I invite fans of this Web site to share any photos which they have taken of the major league ballparks. There are currently no photos on the pages for the ones listed below, most of which are no longer in existence. I would also be glad to include photos of stadiums that served as "neutral venues," or photos that are of better quality than the current ones...
I always credit the original photographers, and am much obliged to the following people:
Mario Vara III
William R Kooney
This web site has no connection to Major League Baseball or any of its affiliated franchises. The information contained herein is accurate as far as the author knows, and the opinions expressed are his alone.
Not long after getting a Best Buy gift card from an appreciative Jordan Zimmermann, Steven Souza Jr. was honored to get the GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) "Play of the Year" award [for that amazing game-ending, no-hitter-saving catch at Nationals Park on September 28]. See MLB.com. I'm still dumbfounded at how lucky I was not just to be at that game, but to get a photo of that historic play. I just showed that photo on November 29 for a second time, so instead of showing it for a third time, I incorporated it into a montage of some of the Nationals' other great moments of the past three seasons:
Some of the Washington Nationals' "great moments" I have had the privilege to witness -- and photograph! At top left, the Nationals mob Jordan Zimmermann after Steven Souza Jr. (top right) made the diving catch to preserve the no-hitter last September 28. Bottom middle, Ian Desmond homers to get the only run scored in that game. Bottom left, Ryan Zimmerman hits a home run into the "Red Porch" on September 22, 2013. Bottom right, on September 8, 2012, Jayson Werth homers in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game, which the Nationals won one inning later.
You can also see a larger-size version of the Nationals mobbing Jordan Zimmermann, in the top left of that montage.
What about "great moments" of players from other teams which I have seen? Well, I saw then New York Met Julio Franco's home run on September 2006; the following year he hit one more to top his own record. And last July in Kansas City I saw and photographed Billy Butler hitting a home run that proved to be the Royals' margin of victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Winter GM meetings commence
In beautiful, balmy San Diego, MLB general managers have begun their annual winter meetings. On the first day, the Chicago White Sox picked up two first-class pitchers: Jeff Samardzija (who has played for the Cubs and Athletics in recent years) and David Robertson (who has been with the Yankees). For a full recap, see MLB.com.
This event is the "swan song" for outgoing MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who officially retires at the end of the month. I hope he gets a suitable sendoff to reward him for leading the sport through some exciting but often trying times over the past two decades.
Nats free agents get offers
All Washington Nationals free agents received qualifying offers from the management, which is good news but not exactly a surprise. Can the franchise keep both Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann on the roster? They will both expect big raises, and they're probably worth it.
On the other hand, Ken Rosenthal (foxsports.com) says the Nationals should avoid getting into a contract squabble with Bryce Harper.
Werth: "2 Fast, 2 Furious"
Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth was convicted of reckless driving by a judge in Fairfax County last week, and was sentenced to ten days in jail. He is trying to cut the actual time served behind bars to only five days, however. Always the rebellious kind, he was driving his Porsche at over 100 miles per hour on the Beltway, and the cops nabbed him. (Washington Post)
Three Rivers Stadium update
For the second time in three days, I have finished updating diagrams that were over five years old -- in this case, for Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. Aside from the obvious inclusion of new details such as the entry portals, the biggest change since the 2009 version is that the overall shape is slightly more of an oval, with more pronounced bends behind home plate and beyond center field. It's rather like a football, in fact, reminding me of how the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore had a sharp bend behind home plate. This finding is based on a closer inspection of some aerial photos, and helps to resolve one of the nagging discrepancies in the oval-shaped stadiums with "paired swivelable circular section lower deck" (PSCSLD) configuration. (The other is Busch Stadium II.) For such a dual-use arrangement to work, the curvature of the rear of the movable portion of the grandstand must match the curvature of the rest of the grandstand. In a typical, more blunt oval, consisting of four circular (fixed-radius) curves, the range of movement would be too restricted. I'll have to figure out how to explain that more clearly.
