November 25, 2012 [LINK / comment]
Stadium comparison page updates
Following up on my recent work on comparing various aspects of stadiums, I have made major updates to two stadium comparison reference pages, as well as minor changes to another. First, the Stadium statistics page now includes data on total years of MLB lifetime and years in "hiatus / limbo," as well as backstop distances and upper-deck and lower-deck overhang. I think those latter pieces of information will be especially useful to ballpark aficionados, and I know of no other systematic attempt to measure the amount of overhang. I also call that variable "shade," but not in the real sense of taking into account the angle of the sun, but simply how much open sky is directly above. (As noted at the bottom of that page, I treat the lower decks of domed stadiums as if they were open, for purposes of measuring overhang.) To make room for all that new data, four data columns which formerly appeared on that page have been moved elsewhere. (See below.)*
Note that several stadiums have non-integral lifetimes, such as Comiskey Park, which lasted 80.5 years. Why? Because the first game in it was July 1, 1910. I realized that my blog post of July 4, 2011 was incomplete, since the list of stadiums that opened in midseason did not include Comiskey Park. (See my updated Blog errata page, which includes among other things my infamous hockey bloopers of 2009 and 2010. ) And speaking of midseason openings, Forbes Field was unique in that it was both inaugurated and retired in the middle of the year: June 30, 1909 and June 28, 1970.
* Those four data columns (year built, beginning and ending year of MLB lifetime, and year of demolition) now appear on the all-new Stadium milestones page. That page also shows the years pertaining to other key historical events in each of the current and past Major League Baseball stadiums, such as major renovations and expansions, as well as All Star Games and World Series games. It also includes championship games from the National Football League, World Cup soccer, and the Olympics.
In essence, the old Stadium statistics page has been split into two parts, one of which ("statistics") focuses on quantitative variables, while the other ("milestones") focuses on chronology.
Finally, the Stadium rankings page has been updated as well, including Marlins Park for the first time. (There may still be a few inconsistencies between that page and the respective stadium pages, so further checking will be required.) It shows in greater detail all my past visits to each stadium, including ballgames, inside tours, closeup external inspections, and mere "drive-by" visits. The two columns of stadium ratings by other people which used to appear on that page have been deleted.
These Web site enhancements have been a long time coming, but they are a sign of bigger and better things to come over the next few months, both in terms of accuracy in graphical and statistical information, and in terms of the Web site's usability. (Get ready for greater functional integration with Facebook and other social media tools!) Thanks to my intrepid reliable sources, especially Bruce Orser and Mike Zurawski, I have been piecing together information that will help to bring the remaining diagrams up to date. Near the top of that list is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. There have been some changes in recent years that had escaped my notice.
The mail bag (belated)
In response to a suggestion made by Kevin Johnson nearly two years ago (!), the distance measurement options on the Stadiums superimposed page are now at the top of the scrolling menus, as well as at the bottom, which is where they were when I mentioned that feature last July. That's a quick 'n easy way to estimate home run distances, verify posted distance markers, etc. So, I added that to the "FAQs" on the Baseball introduction page.
And Christopher Garcia was wondering (back in September) what Candlestick Park would have looked like in a football configuration if the stadium had not been enclosed as it was in 1972. He sent me a modified version of my Candlestick Park diagrams, as well as an alternate reality version of Anaheim Stadium done in the same way. In both cases, with movable single decks in right field, the baseball atmosphere would have been kept largely intact. Obviously, it wouldn't have been big enough for pro football in the long run, but it might have worked for a decade or so. Who knows how things might have ended up?
I'll try hard to get to other long-overdue e-mail inquiries in the next few days.