January 10, 2005 [LINK]

D.C. gets RFK fixup in order

Today's Washington Post has an article on Allen Lew, the D.C. government architect who is in charge of overseeing the renovation of RFK Stadium, which is proceeding at a rapid clip. He has proven himself a cool-headed, effective administrator in past projects, so there shouldn't be any problems in getting ready for opening day. The article includes an excellent photo showing a big gap where the northwest side end zone seating sections are positioned for soccer games, and football games in the old days. Behind that gap is just a solid concrete block wall, which makes me wonder, Where do they store that removable section? The old dugout is visible on the left side movable section in that photo; one of the biggest parts of the renovation will be to enlarge the dugouts to modern super-size proportions. Also, the press boxes, bathrooms, and concession stands need to be upgraded. For now, it appears that the field dimensions will be virtually the same as in the old days: 335-385-410. I wish they would add a small bleacher section for kids at ground level. It is not certain whether the big scoreboard will be returned to right field as it was until the Senators left town at the end of 1971. To my surprise, they are bulldozing the entire field at RFK, possibly to add a layer of pea gravel to help the field drain more quickly when it rains.

Nats get lineup in order

The Washington Nationals signed Brad Wilkerson, who played at first base during 2004 but will probably move to the outfield, assuming that Nick Johnson (former Yankee) plays at first. They also retained Brian Schneider (catcher), another free agent enticed into signing a contract. This gives the Nats a fairly solid lineup, with spring training only a month away, and assures them of continuity in the midst of an awkward transition. Are there any good pitchers still available out there???

"The Murph"

Are you ready for some football (diagrams)? The Jack Murphy Stadium (QualComm) page has been revised with new diagrams, rendered with the help of the televised San Diego Chargers game against St. Louis on Saturday night. Of all the 1960s & 70s-era stadiums built for both baseball and football use, this is the only one where the football team both began playing before the baseball team played there (in this case, 1967 vs. 1969) and continued to play there after the baseball team left. Actually, the same could be said of RFK Stadium -- until this year! Thanks to Steven Poppe for alerting me to a glitch in the recently-revised Bank One Ballpark page.