Several weeks behind schedule, the diagrams for Dodger Stadium are now up to my highest standards in terms of accuracy and inclusion of details. As for accuracy, the biggest change is that the angle of the grandstand as a whole is slightly more acute. I determined this by carefully inspecting photographs to see where the line marked by the front row of seats extends. (Getting photographs taken from the right perspective makes all the difference.) In addition, the profile is much more accurate than before, and attempts to be more realistic in showing the lower deck as a slab embedded in the earth, rather than as a schematic wedge, as nearly all of my diagrams presently do. It's hard to know exactly how deep the foundations of most stadiums are, but in this case, there are plenty of photographs showing the excavation when most of the lower deck was rebuilt in early 2013.
As an example of new detail, mainly for aesthetic purposes, you can see the trademark zig-zag roof that partly covers the outfield pavilions, as well as the trees beyond. (I decided not to worry about the exact number or position of trees for the time being.) Other new details include the small staircases in front of the bleacher sections, and the scoreboards that protrude a few feet in front of the lights behind those same bleachers. Aside from the sides of the bleachers, the only entry portals are in the upper deck, for which there is a new "no-roof" version diagram. There is also a new 2014 version diagram, which differs from the 2005 version mainly in displaying the newly-built peripheral buildings: team stores, eateries, restrooms, etc. To provide enough room to show those additions, I created a new "full-view" diagram. Finally, there is a hockey version diagram.
As often happens, there were several points over the past couple weeks at which I thought I had Dodger Stadium all wrapped up. For nearly a day I was stumped because I could not reconcile the position of the light towers and the roofs with number of seats in the third and fourth decks. Finally, I realized that the ten-foot discrepancy was the result of the roof supports being in front of the third row from the back of the third deck. Yes, there are some obstructed seats there! (Supposedly some of those upper-deck seats have been closed off in recent years, but I couldn't figure out exactly which sections were affected.) I also had some trouble trying to figure out how many rows there are in the third deck in the segment underneath the fourth deck, and likewise in how much overhang there is.
One minor correction just a couple days ago stemmed from a chance look at a photograph showing the alignment of the end of the grandstand just beyond the foul pole(s). Previously, I had those ends pointing toward the vicinity of second base, when in fact they point toward at least 20 feet beyond the infield dirt. As a result, the furthest point in the rear corner of the grandstand (near the foul poles) is now about ten feet closer to home than it used to be. Another vexing headache was trying to reconcile the front edge of the grandstand in the original configuration (1962-1999) with the area covered by the extended infield seating sections built in 2005. I finally realized that the back row of the new seats occupies space where the original first row used to be, i.e., they overlap. Small differences like that often yield huge differences in the overall diagram.
Finishing Dodger Stadium was one of the biggest remaining hurdles toward my goal of estimating the total playing area of all current and past MLB stadiums. From 1969 until 2000 it had about 33,500 square feet foul territory, one of the biggest in the majors. (It's now only about 19,300 square feet.) Fair territory was originally (1962-1968) about 115,800 square feet, which is quite spacious, and since 1969 it has been about 110,500 square feet feet, which is just a bit above average. I'm fairly confident in my fair and foul territory estimates for nearly all remaining stadiums on my "to-do" list, but some double-checking will be necessary.
Dodger Stadium was featured in several movies, including The Satan Bug (1965), Superman Returns (2006), in which Superman prevents a jetliner that is carrying a Space Shuttle from crashing, and The Core (2003), in the scene where the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew over during a Colorado Rockies-Los Angeles Dodgers game and (if I understand correctly) makes an emergency crash landing. (Thanks to Daley Holder for that tip.)
Among the sources in getting all the features of the 2013-2014 renovations correct were latimes.com and MLB.com. Of course, the fine photographs in the books Ballparks Yesterday and Today (John Pastier et al.), Green Cathedrals (Phil Lowry), and Blue Skies Green Fields (Ira Rosen) proved very useful in getting everything just right.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, this is a major revision to the diagrams of a very important stadium, and represents one of the biggest landmarks in my diagramming endeavors of the past few years. It's a good thing the Dodgers didn't make it to the World Series in October, as that would have put almost unbearable pressure on me to get an accurate diagram out on time!
