June 8, 2013
For the very first time this year, the Washington Nationals overcame a late-inning deficit on Tuesday night, and likewise for the the first time this year, they won a game in a walk-off. It didn't look good for the "D.C. 9" in the bottom of the ninth inning; they were down 2-0 even though Jordan Zimmermann had pitched eight innings with zero earned runs. But good old Ryan Zimmerman stepped up to the plate, and crushed a leadoff double to the right-center field wall. He barely beat the tag at second base, and instant replays showed the ump got it right. Then Adam LaRoche singled, and Zimmerman scored the tying run -- a huge relief. Then Ian Desmond double, but LaRoche held up at third, playing it safe with no out. Then Roger Bernadina was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Steve Lombardozzi fended off multiple pitches with two strikes against him, and finally hit a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing LaRoche to tag up and score. It was a mob scene reminiscent of last year, and Lombardozzi emerged as the hero of the game. See MLB.com. (In a reversal of the letdown in May 29 game, this time Ryan Zimmerman bailed out starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who was in line for the loss.) It was exactly the kind of exhilarating triumph the Nats needed to turn the corner and start winning again.
Except that it wasn't. The very next day, the Mets trounced the Nationals, 10-1, as Dan Haren gave up five earned runs in only four innings pitched. Whatever it may be that ails the Nationals, that one brief moment of glory wasn't enough to cure it. The Nationals have fallen under .500 again, and are now in third place, behind the Phillies. The rubber match game with the Mets on Thursday was postponed due to rain, and so was last night's game against the Minnesota Twins.
As I head up to Washington today to see the Nats play the Twins (Gio Gonzalez will be pitching), the team's spirit seems about as gloomy as the rainy, overcast skies. (Wait -- do I see a golden ray of sunshine?!) Today's Washington Post had both a front-page story about the woebegone Nationals, and an analysis by Tracee Hamilton. Looking closely at the situation doesn't give much reason to hope that things will improve very much; the Nats have been inconsistent across the board. I was stunned to see how badly the Nationals rank among other Major League teams in various categories:
Maybe it's time to call Dr. Phil and have him administer a big dose of "whoop ass."
Bring back that Natitude!
Bryce Harper was put on the 15-day disabled list (retroactively to May 27) because the swelling in his left knee has not yet subsided. He will be examined by an orthopedic surgeon on Monday, and the results of that will tell us whether or not he can resume play next week. MLB.com. Let's hope that the ill-fated collision in Dodger Stadium on May 13 doesn't end up becoming the "defining moment" for the Nats 2012 season.
Fellow SABR member and author Ron Selter recently circulated via e-mail a set of ballpark capacity numbers for 2013, 2012, and 2006. I replied to say that his data matched what I had in almost every case, and we both corrected the small errors we each had. What follows are the current and "peak" seating capacity for each major league baseball stadium, with some purely judgmental "color" on my part.
|Stadium name||Peak capacity |
|Coors Field||50,449 (2003)||50,398|
|Yankee Stadium II||50,291||50,291|
|Turner Field||50,528 (1997)||49,586|
|Rogers Centre (Skydome)||50,598 (1995)||49,282|
|Chase Field||49,033 (2001)||48,633|
|Ballpark in Arlington||49,178 (1993)||48,114|
|Safeco Field||47,878 (2008)||47,476|
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards||48,290 (2005)||45,971|
|Angel Stadium in Anaheim||67,335 (1981)||45,483|
|Busch Stadium III||43,975||43,975|
|Citizens Bank Park||43,826 (2005)||43,651|
|PETCO Park||42,691 (2006)||42,524|
|Great American Ballpark||42,319||42,319|
|Progressive (Jacobs) Field||43,863 (1997)||42,241|
|Minute Maid Park||42,060||42,060|
|Miller Park||42,885 (2001)||41,900|
|Nationals Park||41,888 (2008)||41,418|
|Wrigley Field||41,160 (2011)||41,019|
|U.S. Cellular Field||47,098 (2003)||40,615|
|Target Field||39,500 (2012)||39,021|
|PNC Park||38,496 (2004)||38,362|
|Kauffman Stadium||40,793 (2003)||37,903|
|Oakland Coliseum||48,219 (1990)||35,067 *|
|Tropicana Field||45,200 (2002)||34,078 *|
|KEY:||TOO BIG||too small|
* Note that the last two stadiums listed -- Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field -- have had major portions of the grandstand closed off in recent years. Those are also the two most outmoded stadiums, whose franchises are desperately seeking a new, cozier home.
Two stadiums had very large declines in capacity due to the removal of major portions of their grandstands: Angel Stadium in Anaheim (1997) and U.S. Cellular Field (2004). In addition, Kauffman Stadium (2009) and Oriole Park at Camden Yards (2011?) had their capacities reduced more modestly as part of renovation projects. I have indicated Yankee Stadium II as "too small," and that applies in terms of seating capacity, as well as the size of the playing field!
I have updated the diagram for Colt Stadium, temporary home of the Houston Colt 45s, which was one of the two National League expansion teams in 1962. Since 1965 (when they moved into the Astrodome), they have been called the Astros, and beginning this year, they are part of the American League. As far as the diagram, including the entry portals was a critical part of getting the angles just right.
That page incorporates (after the end of the main text) a new feature that all stadium pages will have eventually: A chronology of all past diagram updates, with links to the blog posts when such changes were originally announced. I thought about "re-releasing" obsolete versions of diagrams "just for the record," but I can't see much point to it, and it would probably just lead to confusion.
Also, I've been working on several diagrams all at once recently, and some of them are almost ready to release. You can see additional data on seating rows and fair/foul territory for those "works in progress" on the Stadium statistics page. Colt Stadium has (had) the biggest fair territory of any stadium I have calculated thus far: 121,400 square feet. Its foul territory was pretty big as well: 31,700 square feet, about the same as Jack Murphy Stadium.