February 12, 2009
As spring approaches, Mike Zurawski sends yet another batch of "tasty" ballpark news items:
Hopes for a new Florida Marlins baseball stadium took a hit after a study found that the proposed lease terms would be "the most favorable given to a major-league team this decade." According to the Miami Herald, "the public [would be] footing 70 percent of the construction bill but sharing none of the revenue." (Link via ballparkdigest.com.) That seems odd; you would think the Marlins would be more cognizant of the tight budget situation across the country and not ask for such a big subsidy. Are they really in such a financial bind?
In Fremont, meanwhile, opposition from local residents is mounting to the Oakland Athletics' proposed stadium, raising the possibility that the A's might end up moving to San Jose, which is currently considered part of the Giants' territory. If so, however, they would have to buy or lease city-owned land near downtown, and if there is any implicit subsidy via a transaction price below-market-appraised value, the city would have to hold a referendum to get public approval. See the San Jose Mercury News. Mike comments, "If that happened it has no chance. The A's are screwed. Fold them and the Marlins."
In Queens, New York, they are cleaning up the rubble of what used to be Shea Stadium (almost all gone -- see baseball-fever.com) and putting the finishing touches on Citi Field, including a new Big Apple in center field to celebrate home runs. You can watch a tour of the latter at youtube.com; it was just posted yesterday. The New York Times made a thorough comparison between the two stadiums, noting that the outfield walls will be significantly higher than they were at Shea -- 15 feet high in left field, for example. There is also a cool graphic that shows the locations of all the home runs hit by Mets at home last year, indicating which ones would probably have gone over the fence at Citi Field. I'm glad it has some deep outfield corners, making it more pitcher-friendly than most of the newer ballparks. Too bad the new Yankee Stadium isn't like that...
In Minneapolis, the Twins have released design details for Target Plaza, which will connect their future home, Target Field, to downtown. See wcco.com. Maybe they can film a made-for-TV movie with a retired but still-spunky Mary Tyler Moore throwing a Twins ballcap into the air at the new ballpark...
More news to come soon... Thanks again, Mike!