My last update to the Dodger Stadium diagrams was in January 2009 -- nearly six years ago! It once again reminds me how badly other diagrams need to be updated. In particular, I have realized that the upper deck in my PNC Park diagram is about ten feet too shallow, so I have gotten to work fixing that. Otherwise, nearly all of my other current MLB stadium diagrams are pretty accurate, with relatively minor corrections or enhancements to make ... I hope!
I'll report some news on soccer in D.C., Steven Souza Jr., Jayson Werth, and others tomorrow...
It's halftime at the Canadian Football League's championship game, a.k.a the Grey Cup. The Calgary Stampeders lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17-7, and the Imagine Dragons are playing! (Live scores at nationalpost.com.) This year the Grey Cup is being played in Vancouver's BC Place, which was thoroughly renovated with a new suspended (rather than air-inflated) roof a couple years ago. Why is that relevant for baseball fans? Because the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners have played a few exhibition games there over the years. I mentioned that in February 2010. Perhaps next year I'll finally do a diagram of BC Place...
Exhibition Stadium update
In the mean time, to mark the big day Up North, I have revised the Exhibition Stadium diagrams. They now show the entry portals and the wire suspensions that hold up the massive roof over the pavilion that used to sit beyond left field. Also a few critical details such as the seating sections with benches rather than individual seats, etc.
As noted on that page, Exhibition Stadium hosted the Grey Cup a number of times, the last of which was in 1982, in the midst of miserable freezing-rain conditions. That may have boosted support for constructing what became the Skydome, now known as Rogers Centre. (cfl.ca)
I've been on a roll during this Thanksgiving break, and just updated the diagrams on the U.S. Cellular Field page. The most obvious change is the inclusion of entry portals in the upper deck and in the small mezzanine deck, which has five rows, not four as I had thought. Since those entry portals define the structural members (and thus the seating sections), I was able to get the position of the light towers much more accurate. Less obvious is the corrected positioning of the grandstand, which spreads out slightly more than before, i.e., the angle is less acute. The curved portions near the foul poles are now about ten feet further to the left and to the right, respectively.
For the moment, I'm prioritizing current MLB stadiums, and expect to have Dodger Stadium done any day now. Those diagrams were last updated in 2009, very out of date, but by no means the out-of-datest. (?) Meanwhile, Safeco Field continues to bedevil me with minor uncertainties...
Red Sox get Sandoval, Ramirez
Eager to rebound from their mediocre year, the Boston Red Sox announced that they have signed former Giant Pablo Sandoval and former Dodger Hanley Ramirez. "The Panda" (age 28) will get $95 million over five years, plus options, and is expected to replace David Ortiz as designated hitter once he retires. Meanwhile, Ramirez (age 30) is getting $88 million over four years, plus a vesting option. Ramirez was traded (while still a minor league prospect) by the Red Sox to the Marlins in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. (ESPN) Wow, whatever happened to those guys? I could have sworn Sandoval was older than Ramirez.
J-Zimm gives thanks to Souza
As a token of appreciation for that no-hitter-saving catch last September 28, Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann gave right fielder Steven Souza Jr. a Best Buy gift card, for an amount that was not disclosed. Souza said it was "not necessary" and "incredibly generous." There had been talk about a BMW, but that was a bit extreme. (Washington Post) Well, it's the thought that counts!
Steven Souza's highlight reel catch, previously posted on September 29 -- exactly two months ago!
Josh Willingham retires
Former Nationals slugger Josh "The Hammer" Willingham announced his retirement last week, joining fellow former Nationals slugger Adam Dunn. He is 35, and played 11 years in the major leagues. He had played with the Minnesota Twins for the past couple years, and was traded to the Kansas City Royals in August, but didn't get many at bats. He went 1 for 4 pinch-hitting in postseason games. (ESPN)
For the second time in its brief six-year lifetime, Citi Field's dimensions are being reduced. The distance to the right-center fence will be 380 feet rather than 390 feet, in hopes that it will be easier for David Wright to hit home runs out there. It was originally 415 feet to the deep corner out there. I'm glad the fence is being straightened out, since the bend that was put there in 2012 was arbitrary and served no purpose. But frequent changes such as this seem tacky and almost desperate. It reminds me of how many times the Boston Braves changed the fences (and/or diamond position) at Braves Field. See ESPN and the New York Post. Hat tips to Mike Zurawski, Terry Wallace, and Glenn Simpkins.
