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October 29, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Royals rally to force Game 7

For only the second time in the past dozen years (the other being 2011; see the Postseason scores and Annual chronology pages), we're going to have a World Series Game 7. This wonderful state of affairs is happening because the Kansas City Royals staged a huge seven-run rally in the second inning of Game 6 last night. Giants pitcher Jake Peavy only lasted an inning and a third, bearing out the FOX-TV announcers repeated warnings that he was on a "short leash."

It all started with a leadoff single by Alex Gordon, followed by a single by Salvador Perez, followed by a double by Mike Moustakas. Omar Infante struck out, and the Giants were close to getting out of the inning with minimal damage, but then Nori Aoki hit an RBI single, forcing Peavy out of the game. But Yusmeiro Petit couldn't do any better, as Lorenzo Cain singled, and then Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler both doubled. That made the score 7-0 with only one out, but the next two batters were out to end the inning. The Royals added more runs in the third, fifth, and seventh inning, the final one coming off a home run by Mike Moustakas.

Meanwhile, the Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura kept getting in and out of jams, somehow going seven full innings without giving up a run. Jason Frasor and Tim Collins finished the combined shutout as relief pitchers, as the Royals won in triumphant fashion, 10-0. It was the first time since 1958 (Braves vs. Yankees) that there were two consecutive shutout World Series games without opposing teams winning.

Thanks to Mike Moustakas, Giants' pitcher Hunter Strickland became the first MLB reliever in history to give up six home runs in a single postseason.

Since 1982, eight of the ten teams returning to their home field being down 3-2 in the World Series won went on to win the whole shebang. Advantage Kansas City!

On the other hand, the Giants won the World Series in 2010 and 2012 immediately after the release of new albums by Taylor Swift, who just happened to release a new album called "1989," so there's that...

How 'bout them Royals?!

When I saw the Royals play in Kansas City on July 25, I could see that they were good, but I had no idea just how good they were. I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the photos of their star players, whose names are fast becoming familiar to millions of baseball fans. Near the top of that list: Yordano Ventura, who pitched seven shutout innings in last night's game. When I saw him pitching on July 25, I didn't even know who he was! Here are some of the many photos I took that day. (I took several photos of Giants players in August 2013; I may post some of those later on...)

Mike Moustakas, Yordano Ventura

Yordano Ventura pitches in the first inning, with Mike Moustakas at third base.

Salvador Perez home run

Salvador Perez hits a lead-off home run in the second inning, as Indians manager Terry Francona looks on. The very next batter, Mike Moustakas, did likewise.

Omar Infante

Omar Infante, just before he lined out to center field in the fifth inning.

Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas, who had homered in the second inning, is about to strike out in the sixth inning.

Jarrod Dyson, Lorenzo Cain

Center fielder Jarrod Dyson and [right] fielder Lorenzo Cain, who had just caught a game-tying sac fly hit by Jason Kipnis in the seventh inning.

Billy Butler

Pinch-hitter Billy Butler in the eighth inning, just before he hit a two-run home run that gave the Royals the lead, and ultimately the win.

CORRECTION: In my July 31 blog post I wrote that Billy Butler's home run landed in the bullpen beyond left field, which would have been about 390 feet. In fact, it nearly reached the front of the Royals Hall of Fame, and traveled an estimated 422 feet. See the video for yourself at MLB.com.

October 27, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Giants retake World Series lead

The San Francisco Giants were perhaps taken aback when the Kansas City Royals won Game 3 in AT&T Park on Friday Night. (So much for the mojo of ex-Journey lead singer Joe Perry!) Somehow the visiting team had taken a 2-1 series lead, against all odds. For the home team, Game 4 was almost a must-win situation, and eventually they came through and won handily. The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, and the Royals managed to limit the damage. In the third inning, the Royals staged a four-run rally, chasing the Giants' starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong. But they failed to get more runs after that and their own starting pitcher Jason Vargas couldn't make it through the fifth inning. That's when the Giants began a big comeback, with two, three, and four runs respectively in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning. That was more like what the fans in San Francisco were expecting. It was Pablo Sandoval who hit the clutch go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning, and Hunter Pence contributed 3 RBIs of his own. Final score: Giants 11, Royals 4.

