April 30, 2021 [LINK / comment]

Stadium capacity changes, 2021

Now that fans can return to the ballparks and see baseball games in person, it's a good time to look at how much the seating capacity has changed in various MLB ballparks this year. (Capacity changes last year were irrelevant, since only one stadium -- Globe Life Field -- had any fans at all.) Because so many stadium names have changed in recent years, I decided to include the previous names for several of them to avoid confusion. Just like three years ago (October 3, 2018), I have compiled the current-year seating capacity figures for each of the 30 MLB stadiums and calculated changes in capacity compared to 2020. There was only one change greater than 1,000 (PETCO Park), highlighted in yellow.

Stadium name
(current & recent)
2021 capacity2020-2021
nominal change
Apparent approx.
attendance limit
Dodger Stadium56,000030%
Rogers Centre (ex-Skydome) #53,5060NA
Coors Field50,4454740%
Chase Field48,68616725%
T-Mobile Park (ex-Safeco Field)47,929-1420%
Yankee Stadium II47,309025%
Oakland Coliseum46,8478225%
Oriole Park at Camden Yards* 45,971 *020%
Angel (ex-Anaheim) Stadium45,51746730%
Busch Stadium III45,494-4430%
Citizens Bank Park42,792-85520%
Great American Ballpark42,319030%
Citi FIeld41,922020%
Oracle (ex-AT&T) Park41,915020%
American Family Field (ex-Miller Park)41,900030%
Wrigley Field41,649025%
Nationals Park41,313020%
Minute Maid Park41,168050%
Truist Park (ex-SunTrust)41,084-6550%
Comerica Park41,083-21420%
Guaranteed Rate Field (ex-U.S. Cellular)40,615020%
Globe Life Field40,300060%
PETCO Park40,209-2,23640%
PNC Park38,74738520%
Target Field38,544-10525%
Kauffman Stadium37,903025%
Fenway Park37,7552412%
loanDepot park (ex-Marlins Park)36,742020%
Progressive (ex-Jacobs) Field34,788-43725%
Tropicana Field* 25,000 *-2525%
Sahlen Field (ex- Pilot Field; # temp. for Blue Jays)16,600?NA??
TD Ballpark # (temp. for Blue Jays)8,500NA20%

SOURCE: Box scores published in the Washington Post.
* Some stadiums announced a reduction in capacity without really taking out any seats. Until the 2010s, Oriole Park at Camden Yards had 48,290 seats, with room for a few hundred more "standing room only" fans. 48,876. Tropicana Field's 1998 capacity was 45,000, but has been reduced sharply several times in the years since then. The same used to be true of Oakland Coliseum, but it now includes virtually all the baseball-suitable seats.

Thus far in the season, the allowed attendance at most ballparks seems to be about 25 percent, but that should rise to 50 percent or more by the second half of the season. The extreme cases seem to be Globe Life Field Minute Maid Park 41,168 0 50% Truist Park, and Fenway Park, where a maximum of 8,000 fans (about 20 percent) can see games, due to a recent spike in covid-19 cases there.

Nats gradually improve

The Washington Nationals ended the month of April on an upbeat note, as Kyle Schwarber hit a walk-off home run for the second time in his brief tenure with the team. (The first time was April 16.) It was the opening game of a series against the visiting Miami Marlins, and Jon Lester (finally released from covid-19 quarantine) did just fine in his first start as a National: five innings pitched without giving up a run. But neither team could score a run for the first nine innings. The Nats' closer Brad Hand returned to the mound in the tenth inning, the first time he has pitched more than one inning with the Nationals. He gave up a two-out RBI single. In the bottom of the inning, leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber crushed a ball that landed half-way up the second deck in right-center field. Game over! It was Schwarber's second walk-off home run of this month -- quite an impressive debut performance. Ryan Zimmerman did likewise in July 2010, hitting walk-off homers on the 6th and 31st of the month.

After the disastrous opening game of the series on Monday, April 19th, the Washington Nationals bounced back and found a way to beat the visiting St. Louis Cardinals twice, thereby winning the series. Patrick Corbin had a solid outing, but Tanner Rainey gave up two runs in the seventh inning, and a similar bullpen meltdown by the Cardinals allowed the Nats to retake the lead in the eighth inning, thus coming out on top, 3-2. Wednesday was a day game, and Max Scherzer put in a dazzling performance, with 9 strikeouts over six innings. Alex Avila had the only RBI of the game: Nats 1, Cards 0.

On Friday the Nats played the Mets, and Jacob deGrom dazzled fans in Citi Field, striking out 15 Nationals batters in a complete game shutout. Erick Fedde pitched fine for the Nationals until the fifth inning, when the Mets scored three runs. Final score: NYM 6, WSH 0. The Nationals shook off that rude slap and came back with a 7-1 victory the next day, as Joe Ross pitched very well for six innings. But in the Sunday game, Patrick Corbin had a "relapse," giving up four runs before being replaced during the fifth inning. The Nats lost that one, 4-0.

After a day of rest, the Nationals flew south to Dunedin, Florida, where the Toronto Blue Jays have been playing their home games this season. (They expect to move into Buffalo's Sahlen Field in the near future.) Max Scherzer was pitching, and even though he had run support (two homers by Trea Turner and one by Yadiel Hernandez), he somehow came unglued and gave up seven runs (two unearned) over five innings. A two-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman in the seventh inning closed the gap, but the Nats ended up losing 9-5. On the next day, strangely enough, Erick Fedde pitched one of his best games ever, giving up just one run over six innings. Home runs by Josh Harrison and Josh Bell (whose batting average had fallen to just over .100) propelled the Nats to an 8-2 victory.

And so, after tonight's 2-1 victory over the Marlins, the Nats now have a 10-12 record, in a virtual tie with the Braves and Mets, just one game behind the Phillies. Of the 11 home games, average attendance is a paltry 6,660. The Washington Nationals page has been updated accordingly.

Soto on the Injured List

Just a few days after Stephen Strasburg was placed on the ten-day Injured List, Juan Soto likewise went on the IL. Both players are reported to be improving and should be available for duty soon. Soto is pretty durable, playing 47 out of the 60 games last year, and 150 games of the Nationals' world championship 2019 year. Strasburg, on the other hand, is often fragile.

Busch Stadium II

Busch Stadium II tweak

At the request of Angel Amezquita, I modified the Busch Stadium II page, replacing the old "overlaid" diagram (which showed both the current AND previous Busch Stadiums in color) with a new "site today" diagram in which the previous Busch Stadium is rendered with light gray lines, allowing the current-day streets and major buildings (in particular, the "Ballpark Village") to be shown. Please bear in mind that these are mere approximations based on photos I have seen! I am still working toward a systematic way of rendering stadiums (especially those that no longer exist) in their respective neighborhoods.

No-hitter by Mad Bum?

In the second game of a double-header today, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner pitched seven full innings without giving up a hit, as his team won 7-0. This came after The fact that almost all serious baseball fans would dispute the validity of his accomplishment as a real "no-hitter" is one more reason why MLB should abandon that expedient measure after this year is over. Obviously, they can't change the rules in the middle of the season.