November 25, 2018
At l-o-n-g last, I finished updating the Angel (Anaheim) Stadium diagrams, and obviously it was harder than I expected. The main change is that the grandstand is about 15 feet deeper around the entire field than it was in the 2014 version (click on it to compare), which may not seem like much, but makes a huge difference. There was a disrepancy between the middle deck in right field (which used to extend forward from 23 to about 40 rows during the football reconfiguration) and the main grandstand (that part which was originally there in 1966), and the only way to reconcile it was to stretch everything out. Easier said than done...
I made a small discovery along the way that helped to reconcile that discrepancy: the curved walls in front of the grandstand just beyond the foul poles bends inward more sharply than the grandstand itself, making room for two additional rows of seats, and extra leg room to boot. Why did they do it that way? I have no clue.
Among the new details shown in the diagrams are the "ribs" that divide the roof into discrete sections, a feature characteristic of a few other stadius; see April 28, 2016, when I tweaked the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium diagrams. Like the rest of the "modern" class of baseball stadiums, there are no distinct "creases" in the grandstand, since the overall design consists of gradual curves. (In fact, of course, those "curves" consist of short straight lines.) Finally, there are brand-new new lower-deck and middle-deck diagrams, which also show details such as structural support beams. Finally, I discovered from a photo of the construction that in the original (1966-1979) manifestation of Anaheim Stadium, there was a small press box in the very top rows of the upper deck along the third base side. That was obviously intended for football games, so I'll have to do some checking to see what football games were played there before the Rams moved in in 1980.
Built in 1966, Angel Stadium is currently the fourth-oldest MLB stadium, after Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Dodger Stadium. There is occasional talk of replacing it, but I see no reason why it can't be refurbished to suit modern tastes and trends.
A quick glance at the Periodic table of stadiums tells me that there are only eight stadiums left for me to revise. (That doesn't include various non-MLB stadiums that I intend to do eventually.) I was really hoping to finish up by the end of the year, but that may take some doing...
A column by Chelsea Janes in yesterday's Washington Post raised the question of whether the Nationals might make a big trade in order to acquire a new starting pitcher. Until now, Nats GM Mike Rizzo has only made such a trade twice: Gio Gonzalez (who joined the Nats in 2012) and Doug Fister (2014). Both deals worked out very well, although Fister only had two years with the Nats. With the departure of Gio Gonzalez at the end of August, a vacancy in the rotation opened up. Joe Ross may make the grade (he returned late in the season after recovering from Tommy John surgery), but the younger wanna-be's Erick Fedde and Jefry Rodriguez have yet to prove themselves as worthy of major league status. And so, Mike Rizzo says he will "explore all his options" regarding starting pitchers. Among the free-agent names most often mentioned are Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel (Astros), and Nathan Eovaldi (Rays then Red Sox this year).
I refuse to speculate on rumors of trades and free-agent signings -- especially when #34 of the Washington Nationals is at the center of such rumors!!!
Third baseman Adrian Beltre, who has played for the Texas Rangers since 2011, announced that he is retiring, after a remarkable 21 years in the majors. With 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, and a .286 batting average in his career, he is a worthy contender for selection to the Hall of Fame.
Mike Zurawski keeps sending me news about ballpark changes, etc., in spite of the fact that I have done such a poor job of keeping up with such things. Will I do better from now on? Yes! Will I answer e-mails more promptly? I will try!! So, without further adieu, here is a very quick rundown of ballpark news this fall:
The Oakland Athletics are in the process of adding new table seating areas near the left and right field corners, adjacent to those wide staircases that were originally built for the sake of football fans exiting via the field. "Oak Landing" will be in left field, while the "Hero Deck" will be on the right field side. There will also be luxury seating sections such as the "Coppola Theater Box," the "Lounge Seats" behind the road dugout, and the "Terrace" above the home dugout. They will all include in-game monitors. Each row of the new premium seating will cover the equivalent of two or three rows of the regular sections. See newballpark.org. These upgrades are in part a way to reduce the number of empty seats while generating more revenue from the ones that are occupied. As I noted on October 3, the capacity at Oakland Coliseum jumped sharply this year, to nearly 47,000, after the upper deck was reopened. Of perhaps greater long-term significance, the A's are expected to announce by the end of the year that a new ballpark [will be built] adjacent to Howard Terminal Park in Oakland, with outfield facing the harbor and the giant cranes. Best of all, it will be privately financed. Stay tuned, sports fans!!!
Much like what happened at the Astrodome a half century ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to remove the grass and install artificial turf at Chase Field next year. The main problem is the cost and mechanical wear of having to start up the air conditioning at the park after the roof is open all day to provide sunlight for the grass. See ballparkdigest.com. Oh well. I'm sure it will save energy, so it's hard to fault them for that. I remember from my trip in 2014 thinking how extravagant it was to provide air conditioning in a city where the temperatures regularly reach the triple digits. Stay tuned for quick update to that page...
As had been rumored for many months, the Miami Marlins have moved the absurdly glitzy home run sculpture to the outside of Marlins Park. In its place to the left of center field is a new standing room deck, with ivy beyond the outfield wall. In addition, there will be a new standing-room only social section down the right field line, and the outfield wall will be painted blue, a more "normal" color than the garish neon lime green. See MLB.com and ESPN.com.
The Colorado Rockies have extended their lease on Coors Field through 2047. That means 29 more years on top of the 25 years they have spent there already. Seems like an obvious decision, but at lest the long term of the lease will make all of the interested parties feel more secure about their business dealings. See bizjournals.com.
Likewise, the Houston Astros have extended their lease on Minute Maid Park [by 20 years, through the year 2050; it would have expired after 2030.] See chron.com.
[But wait, there's more! The Seattle Mariners have come to terms on a 25-year extension to their lease on Safeco Field. The Metropolitan King County Council approved a commitment to invest $135 million in stadium improvements, much less than the $180 million that the Mariners sought. See ballparkdigest.com.]
B-dee, b-dee, b-dee, that's all folks!!