In Game 5 on Sunday night, Madison Bumgarner once again dominated. No surprise there. The Royals bullpen was completely worn out from Game 4, and James Shields at least managed to give the relievers a rest, going six innings while only giving up two runs. But with Bumgarner on the mound, that was too much of a hurdle for the Royals to overcome. Final score: Giants 5, Royals 0.

For the past three World Series games, nobody has hit a home run. That's a record going back many years, I forget exactly when it was.

Country singer Aaron Lewis (whom I had never heard of) messed up the National Anthem on Sunday night, joining such elite company as Cristina Aguilera. "Is this going to be on the final exam?" smile At least he didn't rip the song to shreds, like Roseanne Barr did.

Tomorrow night, the World Series returns to Kansas City, and it's now a must-win game for the Royals. If it goes to Game 7, Madison Bumgarner may be available to pitch for the Giants. So far, he has won every postseason game he's pitched -- except Game 3 of the NLDS, which the Nationals won!

Kauffman Stadium update

Kauffman Stadium

Thanks in part to some timely tips from Bruce Orser and Chris Knight (see comment on the October 24 blog post), the diagrams on the Kauffman Stadium page have been updated for the second time this year. Bruce let me know about a plan to expand what was once called Royals Stadium, with bleachers across the outfield, so I came up with a new diagram showing that. The original plan called for two sets of entry portals in the taller portion of the upper deck, so that new diagram has a "transparent" roof to show the additional detail. That information helped me to get the precise arrangement of the center field light towers and the grandstand near the corners more accurate. In addition, Chris pointed out some discrepancies in the outfield seating, waterfall area, etc., and I believe I've taken care of all that.

Perhaps the most notable change is that the waterfalls are about eight feet closer to the outfield fence than I had previously indicated. That makes a significant difference when estimating home run distances. Also, I determined that the waterfall extension to left field, and the Jumbotron display on that side were not completed until 1991. I previously had a 1980 version diagram, but that has been replaced by a 1991 version diagram.

Wrigley Field renovation

For more details on the massive renovation of Wrigley Field, which is already well underway, see bleedcubbieblue.com. Link courtesy of Mike Zurawski. I can't believe they are completely gutting the bleachers so soon after they expanded them in 2006.

COMMENT by: Chris Knight, of Kansas City, KS on Oct 30, 2014 19:16 PM
Yea still need to work on batter's eye section. Your missing a small consourse behind the batters eye and the ends of the section at the batters eye are diagonal away from the eye. Check the facebook image I sent ya.

October 24, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Giants rout Royals, & vice versa

The San Francisco Giants started off the 2014 the World Series with a bang in Kansas City. In the first inning on Tuesday night, Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI double and Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer. They kept adding runs, and the score was 7-0 by the bottom of the seventh inning, at which point Salvador Perez hit a solo homer to give Kansas City their only run. With a 7-1 final score, the Giants broke the Royals' amazing eight-game postseason winning streak.

Unfortunately, I was in class that night, and didn't see the game until later. While watching on the DVR, I was struck that the Royals kept hitting the ball well, but just could not capitalize. In fact, they had runners on second and third with nobody out in the third inning, but failed to score a run. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner struck out the next two batters, gave up a walk, and then induced a ground ball to end the inning without damage.

On Wednesday night, the Giants jumped out with a leadoff home run by Gregor Blanco, but the Royals tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a clutch two-out RBI single by Billy Butler. That was crucial in halting the visiting team's momentum, and the Royals took the lead one inning later, on an RBI double by Alcides Escobar. The Giants tied it 2-2 in the fourth inning, but Billy Butler hit another RBI single in the sixth inning, then Salvador Perez hit a two-run double, and Omar Infante hit a two-run home run. That five-run rally charged up the Kansas City crowd, and the folks savored a 7-2 triumph to even the series at one game apiece.

In Game 3 in San Francisco tonight, Alcides Escobar swung at the first pitch thrown by veteran Tim Hudson, and knocked the ball into the left field corner for a double. He scored a run after the next two batters hit ground balls, and the Royals clung to a 1-0 lead for the next few innings. Both teams scored twice in the sixth inning, and in the middle of the eighth inning, it's now 3-2 in the Royals' favor.

[UPDATE: The Royals held on to win, 3-2, thanks once again to their solid bullpen. Closing pitcher Greg Holland got three quick outs in the ninth inning, thus getting the save. That gives the Royals a 2-1 lead in the World Series. As long as the Giants win a game this weekend, there will be a Game 6 in Kansas City!]