And so, I made some provisional modifications to the Citi Field diagram, along with the previous (2012) and original (2009) diagrams, but since I'm yet not sure where the bullpens are going to be, I put "WORK IN PROGRESS" and question marks in the (purely conjectural) bullpens. So, this doesn't count as an official "update."
And speaking of stadium shrinkage, I mentioned that many seats in the right field upper deck at Progressive Field are being removed to make room for fancy watering holes, etc. They did the same thing at Coors Field last year, but I failed to make note of it. In both cases, I have begun making the necessary diagram revisions.
And of course, the "daddy of them all" when it comes to (baseball) stadium shrinkage is U.S. Cellular Field. In that case, the revised diagrams are nearly completed.
One could argue that FedEx Field has shrunk more than any other in terms of seating capacity, but with the Redskins doing so poorly lately, I'd rather not go there.
There is more news about stadiums yet to come...
A clock for baseball?
To save time in a sport that seems to drag on longer and longer each year, the Arizona Fall League is using a clock in baseball. In today's Washington Post, James Wagner wrote that the average length of nine-inning games in 2014 was 3 hours 2 minutes, compared to 2 hours 33 minutes in 1981. Indeed, something has to be done to attract more potential fans.
I agree with Nationals prospect Spencer Kieboom (!), who said "I don't like the idea of a clock in baseball..." I would restrict conferences on the mound, etc. (as they are doing in Arizona), but I would penalize pitchers throwing the ball to first base too often, charging them with a ball on every second throw. I would also charge batters a strike if they step out of the batter's box more than once in an at-bat.
Stanton gets $325 M deal
The rumors were true! The Miami Marlins owners (mainly Jeffrey Loria) are so desperate to prove they are committed to fielding a good team that they agreed to pay their young slugger Giancarlo Stanton $325 million over the course of a 13-year contract. That's nearly a third of a billion dollars, and perhaps over half of what Marlins Park cost to build. (Estimates vary widely; see bleacherreport.com and nbcsports.com.) That's just unheard-of, and more than a little ridiculous, I think. Team President David Samson hailed the deal as a big boost to ticket sales, and Miami fans are obviously in need of some kind of motivation. Stanton, whose name is spelled "Staunton" here in Virginia (!), hit 37 home runs in 2014, the most in the National League. See MLB.com, which also notes that the Marlins made an offer to a certain former National...
LaRoche joins White Sox
ESPN reports that the Chicago White Sox signed former Washington National first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year contract worth $25 million. The red-headed lefty (and hunting enthusiast) hit 26 home runs this year, and 243 during his career. He is 35 years old. He thus becomes the second former Nationals slugger named Adam to be acquired by the White Sox. The other was Adam Dunn, who was traded to the Oakland A's this year and announced he would then retire.
COMMENT by: Chris Knight, of Kansas City, KS on Nov 26, 2014 17:54 PM Since I can't comment on the old post. I can comment here about the New KC Stadium Article had a great pre renovation picture of Kauffman showing all the old entrances to the old dugout concourse before it was renovated. There used to be multiple entrances to get down there with plenty of bathroom space for the Box seats. Take note of where all the entrances are when redoing your pre 1998 Kauffman Diagrams (There was not entry behind home plate like there is now.) The way they have the Dugout Concourse now is one of my big pet peeve's of the renovation. They only got 1 entrance on both sides now to go in there so everybody in the lower deck not seated near that entrance overcrowds the Plaza Concourse when getting concessions or using the restrooms while the Dugout concourse never really has a crowd. (I know all about the Dugout Concourse so I go to it many sections away just because I know it's not crowded at all, I even go from the upper deck to use it sometimes) Well anyway the article is here with the nice photo http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/yael-t-abouhalkah/article3895704.html
COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Nov 30, 2014 01:09 AM I think I know what you're talking about, and will take a closer look. However, the link you provided seems to be to the same column about the possibility of a downtown K.C. stadium which I mentioned a couple weeks ago. I'll try to do some searching for the photo in question.
