February 24, 2006 [LINK]

Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium

I finally finished the revised diagram(s) for the ballpark I always knew as Connie Mack Stadium, but which most traditionalists refer to as "Shibe Park." You'd think a simple rectangular ballpark would be easy to revise, but no-o-o. There are more oddities and data inconsistencies than you might imagine. I have determined from my relentless scrutiny of photographs and various data sources that the original distance to the corners was about 350* feet, not 360 feet as indicated by Lowry (1992) and others. Also, the distance to the backstop during the first few years was about 30* feet less than the 90 feet reported by Ritter (1992); that figure is accurate for 1922-1942. Other unresolved issues remain, however, which is why question marks appear on the first two versions of the dynamic diagram on that page. Another thing: The Eagles (not the rock group) used to play at Shibe Park / Connie Mack Stadium, but I did not make a football version diagram because I have never seen a photo of a football game there. Has anyone else? * (See corrections on March 2.)

Spring training begins!

At Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, the Washington Nationals pitchers and catchers have been practicing for almost a full week now, and there remains a gaping hole in the rotation, with only two really solid starters: Livan Hernandez and John Patterson. Now, the rest of the team is reporting for duty, including the newest National, Alfonso Soriano. He was introduced by GM Jim Bowden and Manager Frank Robinson, but the issue of where he will play is still not resolved. Soriano will begin playing for the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic in Orlando on March 3. See MLB.com. Actually, this kind of tension might be the kind of spark the team needs to get motivated. We'll see. Former Oriole Sammy Sosa turned down a second offer by the Nationals, for one mil-lion dollars! That was more than "Dr. Evil" was willing to pay. I've been looking at the various baseball preview magazines, and nearly all of them are paying a lot of attention to Ryan Zimmerman, the Nationals' rookie third baseman from U.Va. Living up to such high expectations will be a tough task for the former C-ville Wahoo.

I've come across two Web sites that cover the Nationals lately: Nats Fanatics, by Colin Mills, and The Beltway Boys, a photo-filled blog by Farid Rushdi, a former resident of the D.C. area who now lives in Idaho!

The mail bag

Sean Holland recently inquiried about those odd extra seating areas between the dugouts and bullpens at League Park (due for an imminent diagram revision). As far as I can tell from the photos I've seen, they were picnic areas, but I haven't read anything specific on that. Coincidentally, Tom Wolff (the author?) writes to tell me that the Cleveland team did not adopt the name "Indians" until 1915, so I have revised that page with corrected information.