National League: no DHs

As the World Series moves to San Francisco, the two teams' lineups are changing. The Giants are putting Michael Morse on the bench as a pinch-hitter, and the Royals are doing likewise with Billy Butler. Both players have done superbly as designated hitters, but how will playing by National League rules affect them?

Billy Butler home run

Billy Butler hit a home run to put the Royals ahead for good, in Kauffman Stadium on July 25, when they beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-4. (See my July 31 blog post.)

Zimmerman lauds Morse

Ryan Zimmerman, whose own postseason as a Washington National came to a premature end this year, expressed good wishes for his former team mate Michael Morse: "He is such a good guy. ... People in D.C. enjoyed him on the team. Hopefully, he can take advantage of his opportunity and do something, win something that all of us want a chance to do at one time in our careers." See MLB.com.

No room for LaRoche

Speaking of Zimmerman, he is widely expected to move over to first base on a regular basis next year, so there will be no room on the Nationals roster for Adam LaRoche. His current contract has a clause with a mutual option to renew for 2015, but that is very unlikely. It's like a game of musical chairs, and he's the odd man out. LaRoche seems to be taking it well, as this situation has been anticipated for several months, ever since Ryan Zimmerman was put on the disabled list with a thumb injury back in May. LaRoche is widely liked and admired by his team mates, for his slugging prowess and vacuum-cleaner-like glove at first base. Washington Post writer talks about LaRoche's outside interests and activities, such as hunting, building a high school baseball stadium in Fort Scott, Kansas, and distributing Bibles to Africa and Asia. He is a first-class athlete and a real gentleman. Whatever team he ends up on next year will be lucky to get him.

On a related note, LaRoche (first base) and Denard Span (center field) have been nominated for the National League Golden Glove award for their respective positions. The winners will be announced on November 4.

1989 S.F. earthquake

It's hard to think of a World Series in San Francisco without thinking of the famous 1989 earthquake. Thanks to Facebook friend Patrick McAtee for this YouTube video of the 1989 World Series Game 3 on ABC, with TV announcers Tim McCarver and Al Michaels, just as the earthquake struck. Where was I on 17 October 1989? Well, I tuned into the game a few minutes late, and was aggravated to see some other show on TV instead of the scheduled baseball game. Within a few minutes they went back to to Candlestick Park, at which point I found out what had happened.

World Series stadia

Just like last year (albeit two months late!), and several years before that, I present the home ballparks of the two World Series teams, for easy comparison. Just roll over the thumbnail images to switch between the respective full-size diagrams.

I heard one of the FOX announcers mention that Kauffman Stadium has the largest outfield in the American League, and that didn't sound right to me. For some reason, I was under the impression that Comerica Park was bigger in area, but after checking my figures on the Stadium statistics page, I realized he was right. The outfield in Kauffman Stadium is approximately 117,800 sq. ft., compared to 110,800 sq. ft. for AT&T Park, which is likewise above average.

Comerica Park AT&T Park
Kauffman Stadium

COMMENT by: Chris Knight, of Kansas City, KS on Oct 25, 2014 00:53 AM
Yea the outfield of Kauffman Stadium Diagram is a bit off. The Fountain is off a little bit (It's actually 3 separate fountains the 2 1973 sections and the 1991 section) , The Batter's eye Area is wrong, The Outfield bar is a little misshaped (Half circle instead of an oval), The Fountain Seats is off (It covers the area behind the 1991 fountain), and some of the outfield handicapped sections is off. I have made a diagram that has corrected these issues if I can email it to ya. BTW I have been to all the home postseason games and I have to keep on pinching myself still in great disbelief that the Royals are in the World Series. It's so unreal! I hope we can get the job done in SF, It would be nice for us to win it in Game 6 at home but I want my team to get the job done in Game 5.

October 20, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Royals sweep the Orioles, win AL pennant

As they say, "Anything can happen in October, and probably will!" But a team full of young unknowns sweeping the two teams with the best regular-season records in consecutive postseason series? It's never been done before, at least not since the advent of the three-stage playoff format in 1995. Yet somehow, the Kansas City Royals edged the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in both Games 3 and 4 of the ALCS last week, thereby winning the American League pennant for the first time since 1985. How does an underdog team like them keep winning? Ah, such are the mysteries of baseball.

