Angels beat White Sox
To my surprise, the LAnaheim Angels beat the Chicago White Sox in the first game of the ALCS. I thought A.J. Pierzynski and Paul Konerko were supposed to be good in clutch situations. Not tonight. Borne on wings of shiny aluminum, the Angels traveled across the country and halfway back again over the last 48 hours (is that a record?), and yet somehow had enough energy to edge the White Sox. The home team's fans were quite spirited, but somehow it didn't seem to motivate the players. Angels pitcher Paul Byrd proved very effective, putting his team in command of the situation. Vlad Guerrero really crushed the ball in the eighth inning, but the famous Chicago wind kept it inside the park, for a long out.
Three of the last four World Series were won by teams either for the first time ever, or for the first time in practically everyone's lifetime. It would be nice for that to happen again this year. If the Astros and White Sox win their leagues' pennants, such an outcome would be guaranteed. The only time in modern baseball history when neither team in a World Series had previously been world champions was in 1980, when the Phillies beat the Royals. The last time that both pennant winners were from the central region of the country (in terms of geography, not divisional groupings) was in 1987, when the Twins beat the Cardinals. It also happened in 1982 (Cardinals-Brewers) and 1985 (Royals-Cardinals).
Devil Rays to stay in the dome
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' new owner, Stuart Sternberg, says that it is far too early to think about building a new stadium for his team. Tropicana Field may be lackluster, he admits, but that doesn't mean it will hurt the team in terms of winning or attendance. A retractable-roof stadium such as the one being considered for Miami would be ideal, but those things are very costly. See sptimes.com (Hat tip to Mike Zurawski.) The oddly tilted dome has only been in (baseball) use for eight years, and asking for public funding to replace it would surely spark a taxpayers' revolt. If they go ahead with major renovations, I think building new seating sections around the right and left field corners that would be pointed toward the infield and inclined at a steeper angle would create much better sightlines for fans. With a modest population base consisting of many older folks, the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area will have a hard time supporting a successful baseball franchise. Baseball was just not meant for Florida in the summer; they should work out a "migrating" franchise deal with Montreal.
Turner Field update
It's too late for the Braves this year, but I've created a new version of the Turner Field diagram to conform to the new standard. The old "sideways" diagrams, including the 1996 Olympics version, are still there to facilitate comparisons. Handling those very large stadiums, such as Memorial Coliseum or Dolphins Stadium, is awkward, but I will probably use the same approach (i.e., both vertical and sideways orientations) for them in the future.