Nationals pride: Fan love fest in D.C.
As they used to say in one of those beer ads, "You know, it just doesn't get any better than this." (Or can it?) The Nats have won ten games in a row, completing one of the best home stands in franchise history. Not only have they been in first place for a full week, they have the fourth highest winning percentage (.587) in all of the majors right now! True, there are skeptics, such as Robert Tagorda, who cites the Nationals' negative cumulative run differential that stands in contrast to their win-loss record. Fortunately, Frank Robinson is not the kind of manager who pays a lot of attention to statistics. He knows that skillful "small ball" ultimately counts for more than run production. As long as the fans are happy, who cares? Many years from now, folks from the Washington area will still get a great big smile whenever they think back to 2005 and the Nationals' superb inaugural season. Today's Washington Post explores the sociological phenomenon of "Nats fever," which is turning normally sensible people into escstatic, impassioned zealots. Compared to the twelve previous MLB franchise relocations, Washington ranks along with Milwaukee (1953) and Los Angeles (1958) in terms of the tremendous outpouring of fan enthusiasm and high attendance. In fact, the Nationals have already broken the one-million attendance mark for this year, thereby smashing the old record for all previous Washington teams! The old record was set in 1946.
New ballpark for Mets?
After New York State officials turned down the costly proposed new football stadium for the Jets along the Hudson River in Manhattan, city officials unveiled "Plan B": a new stadium for the Mets next to Shea Stadium! The Mets say they will pay for it, which would make a very compelling offer. The idea is to build a 45,000-seat baseball stadium by 2009, then expand it to 80,000 seats for the 2012 Olympics, and then tear down the temporary annex afterwards. It would be an interesting twist on the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, where Turner Field was born. The design borrows heavily from Ebbets Field, but the original idea of a retractable roof has been discarded. The planned baseball capacity of only 45,000, less than the ballparks in Denver or Baltimore, strikes me as inappropriate for one of the biggest cities on earth. See the Mets Web site; hat tip to Brian Hughes. [UPDATED]
Warning tracks have been added to the U.S. Cellular Field and Colt Stadium diagrams, which now conform to the new standard home plate coordinate. The revised Yankee Stadium diagrams may end up being rotated as well, but if so they won't conform to the new standard; it's just too darned big to fit! Also, the Stadiums by class page has been revised, with Jarry Park moving to the "temporary" class, and two football stadiums being removed from that class.