In Game 4, played on Wednesday afternoon, the Royals scored two runs in the first inning, and that was all they would need. It was a bizarre play. With runners on second and third, and just one out, Eric Hosmer grounded to first baseman Steve Pearce, who threw it to catcher Caleb Joseph, but the ball got past him, and both runners scored. The Orioles got a run in the third inning, but wasted a precious run-scoring opportunities in the sixth inning, and that was that. They were caught flat-footed once again, reminding me of the Nationals playing the Giants in the NLDS, I'm sorry to say. The Royals' pitcher Jason Vargas, a veteran with a career ERA of 4.20, somehow kept his team ahead by giving up just one run in five-plus innings.

And so, without much slugging but with plenty of grit, the Royals brought an American League pennant to Kansas City for the first time since 1985. Kauffman Stadium, jam-packed with blue-clad fans, was delirious with joy. The Royals may be underdogs in the upcoming World Series, but they have thrived in that role thus far in the postseason, and as we know, "Anything can happen in October!"

Giants beat the Cardinals, win NLCS

That evening in San Francisco, meanwhile, the Cardinals and Giants traded blows in a tense NLCS Game 4. Neither of the starting pitchers, Shelby Miller and Ryan Vogelsong, made it to the fifth inning. The visiting team had a 4-3 lead going into the sixth inning, and had high hopes for evening the series. The Cards were handicapped, however, by the absence of slugging catcher Yadier Molina, who had strained a back muscle while swinging in Game 2. He was replaced by A. J. Pierzynski, formerly of the Chicago White Sox. The Giants got three runs in the sixth inning, with smart, efficient "small ball," and held on to win the game, 6-4.

Game 5 on Thursday night developed in a somewhat similar manner. The Cardinals took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning, thanks to solo home runs by Matt Adams and Tony Cruz. It seemed like a decisive momentum-shifter that might just send the NLCS back to St. Louis for Game 6. But the Giants had other plans. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Michael Morse stepped up to the plate as a pinch hitter. The popular former Washington National then got a hold of a ball that landed just beyond the fence in the left field corner. That tied the game 3-3, and re-energized the Giants and their fans. Sure enough, with two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, Travis Ishikawa hit a home run into the right field seats, ending the game in triumphant fashion. WOW! Final score: Giants 6, Cardinals 3.

What if? Intriguing pairings

So tomorrow night the World Series begins in Kansas City, as the Royals host the Giants. It's fresh, eager spunk versus battle-tested experience. Not the most likely matchup, but unique in one key way: Neither team is a division champion! The other potential World Series pairings this year offered some intriguing possibilities:

  • Cardinals vs. Royals: all-Missouri World Series (just like 1985)
  • Cardinals vs. Orioles: the 1882-current St. Louis team vs. the 1902-1953 St. Louis team
  • Giants vs. Orioles: two teams with orange uniforms
  • hand point Giants vs. Royals: both wild card teams, the first [second*] such World Series

* [CORRECTED. In the 2002 World Series, the Giants and Angels were both wild card teams.]

It might also be noted that the Giants and Royals are also noted for residing in the best stadiums of their respective class. It will be a very "photogenic" World Series!

Too many wild cards

I'm all for exciting underdog champioship games, but I think the current playoff format may paradoxically favor the wild card teams, who can sustain momentum in the wild card "play-in" game while the division champs rest and lose their edge. (Nationals?) Also, knowing that securing a wild card spot is good enough takes the pressure off teams trying to catch up to the division leader late in the season. Prior to this year, wild card teams played in nine of the 19 World Series since the expanded three-division structure began. What's more, they won in five of those World Series, including three years in a row: 2002, 2003, 2004. Meanwhile, non-wild card teams (three fourths of the total, roughly) had a lower probability of winning a league pennant, as if the system was tilted against them. I know this is an old gripe of teams like the Braves who won many division titles but few league pennants or World Series, and more recently the Washington Nationals are in the same spot. I hope the MLB bosses at least consider restructuring the playoffs. I think there should be only one wild card team, and a seven-game divisional series, prerferably in a 2-2-3 format rather than the traditional 2-3-2 format. That would really give more of an advantage to the top-seeded teams!

Mad Bum's grand slams

One thing I learned during this postseason is the remarkable batting of Giants' ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner: This year alone he has hit two grand slams, which is more than Derek Jeter hit in his entire 20-year MLB career (one). How weird is that?