World Series Game 7 was great entertainment, with a razor-close score for all nine innings. It was a dream come true for serious baseball fans: full of drama, tension, and heroic plays. All that was missing to make it perfect was a home team victory.
Neither starting pitcher lasted long. The Giants loaded the bases in the second inning on a hit batter and two singles, and scored first on a sacrifice fly by Michael Morse. Another sac fly (by Brandon Crawford) made it 2-0. That spooked the noisy home crowd just a bit, but in the bottom of the second, the Royals came right back. Billy Butler singled, and then made it all the way around the diamond to home plate after Alex Gordon hit a double near the pole in right field. That was fun to watch him run those 270 feet. Omar Infante hit a sac fly RBI later in the inning to tie the game, 2-2. Giants pitcher Tim Hudson was then replaced by Jeremy Affeldt, who quickly got the third out.
The key defensive play of the game was in the bottom of the third inning, after Lorenzo Cain hit a lead-off single. Eric Hosmer smashed a ground ball past the mound that was somehow snagged by rookie second baseman Joe Panik. Not only did Panik get the ball over to second for the force out, but shortstop Brandon Crawford threw it to first in time for an amazing double play. Instead of launching a rally, the Royals were abruptly shut down.
Then in the fourth inning, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence both singled, Brandon Belt hit a sac fly, and Jeremy Guthrie was replaced on the mound by Kelvin Herrera. The next batter, Michael Morse, then singled to get Sandoval across home plate, and the Giants took a 3-2 lead. Uh-oh...
In the fifth inning, Madison Bumgarner came in as a relief pitcher for the Giants, in spite of having had only two days rest. He pitched the final five innings of the game, throwing 68 pitches total, while only giving up two hits. But that second hit nearly changed the game's outcome. In the ninth inning, with two outs, Alex Gordon hit a ball which center fielder Gregor Blanco misplayed, and it rolled all the way to the fence, 400 feet from home. Gordon sprinted around second base but was held up at third base by the coach. That play will be debated for years. Could Gordon have made it home to tie the game? Probably not. The ball reached the cutoff man, shortstop Brandon Crawford, right after Gordon touched third, and the only way he could have reached home plate was on a bad throw. But with Madison Bumgarner on the mound, a small chance was probably better than almost no chance at all. The next batter, Salvador Perez, hit a pop foul ball to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, and that was how the game ended.
As the celebrations ensued in the Giants' locker room, no one questioned who should be the World Series MVP: Madison Bumgarner. He pitched seven innings in Game 1, giving up just one run, then nine shutout innings in Game 5, and five more shutout innings in Game 7. That makes an ERA of only 0.43 -- almost superhuman.
But plenty of credit should go to designated hitter Michael Morse, who got the first RBI and the go-ahead RBI in the deciding Game 7. His clutch performance at the plate was what won the game, and the series, for the Giants. And don't forget that it was his game-tying home run in the eighth inning of NLCS Game 5 that paved the way for the series victory over the Cardinals. That was really clutch, as St. Louis was one just inning away from making it a 2-3 series, with the last two games to be played at home in Busch Stadium. What if???
The Game 7 final score (3-2) was the same as Game 3, but reversed. In the other five games, the margin of victory was at least five runs. With so much inconsistency from one game to the next, it's hard to interpret the scoring results. But one thing is sure: Any team that wins a world championship three times in the space of five years (2010, 2012, 2014) has good cause to claim "dynasty" status. It's hard to remember that they went 55 years (since 1954) without a World Series title.
Congratulations to the Giants! (But wait till next year!)
2014 postseason series
The closeness of the two teams' run totals (30 to 27 in the Giants' favor) shows just how evenly matched this World Series was. In that respect, it was similar to both National League divisional series, which could have gone either way. In contrast, the rest of the series (both ALDS, ALCS, and NLCS) were pretty lopsided.
