Ballparks in the Old Dominion
During a brief trip to Virginia Beach this weekend, I passed through downtown Norfolk and saw Harbor Park for the first time. The double-decked home of the International League Norfolk Tides looks very impressive, with a brick exterior, steel girders, and an engraved stone nameplate. The resemblance to Camden Yards is no coincidence, as it was built one year later, in 1993. Some people may recall that Norfolk was one of the leading alternative cities being considered for the to-be-relocated Montreal Expos in 2004, and Harbor Park (capacity 12,067) would have served as home at least on an interim basis. Being squeezed into such a tight space along the waterfront, however, it would have been hard to expand it to major league standards.
While passing through Richmond, I also caught a glimpse of The Diamond, the home of the Richmond Braves. Because of a failure to get a suitable ballpark renovation or rebuilding deal with the city, the R-Braves are about to relocate to suburban Atlanta. What a shame. To mark the sad occasion, I have updated said diagram.
Cubs beat Nats
For once, I was actually rooting against the Washington Nationals this weekend, because their opponent -- the Chicago Cubs -- need a big cushion to assure the NL Central Division title. (The Cubbies are my postseason favorites.) Because of travel, however, I didn't find out the results of the three games until the entire series was over. Willie Harris hit two home runs on Friday afternoon, leading the Nats to a surprising 13-5 victory, and then the Cubs took the next two games by lopsided margins. The Milwaukee Brewers are nearly as "hungry" as the Cubs for a postseason berth, and are not going to slack off.
The mail bag
Christopher Jackman tells me that Cleveland Stadium was not built with the 1932 Olympics in mind, contrary to widespread belief, and provided hard evidence to back up his assertion. According to the Southern California Committee For The Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1932 Olympic Games to Los Angeles in 1923, the same year Memorial Coliseum was built. I was aware of the dispute over this, which is why I phrased it in ambiguous way on the Stadiums of the Olympics page. If in fact there was no chance for landing the 1932 Olympics by the time of the ground-breaking in the late 1920s, one can only conclude that the Cleveland stadium boosters were out of their cotton-pickin' minds for building such a big stadium.
As most folks know, this will be the last year that baseball will be a full-fledged Olympic sport. I was told by Brian Hughes that this was in part because the London Olympic officials don't want to pay for a stadium that would be used by so few countries.
Speaking of which, congratulations to the amateur U.S. baseball team for winning the Bronze medal in Beijing, defeating Japan in the consolation game. South Korea won the gold medal, and Cuba took the silver medal.