Busch Stadium II update

Busch Stadium

Since all my San Francisco stadium diagrams are more or less up to my highest standards, I decided to focus on the other team in the NLCS, the St. Louis Cardinals. As a start, I updated the Busch Stadium II diagrams, which now include an upper-deck version and a lower-deck version, both of which show the entry portals and lateral aisles. The profiles have been tweaked a little, as well. Those diagrams now reveal the distinctive arched roof that gave Busch Stadium II more character than most other "cookie-cutter" stadiums of that era. That's not just for aesthetic effect, however. As part of maximizing diagram accuracy, I have been concentrating on the sections in each stadium, usually manifested in the entry portals or (for older stadiums) the structural beams supporting the upper decks.

Last month I acknowledged a broken link on the Busch Stadium II page, and now you can see what I had been working on. Believe me, getting the details just right was agonizingly frustrating, with multiple false starts. The same goes for other diagrams I have been working on during the past few days. Among other things, I am close to finishing updates to the other two Busch Stadiums, the one originally known as Sportsman's Park (1910-1966), and the third incarnation, built in 2006. In the former case, there are a few uncertainties that may have to remain unsettled...

Stadiums in the news!

It has been several months since I last made a serious attempt to deal with my (figurative) e-mail "bag," which is now overflowing. Mike Zurawski recently brought some important items to my attention, and I also checked out a few of his reports from several months previous. Here goes:

In Cleveland, renovation work has begun on Progressive Field. They will reduce capacity to between 37,000 to 38,000 by next season. The seats in the upper deck in right field will be replaced with broad platforms for group parties, etc. Also, elevated walkways over the Gate C entrance (center field) will be torn down and replaced with a new plaza with open views of the downtown skyline. In addition, the bullpens will be rebuilt, parallel to the right-center field wall, in tandem, no longer separated. See cleveland.com. Ten luxury suites were removed prior to the 2013 season,

In Chicago, they are moving ahead with another (final?) phase of renovations on Wrigley Field, a project whose total cost will be $575 million. I knew about the additional electronic signage, but didn't realize they are going to further expand the bleachers. Also, they will fill the narrow triangular space on the southeast side with a "Friendly Confines" restaurant/pub. Contrary to earlier plans, they are not going to build a new clubhouse/parking garage on the west side of the stadium. However, "Eight nearby rooftop owners are suing the city claiming the project violates their profit-sharing agreement with the team." See the TV report at nbcchicago.com

In Toronto, they are preparing to replace the current ersatz surface with natural grass, but it won't happen until 2018. It's partly a matter of technical difficulties, and partly because of the desire to accommodate the Toronto Argonauts, who have a lease that will expire after 2017. (Those terms were agreed to in October 2013.) Prior to the 2014 season, as a stopgap measure, they renovated the fake turf with new rubber beads so that balls will bounce the way they are supposed to. See thestar.com. That's a commendable change, and long overdue. As shown on the Turf page, previous MLB stadiums in which fake turf was replaced by grass include:

  • Comiskey Park (infield only)
  • Busch Stadium II
  • Riverfront Stadium
  • Candlestick Park
  • Kauffman Stadium

L.A. Angels owner Arte Moreno has been negotiating with local government officials in Anaheim and nearby Tustin in hopes of acquiring cheap land on which to build a new stadium, but so far he isn't getting what he wanted. See fieldofschemes.com.

For hockey fans, plans were announced to build a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, as part of a downtown entertainment district near Comerica Park and Ford Field. That means Joe Louis Arena will eventually be replaced. See mlive.com. The Red Wings' current home is one of the biggest 20,066) and oldest (1979) arenas in the NHL. (At least I think so. smile)

Finally, the Tampa Bay Rays have renovated Tropicana Field once again, with a new 360-degree walkway around the lower bowl, an open air meeting spot in centerfield and smoother access from the rotunda entrance to the seats. ... The renovation includes the removal of about 3,000 seats. See tampabay.com and/or tbo.com. I was vaguely aware of that, and will need to come up with a 2014 version diagram depicting the reduced seating areas.

Also, I should have mentioned the completion of the "ballpark village" across the street (north side) from Busch Stadium (III). That project was delayed for years because of the bad economy.