Postseason series total scores
NL Divisional Series (4)
NL Divisional Series (4)
AL Divisional series (3)
AL Divisional series (3)
NL Championship Series (5)
AL Championship Series (4)
World Series (7)
* (Number of games in parentheses.) = Home team won deciding game. = Visiting team won deciding game.
The Royals set another MLB record that will never be broken (unless the playoff format changes): They achieved the highest postseason winning percentage (.733) of any team that lost the World Series: 11 wins and 4 losses. They went a full seven games, and they swept their previous opponents, and by definition nobody could do better. The Giants ended up with a .706 winning percentage, 12-5.
Photos of the Giants
As a tribute to the new world champions, I submit these photos of some of the Giants at the August 15, 2013 game in Washington. The Giants scored 3 runs in the top of the ninth inning (guess who the Nats' closing pitcher was?), and won by a score of 4 to 3. I relied upon baseball-reference.com to refresh my memory about the exact sequence of plays, described in the photo captions below.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, after striking out in the seventh inning.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, returning to the dugout in the seventh inning after pitcher Sandy Rosario was hurt by a line drive and taken out of the game.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, about to hit a pop fly to shortstop in the eighth inning.
Giants catcher Buster Posey, after hitting a lead-off single in the ninth inning.
Giants right fielder Hunter Pence, about to strike out in the ninth inning. Three batters later, the Giants took a 4-3 lead on a three-run home run, and held on to win the game.
Kauffman Stadium tweak
I'm nearly done with some minor alterations to the batter's eye and outfield seating areas of the Kauffman Stadium diagrams, based on tips from Chris Knight, and confirmed by closely scrutinizing my own photographs, such as the one below. For the record, my estimate of fair territory has been raised from 117,800 to 118,500 square feet. I started revising those fair and foul territory numbers at various stadiums early in September, and will finish that task in the next week or so...
Here's a photo taken by my brother Dan on July 25, back when it appeared far more likely that the World Series would be played in Washington than in Kansas City...
Your truly, in the upper deck of Kauffman Stadium, before the game.
NOTE: The "Feedjit" service, which tracks the location of visitors to this Web site, is presently on the blink, causing problems in loading this page, so I have removed it for the time being.
Three Rivers Stadium
Minute Maid Park
Mile High Stadium
Champion Stadium (Orlando)
(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.)
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.
Zach LaFleur, Fowlerville, MI -- Dec 02, 2014 12:00 PM 1 visit(s). My rating: 1 This place was sort of like the old Bennett Park that we used to have in Detroit from 1896 to 1911, only in a modern building that could seat up to 54000 people (of which only 43000 plus seats were viewable from for baseball)! Andrew, I like your hypothetical alternative (why didn't the Blue Jays and their construction company rebuild this park in this way, instead of that haphazard job that they did for them to start the 1977 season)? That is why SkyDome was built, because Toronto's weather can get quite cold in April and September and October (which was extravagant at the time, but seems a little outdated since 1992)! I have seen quite a few games there (as well as at SkyDome) on TV and wondered what were they thinking when they rebuilt Exhibition Stadium?
Even Olympic Stadium and Veterans Stadium (as bad as the site lines could be at each place) were a lot better than this place!
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(Regular season winning percentages in parentheses.) Boldfaced scores indicate the winning team.Underlined scores denote extra-inning games. Olive-shaded score boxes denote games won by the VISITING team. Higher-seeded teams (those with the initial home field advantage) are shown on the BOTTOM side in each matchup. However, beginning with 2012, each league has TWO wild card teams, competing in a one-game "play-in," and whichever of those two teams that wins in each league is displayed below (after the outcome is known), so as to properly align with the subsequent divisional series scores. Beginning in 2003, the league that wins the All Star Game gets the initial home field advantage in the World Series; prior to 2003, initial home field advantage in the World Series alternated from year to year. Except for 2002 (the infamous tie), the American League won the All Star Game every year between 1997 and 2009.