies! The weather that day was threatening, and indeed I had to brave terrible thunderstorms that morning in Kentucky on my way up to Cincinnati. But the sun came out just as the game was scheduled to begin (1:10), and they got the whole nine innings done with barely a sprinkle. It was a pitcher's duel early on, as Doug Fister put on a masterful performance. In the fifth inning a single by Nats' second baseman Danny Espinosa sparked a big rally. Reds' pitcher Mat Latos got shaky, walking two batters and hitting another one with a pitch. The rally was capped when Adam LaRoche hit a two-run single to left field, making it 3-0. The next batter, Ian Desmond hit a towering fly ball to center field that was caught right in front of the fence. A few more feet and it would have been a 6-0 game. In the ninth inning, Anthony Rendon batted in an insurance run that proved to be very useful. In the bottom of the ninth, Aaron Barrett took the mound, but he gave up singles to the first two batters and was immediately replaced by the regular closing pitcher Rafael Soriano. The very next batter, Devin Mesoraco, doubled to deep left-center field, making it a whole new ball game, with the score 4-2. Oh, no, here we go again... Fortunately, Soriano settled down and got the next three batters out to end the game. Whew!

Doug Fister, preparing to pitch.

Before and during the game, I made note of several details that had escaped my notice the last time I was inside GABP ten years ago. For one thing, there is a disjuncture between the lower deck main grandstand and the lower deck in left field, where the "pitch" (slope) is steeper. Also, the upper deck bleachers in left field are shaped slightly irregularly. Minor diagram fixups to come...

Royals climb into contention

One nice surprise of the 2014 season is that the Kansas City Royals have made themselves into a contending team. They're 54-52 right now, just five games behind the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers. I saw the Royals play the Cleveland Indians last Friday night, when it was very hot and muggy. The home team took and early lead, but then the visitors tied it. The crucial play in the game was when the slugging star Billy Butler (who was pinch hitting, after being benched) came through with a dramatic two-run homer deep into the bullpen in left field. And I captured the event on camera! The Royals held on to win, 6-4.

Billy Butler hits the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

Virginia makes it to CWS finals

The University of Virginia Cavaliers made a great effort in the 2014 College World Series in Omaha, making it to the final three-game series for the first time, but ended up a close #2. In Game 1 was a blowout victory by Vanderilt, but U.Va. tied the series in Game 2. In the deciding game, the game was tied 2-2 in the eighth inning when Vanderbilt's John Norwood hit a solo home run that proved to be the deciding play. See ncaa.com. The U.Va. Cavalier baseball team deserves great credit for fighting back and going all the way to the final out. "So close, and yet so far!"

I was hoping my travel plans might coincide with the CWS schedule, but it just didn't work out. I made a point on my return trip (en route to Kansas City) to stop at beautiful, modern TD Ameritrade Stadium for the first time. It replaced the venerable Rosenblatt Stadium south of downtown Omaha in 2011. (See blog posts from June 2011 and August 2009, when I stopped there briefly.) Strangely, however, Omaha's minor league team (the Storm Chasers, the AAA affiliate of the K.C. Royals) does not play there but instead at a smaller ballpark several miles southwest of Omaha. Go figure.

TD Ameritrade Park CWS 2014 banners

TD Ameritrade Park, showing the CWS 2014 banners. (July 25, 2014)









Coming Attractions
  • Safeco Field
  • Metropolitan Stadium
  • Dodger Stadium
  • Sportsman's Park
  • Crosley Field
  • Riverfront Stadium
  • Comiskey Park
  • Wrigley Field
  • Fenway Park
  • Busch Stadium (III)
  • Busch Stadium II
  • PNC Park
  • Coors Field
  • Mile High Stadium
  • Griffith Stadium
  • Cleveland Stadium
  • Minute Maid Park
  • Astrodome
  • Yankee Stadium
  • Polo Grounds
  • Ebbets Field
  • Three Rivers Stadium
  • Forbes Field
  • Baker Bowl
  • Olympic Stadium
  • Tokyo Dome
  • Champion Stadium (Orlando)
  • Hilltop Park
  • Exposition Park
  • Robison Field
  • B.C. Place

(Includes major revisions, minor revisions, pages with additional diagrams, and future stadiums that are under construction. This is only a rough guide; the sequence is subject to change.)


Stadium construction

For the first time since September 1986 (just before groundbreaking on Skydome in Toronto), there are no major league baseball stadiums currently under construction. Therefore, the table that used to occupy this space has been removed.


Research department:

  • Bruce Orser
  • Mike Zurawski
  • Mark London
  • Brian Hughes
  • John Crozier
  • Stephen Poppe


Baseball books:


See Sources for a brief description of the above books. Also see more specialized books on the Ebbets Field, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium pages.



From October through December, a table of all Postseason game scores is shown here.


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