Finally, Ian Cypes informs me that RFK Stadium played a key part in the recent movie X-Men: Days of Future Past. See a clip at: youtube.com. However, "There is one continuity error. The 'past' scenes in this movie are in 1973, 2 years after the senators moved to Texas; yet the stadium is in baseball configuration."

More stadium news from other fans, as well as more diagram updates to come later this week!

October 13, 2014 [LINK / comment]

Cardinals even the series

That was quite a fun ball game to watch last night. The Cardinals took an early lead, cheering the St. Louis fans who were made nervous by the previous night's loss, then the Giants came back and briefly had a 3-2 lead after the top of the seventh. It was a perfect "binary" scoreboard, with nothing but zeroes and ones in each of the innings' run totals. In contrast to their usual weak slugging performance of the regular season, the Cardinals somehow hit four home runs. The first was by Matt Carpenter in the 3rd inning, and then more by Oscar Taveras in the 7th, Matt Adams in the 8th, and Kolten Wong in the 9th innings. Wong's homer into the right field corner was on the first pitch of the inning, just after the Giants had tied it 4-4 in the top of the ninth. WOW! A huge celebration ensued on the field, so now the Cardinals can face the next three games in San Francisco with some confidence.

Facebook friend David Finkel doesn't like the term "walk-off" home run, etc., and I tend to agree. What's wrong with calling it a "game-winning" home run? Perhaps it's because many announcers have gotten used to calling RBI hits and homers that give a team the lead "game-winning" when the term "go-ahead" RBI, etc. is more appropriate. At the time, no one knows whether the hit in question will actually give a team the win.

Tonight the Orioles were supposed to play ALCS Game 3 against the Royals in Kansas City, but heavy rains and thunderstorms forced a postponement until tomorrow. So now the next three American and National League Championship Series games will be synchronized, screwing up the plan to stagger them. If there is an ALCS Game 6 in Baltimore, it will take place on Friday night as previously scheduled, meaning no travel day for the teams.

Football stadium photos!

Now that the Nationals have been eliminated from the baseball playoffs, Washington sports fans yearning for a championship can turn their attention to the Redskins. Whoops! After yesterday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, I guess they're pretty much out of contention as well.

It so happens that I paid a visit to the home of the Redskins after seeing the final Nationals game of the regular season on September 28. I had parked my car at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station,* and figured it would be easy to drive from there a few miles east to the Maryland suburbs, and soon came upon FedEx Field, perched on a big hill. Even though the stadium is 17 years old, it was my first time there. Actually, I had seen it once or twice before, but from an eight-mile distance. As you're driving into Washington on I-395, from the top of the ridge just south of the Pentagon, you can see FedEx Field on the horizon off to the east.

* Not wanting to pay $15 to park a mile away from Nationals Park, I was hoping to park at RFK Stadium, where there are thousands of seldom-used parking spaces, and then take the Metro. The lady at the RFK entry gate told me there's no public parking there, but that I could either park free at the nearby jail or at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station about a mile to the east. I chose the latter. When Nationals Park opened in 2008, they had a shuttle bus to and from the RFK parking lots, and that worked out great. As the parking lots in the booming Navy Yard area of Southeast D.C. get swallowed up by new construction, they really ought to bring back that parking option for us out-of-towners.

During my big road trip last summer, I not only saw six baseball stadiums (five MLB) but three football stadiums as well: the "Dallas" Cowboys' AT&T Stadium (in Arlington), the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, and the Cincinnati Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium. The latter two I had seen before. If I had really thought about it, I could easily have taken short detours and seen two more: the Arizona Cardinals' "University of Phoenix"** Stadium and the St. Louis Rams' Edward Jones Dome.

** To my knowledge, it's the only football stadium named for a university that does not have a football team, hence the quotation marks.

And so, I have put together a brand-new photo gallery page for Football stadiums! It includes seven current NFL stadiums, three former NFL stadiums, and two college football stadiums. They are listed in chronological order according to when I took them, and the first two photos (Memorial Stadium, home of the former Baltimore Colts, and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens) are of rather poor quality. They were taken in 1986 and 2006, respectively.

TOP: Arrowhead Stadium
MIDDLE: M&T Bank Stadium
BOTTOM: FedEx Field

Do a mouse rollover to see a closeup of the FedEx Field name with the Redskins logo.

