February 20, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Metropolitan Stadium update

Based on the various photos that Bruce Orser brought to my attention recently, I have updated the diagrams for Metropolitan Stadium Metropolitan Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins from 1961 until [1981]. It turns out that the fence and bleachers in right field were angled inward a couple of degrees, and the same was true of the left field fence from 1961 to 1964. In the football version (1965), I moved the gridiron about 70 feet closer to the main grandstand, and that position seems to have prevailed for most if not all of the 1965-[1981] period. Also, triple-deck portion of the main grandstand is slightly smaller than I estimated before, and the temporary bleachers along the third base line are a little further away. Finally, the profile of the post-1965 grandstand in left field has been corrected slightly. From seeing all those photos, I am growing skeptical of the dimension data for Metropolitan Stadium in Phil Lowry's Green Cathedrals.

UPDATE: I added a second set of hypothetical diagrams, with a more economical design in which there would be a retractable lower deck in left field (like in the Superdome), as opposed to the entire left field grandstand being rotated back and forth between baseball and football games. [Note that the short distance to left field (310 feet) would be offset by a 30-foot high fence reaching to the second deck -- very similar to Fenway Park.]

Tampa ballpark "news"

Mike Zurawski sends news that Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is making more noise about needing a new stadium. Where have I heard that one before? Oh yeah, every year for the past decade! See Tampa Bay Online. Here's what he has to say about Tropicana Field:

we're not going to be there through 2027. It just can't happen. Baseball won't allow it. Our partners in baseball won't allow it. The other teams won't allow it. And it's just not the right thing for our organization, and quite frankly it's not the right thing for our population.

Sternberg seems to be making an implied threat to slash his team's payroll if he doesn't get his way. Well, maybe he can ask President Obama for some bailout or economic stimulus money. Hey, Citibank got bailed out, and their name is still on Citi Field, so why not? Meanwhile, the former mayor of Tampa, Dick Greco, has come up with a plan to build a new stadium at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Hillsborough County, on the Tampa side of the Bay, according to fieldofschemes.com. But wait, there's more! Another developer, Claire Clements, wants to build a stadium for the Rays in downtown Tampa. See fieldofschemes.com, again.

And, for the record, Mike tells me that the idea of putting an MLB franchise in Vancouver is "1000% insane." He cites the miserable history of the NBA Vancouver Grizzlies franchise, as an example of lack of fan support in that picturesque city. Oh, well. Certainly, the chances of any franchise relocation in the foreseeable future are almost zero, and there won't be any franchise expansions for at least another ten years, if then.