Football stadium montage

In the photo above, you can clearly see the bare steel beams on the left (west) and right (east) sides, a dramatic indication of how they have reduced the seating capacity of FedEx Field from about 91,000 to about 79,000 over the past few years.

What to call the Redskins?

Since today is Native American Day (formerly known as "Columbus Day"; see argusleader.com), it's a good occasion to bring up the sore subject of the name of Washington's pro football team. Some sports announcers and newspapers have declared they will no longer use the name Redskins, which many people believe is necessarily pejorative or even insulting. I understand that some people are more sensitive than others, and I would readily grant that Native Americans are entitled to much greater respect than they have been given since the first European colonizers arrived 522 years ago. But it makes no sense that a team would call itself a derogatory name. To me, Redskin connotes bravery and a fierce competitive spirit, which in the world of sports are usually considered virtues.

Might it perhaps be that offense is being taken by some Native Americans because the Redskins have been playing so poorly in recent years? Would a winning record change things?

In related news, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder made a point of inviting the president of the Navajo nation, Ben Shelly, to his luxury suite during yesterday's game in Phoenix. See Washington Post.

Last year I received a joke e-mail message concerning this topic:

The Washington Redskins are going to change their name because of all the hatred, violence, and hostility associated with their name.

From now on they will be known simply as the Redskins... smile

Actually, here's a better idea: As sports history buffs know, the Washington Redskins franchise originated as the Boston Braves, playing in Braves Field in 1932. One year later they moved into Fenway Park, which was better suited for football. Obviously, they couldn't call themselves the "Braves" anymore, but they wanted a name related to Indians, preferably with some connection to their new "landlord" baseball team, the Red Sox. Hmm-m-m, what name would fit? The answer was obvious.

So while one possibility for what the team might be called would be Washington Braves, I would suggest as an alternative the Washington Red Sox! Although not at all realistic, that would at least call attention to from whence the name Redskins came in the first place.

Georgia Dome is doomed

There's a new stadium under contruction in downtown Atlanta, but it's being built for the Falcons, not the Braves. The contruction activity, next door to the Georgia Dome, has curtailed parking available for Falcons fans, much like what Washington Nationals fans have dealt with, as noted above. The new stadium should be completed by 2017, with 65,000 seats, significantly less than the Georgia Dome's 71,228 capacity. See forbes.com, which states that the Georgia Dome's capacity is 80,000. If the image in that story is accurate, the new stadium will have a roof that retracts like a camera iris, with eight segments. The Georgia Dome was built in 1992, and also served for a while during the 1990s as the home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks.

Coincidentally, 2017 is the same year Turner Field will be replaced by Sun Trust Field. Turner Field will "retire" after an absurdly brief 20-year career, five years less than the Georgia Dome.

Lots of other stadium news, etc. from Mike Zurawski and others to report. I'll have time to get to that tomorrow, since Monday and Tuesday this week are "fall break."

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.

Postseason scores, 2014

Major League Baseball championship series, 2014
World Champions: San Francisco Giants
Wild Card Games / Divisional series
Sept. 30 - Oct. 9
League Championship series
Oct. 10 - 19
World Series
Oct. 21 - 29
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NL-C: St. Louis Cardinals (.556) 10 2 3 3 X    
NL-W: Los Angeles Dodgers (.580) 9 3 1 2 X    
    San Francisco Giants 3 4 5 6 6 X X  
    St. Louis Cardinals 0 5 4 4 3 X X  
NL-wc: ^ Pittsburgh Pirates (.543) 0  
NL-wc: ^ San Francisco Giants (.543) 8   3 2 1 3 X
NL-E: Washington Nationals (.593) 2 1 4 2 X    
  San Francisco Giants 7 2 2 11 5 0 3
  Kansas City Royals 1 7 3 4 0 10 2
AL-C: Detroit Tigers (.556) 3 6 1 X X    
AL-E: Baltimore Orioles (.593) 12 7 2 X X    
    Kansas City Royals 8 6 2 2 X X X  
    Baltimore Orioles 6 4 1 1 X X X  
AL-wc: Oakland Athletics (.543) 8  
AL-wc: Kansas City Royals (.549) 9   3 4 8 X X    
AL-W: Los Angeles Angels (.605) 2 1 3 X X    

See explanatory notes at bottom.
^ : The visiting wild card team (SF) won, so the row positions were switched so as to properly align in the subsequent (NL) divisional series.

Explanatory notes

(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.

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